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General Category => On the Streets => Topic started by: marklawrence on March 02, 2018, 04:55:28 PM

Title: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 02, 2018, 04:55:28 PM
I have movie pass and more than a little time on my hands, so I see most everything. It's odd to realize that seeing the movie in a theater is cheaper than renting it six months later. But the local theater people like me just fine.

Death Wish

Bruce Willis is out for revenge for his wife and daughter, and becomes a vigilante. The city, Chicago, mostly approves of his work. An excellent shoot-em-up.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 02, 2018, 04:57:27 PM
I went to see Annihilation.

As the movie ended, a guy in the front row stood up and said, "And we paid money to see this!" A guy next to me said "Worst movie I've ever seen." I replied, "That's a bold statement." His friend said, "Yah, what about American Psycho 2?" He then said, "Ok, it's the second worst movie I've ever seen."

I didn't hate it, but I've not seen an audience reaction like this before.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 02, 2018, 04:58:18 PM
Game Night.

Generally I'm not a big fan of comedies, but this one was fun. It started well, slowed a bit in the middle, and finished with several unexpected plot twists. I liked it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: claymaker on March 13, 2018, 03:19:13 PM
Sort of irrelevant but kind of on topic and interesting fact of life, but last week on a local sports radio show one guy said he'd never seen Die Hard or Back To The Future. I could feel the awkward look of disbelief over the radio waves from his co-host.

By the way, I enjoy off topic stuff like this. thumbsup)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 13, 2018, 07:32:22 PM
Hurricane Heist

Yet another shoot-em-up, not very plausible. A hurricane is heading in. Some bad guys determine this is the perfect cover to steal $600m from the Federal Reserve. The hurricane turns out to be like the worst ever, 'cause global warming change climate sea levels. No one is properly prepared, so the hurricane turns into a major plot element. Until they're done with it, then it's suddenly turned off like a light switch, blue skies, happy birdies. The best character in the movie is the hurricane chaser's humvee. $400m in 20 dollar bills gets scattered by the wind over several square miles of farm land, no one seems to notice this but definitely there will be some very happy farmers in the next few days, and John Deere is going to sell a lot of stuff next year. Feel free to see this one from Redbox for $1.50, or skip it entirely.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 13, 2018, 07:40:33 PM
A Wrinkle in Time

I read this book when I was perhaps 10. I read the book to my kids when they were young. I read the book again a couple times since, including last month. It's a nice little book, a bit thin on science, but kids love it. It also has christian undertones.

The movie has all the christian undertones stripped out. One of the major parts of the book is that Mrs Which, Who, and Whatsis are all formerly stars that gave up their lives in the fight against evil. Yah, that's missing, now we just get Oprah and friends with a bunch of weird powers and platitudes. The movie's main claim to fame seems to be that it's diverse - indeed, Charles Wallace is adopted so he can be a third (fourth?) race in the Wallace family, and the teenage twins are missing entirely, who could have been yet another two races adopted.

Kids seem to like the movie - it's done in bright primary colors and has a certain visual entertainment level. But the story is chopped up to almost nothing, the pacing is poor., the science has gone from thin to impossible (92 billion light years like that, as Cap'n Kirk snaps his fingers. The universe is 13.7 billion years old, there's no where 92 billion light years away. We're told they stay in our galaxy, and that's only about 200,000 light years across. Again, it helps to be nearly illiterate to watch many movies.)

If Disney's goal was to take a nice little book with christian themes and turn it into yet another advertisement for diversity, well, they've failed: it's getting poor reviews and not many people going out to see it.

Also we get previews of Disney's upcoming flicks which apparently are to get us used to high school students being gay. And trans. And such. Many movies are now far-left propaganda.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 13, 2018, 07:44:04 PM
Red Sparrow

I have come to really dislike Jennifer Lawrence (Ironic, that), because of her outspoken political views. This movie has gotten rather soft reviews - not nearly as bad as her last, Mother, but not the rotten tomatoes rating that would drive you to go see it. None the less I liked it. I was unimpressed with the action scenes, especially the rape and the torture scenes, but the book had a very interesting plot and the movie retained that. The ending is quite surprising, especially as you learn that all the clues were there to figure it out.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 17, 2018, 10:11:56 AM
I can only imagine

I didn't intend to see this movie - it's not on my list. But it got extremely high reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, so I gave it a try. I was very impressed, this is a very moving movie. This would be a fantastic date night movie. If I dated.

It's the more or less true story of a young man who is abused by his father. He breaks his leg rather badly playing HS football, and finds himself unwillingly in glee club, where he discovers he has a quite good voice. He gets out of HS, kicks around the country for a while having only small success with his band, then returns home briefly where he finds his father has found God and is dying of cancer. He writes a song about his experience, "I can only imagine," the highest rated christian song ever. For the record I'm a Buddhist, so my recommendation has no Christian bias.

He also rides a 1974 Honda SL350, a beautiful old bike which is perhaps one of the worst motorcycles ever designed - hardened steel cams riding directly on a cast aluminum head with no bushings. Not so great for long term reliability, especially as 70s oil was not all that great. And if you take it off-road, which seems to be its mission in life, in short order you will bend the foot pegs rather badly and blow all the suspension seals. Don't ask how I know all this.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 27, 2018, 04:53:36 PM
Pacific Rim:

Plot, Dialog, Character Development, Suspense, Insight into the Human Condition, Cutting-Edge CGI: This movie has nothing. To call this movie an unmitigated piece of junk is to do a grave disservice to decent, honest unmitigated pieces of junk the world over.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 27, 2018, 05:04:05 PM
Entebbe:

It's an ok movie. It's not a knock-your-sock-off rendition. The movie tries to explore the politics behind the decision for the Israelis to fly 2500 miles into a neutral country and perform a raid in their soil. In the way of politics, it worked, so after the fact is was ok. Just win, baby. Meanwhile we're given just the tiniest glimpse into what the terrorists are thinking.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 27, 2018, 09:16:24 PM
Tomb Raider

I'm not a big fan of Angelina Jolie, but I have to admit it's true: she was born to play this role. Alicia Vikander, not so much. She seems a bit over-matched by the action and the role. It's an ok movie, but you'll be more entertained to pull out a DVD or Netflix of the original and go with that.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 29, 2018, 07:05:36 PM
Ready Player One

I'm not sure I'm the right audience for this movie. I've never been a computer game player. Except Advent, the very first game, aka adventure. Which figures into the ending of this film, but the version they play I find unrecognizable.

Steven Spielberg investigates a dystopian future where most everyone is destitute and lives in virtual reality playing a non-stop game "The Oasis." The guy who built the basic program died a trillionaire with no heirs. He left clues in the game, if you track down the clues you win the estate. There's a bad guy with a huge corporation who wants to win, he's ruthless and clueless. And there's our heroes who are the first to make progress, so they quickly pop up on the bad guy's radar. A deadly race for a trillion dollars and control of the world ensues.

CGI is, of course, top notch. Dialog, character development, pacing, you know, it's Steven, it's all excellent.

Will you like it? If you're over 50 and never played a video game, maybe not so much. If you're under 30, yah, of course.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 07, 2018, 07:30:30 PM
Chappaquiddick

I liked this movie. It went into detail about Kennedy's damage control after killing Mary Jo Kopechne.

The director says this movie was not for Republicans or Democrats, but for the truth. That seems right to me.

Unfortunately truth seems to be what the director could prove. Kennedy was careful to make sure Mary Jo never got an autopsy and her body was shipped to New Jersey ASAP. So we're left with some big unanswered questions: why did Teddy leave the party? Why did he take Mary Jo? Why did she come? Was she Teddy's mistress? Was she pregnant?

Anyway, this movie purports to give an inside look at the Kennedy machine in action, and I found that compelling.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 08, 2018, 06:56:42 PM
A Quiet Place

Critters appear on earth - big, mean, ugly, toothy critters. They're as fast as a cheetah, they're armored, and they think we're very tasty. Ever since "Alien," the mean aliens have all looked more or less alike. 'Cept these aliens are blind, they operate by sound and hearing and maybe some built-in bat-like radar. Our heroes are living on a farm somewhere - maybe colorado? I dunno. And they have to find a way to survive. Ask any Jew, all Jewish holidays basically celebrate "They came, they attacked, we survived, let's eat." When mom has a new baby surviving gets extra special tough. So does mom. A friend once told me, "When I first got married if I saw a spider, my husband had to come home from work. Then I had my kids, a grizzly bear could have walked into my kitchen and I would have beat it to death with a broom stick. Now my kids are grown and gone, and if I see a spider, my husband has to come home from work."

All our heroes got is a shot gun - not so great against armor. Our founding fathers meant for us to be ready to repel alien attackers, but Boulder just outlawed all high-capacity semi-auto guns. No AR-15s. No Ruger Ranches. No AK-47s. No 9mm hand guns (10 bullet limit). All I got to say is I'd like to see the bio-armor that stands up against 7.62 x 39 FMJ. But not in Boulder, they're all gonna get et right quick. . .

The movie is very effective, like most everyone else I liked it. I'm not generally a fan of horror films, but this was pretty good.

Spoiler alert, stop reading here if you haven't seen it. I spent half the movie thinking, "Laundry detergent and gasoline make a pretty good poor man's napalm. Let's see how their armor holds up against that jellied gasoline shit." They never try it. It sucks watching movies and knowing some science.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 13, 2018, 04:45:07 PM
Rampage

This movie is just silly.

Bio-engineers are trying to make, um, well we never get clear on that. What they do make is a spray that turns anything huge, fast aggressive. Then one of their rats destroys their space station (yah, they're doing their experiments in space so it's "safe"). The genetic stuff crashed to earth in reentry-proof containers ("safe") and infects a gorilla, a wolf and a croc. So a little later we got godzilla v. king kong with a giant wolf thrown in, all fighting and destroying chicago while they're at it. And Duane Johnson is running around 'cause he was friends with the gorilla back when it weighed 500 pounds. The science is bogus on too many levels, the CGI is below average, but there is enough comic relief so that you keep watching the movie. Rent it at redbox in six months for $1.50.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on April 13, 2018, 05:59:42 PM
I went to see Annihilation.

As the movie ended, a guy in the front row stood up and said, "And we paid money to see this!" A guy next to me said "Worst movie I've ever seen." I replied, "That's a bold statement." His friend said, "Yah, what about American Psycho 2?" He then said, "Ok, it's the second worst movie I've ever seen."

I didn't hate it, but I've not seen an audience reaction like this before.

Just saw it. Fascinating, if a bit slow at times. And the female characters were rather bland, which is a surprise since Garland's "Ex Machina" had a couple really interesting "female" protaganists. Alternately scary, eerie and, yes, at time boring, and definitely challenging, worth the time to see. But only if you think that "2001" or "Arrival" are really good movies. What did take me out of the movie is why they would pick women who had almost no combat experience to enter a place of apparent great danger. I'll probably see it again after reading up on it online. This movie is definitely not for everyone.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on April 13, 2018, 06:02:03 PM
Rampage

This movie is just silly.

Bio-engineers are trying to make, um, well we never get clear on that. What they do make is a spray that turns anything huge, fast aggressive. Then one of their rats destroys their space station (yah, they're doing their experiments in space so it's "safe"). The genetic stuff crashed to earth in reentry-proof containers ("safe") and infects a gorilla, a wolf and a croc. So a little later we got godzilla v. king kong with a giant wolf thrown in, all fighting and destroying chicago while they're at it. And Duane Johnson is running around 'cause he was friends with the gorilla back when it weighed 500 pounds. The science is bogus on too many levels, the CGI is below average, but there is enough comic relief so that you keep watching the movie. Rent it at redbox in six months for $1.50.

Destroy Chicago? I'll see it just for the sheer enjoyment factor. Hopefully that pathetic UFO stadium will be their first targer. Hopefully during a Bears practice.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 15, 2018, 04:09:43 AM
Beirut

Rosamond Pike has been in three movies that just came out: hostiles, for which I think she deserves an academy award; entebbe, where she had a forgettable part in a forgettable movie; and Beirut.

Some career diplomat stationed in Beirut has more or less adopted a young man. Then it turns out the young kids brother is a major terrorist. The house gets raided, the young kid grabbed by the terrorist brother, and the diplomats wife gets dead.

Ten years later the diplomat, now an alcoholic, gets called back to Beirut to negotiate the release of a captured CIA agent. Now the story gets complicated, a bit confusing, and like all diplomacy fillled with people lying to each other.

It was ok. Rosamond was ok. I'd give it about a C-.

Around here entebbe only lasted about four days in the theaters. This one may last an entire week.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 15, 2018, 04:22:03 AM
. But only if you think that "2001" or "Arrival" are really good movies. .

Arrival was a great short story, especially if you happen to know some graduate level physics. The interesting physics was all ripped out of the movie, which I thought made the movie a bit hard to follow. The short story was about quantum philosophy and time and free will. I liked the movie but I'm still not clear on what it's about.

But then I'm also still not clear on what 2001 was about.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: claymaker on April 15, 2018, 05:37:36 AM
. But only if you think that "2001" or "Arrival" are really good movies. .

Arrival was a great short story, especially if you happen to know some graduate level physics. The interesting physics was all ripped out of the movie, which I thought made the movie a bit hard to follow. The short story was about quantum philosophy and time and free will. I liked the movie but I'm still not clear on what it's about.

I thought it was the evolution of language. Since the alien language was the key to gaining new a perspective on time. Sort of like the things you think, say and do affect your life in a multitude of ways. In that way it reminded me of the I Ching. It was as if each symbol being used was a reciprocal image to represent your entire life if you had done so and so. It also struck me near the end that the idea of reality being made up of language can be a very true statement and we don't yet know what is possible and impossible. The aliens were uninspiring, aesthetic wise, but I liked Arrival a lot.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 23, 2018, 08:12:33 PM
I thought it was the evolution of language.

In the short story a key observation was that the aliens wrote everything simultaneously. We write linearly, one word at a time, and sometimes change our direction mid-sentence. The aliens seem to know where the entire paragraph starts and ends and everything in between before they start writing. So their written language, by it's very form, seems to imply they have a different view of time than we do.

It's an interesting question if their language drove their view of time, or if their view of time drove their language. This is never addressed in the movie or the story. The aliens aren't very forthcoming with answers.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on April 23, 2018, 08:39:47 PM
Just saw it. Fascinating, if a bit slow at times. And the female characters were rather bland, which is a surprise since Garland's "Ex Machina" had a couple really interesting "female" protaganists. Alternately scary, eerie and, yes, at time boring, and definitely challenging, worth the time to see. But only if you think that "2001" or "Arrival" are really good movies. What did take me out of the movie is why they would pick women who had almost no combat experience to enter a place of apparent great danger. I'll probably see it again after reading up on it online. This movie is definitely not for everyone.

Watched it again Sunday. Even more interesting, since I knew the plot twists better. Being able to understand the motives of the chief protaganist made the experience even richer for me. That and some small plot points- subtle wordplay, the idea we are a self destructive species, with several examples. Even the seemingly random scene of the two mutant deer made more sense, though this was with the help of watching some Youtube analysis. That, and the suggested idea that the theory of panspermia is not something that is relegated to the past, but could still be occurring now- interesting ideas, indeed. Two people walked out on the movie (not for everybody), and some parents thought it would be a good idea to bring their children. Some "shushing" and mean looks kept them quiet enough to experience the movie without major distractions. In a somewhat related subject, "2001: a Space Odyssey" is celebrating its 50th anniversary. I saw it the first time in Cinerama, and was awed, but not sure what I'd seen. Relatively dismissed at the time, it's stature has increased. If you google "2001 film analysis", you get over 29.5 million suggestions. "Annihilation" has a paltry 1.7 million, though how many it'll have in 49 more years is anyone's guess.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 26, 2018, 10:31:58 PM
Avengers Infinity War.

OK, I'm a total comic book movie addict, so I'll just say it, this was a great movie.

Thanos, the "bad guy," was on an overpopulated planet many millions of year ago. He pointed out they were killing their planet and half their people should be killed. He was labeled a quack and ignored. A little later they did indeed poison the planet and most everyone died.

Thanos is now out to capture the six infinity stones so that he can just snap a finger and kill half the sentients in the universe. He sees this as a great mission to improve the universe, if not one he will be thanked for. Personally, I think our planet is wildly overpopulated and we're killing it. I'm not a big fan of wholesale murder, but if I could snap my fingers and 2/3 of everyone was sterile, I would not hesitate. Except the Hollywood pedophiles, they can definitely die. Oh, heck, all the other pedophiles can die too. BTW, I count 40-something muslims who are "married" to pre-teen girls as pedophiles.

Our heroes are, of course, dedicated to stopping Thanos.

This movie is the first of a two parter, so of course our heroes lose in the end of this one. Turns out they lose rather staggeringly badly - everyone left the theater stunned and very quiet.

There's one extra scene at the very end of the credits. After the names of all 12,000 people who worked on the movie. 6,000 of which should, apparently, be dead now.

Of course this review is a waste of time: if you're going to see this movie, you decided that over a year ago, and if you don't watch comic book movies nothing here even made sense to you.

Spoilers: Middle of the movie, Dr.Strange suddenly goes all out of focus and epileptic. After a bit he settles down and announces he's used the time stone to check out possible futures. Stark: "How many?" Strange: "14,000,697." Stark: In how many did we win?" Strange: "1"  (roughly lotto odds. Not a good thing.) End of the movie, Strange: "Sorry, Tony, but this was the only way."
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: claymaker on April 28, 2018, 07:55:39 PM
Yep. For arguably the biggest and baddest villain in the Marvel Universe they captured the comic book version of Thanos pretty well. Believe they chose the right voice actor too.

I was glad to see they were more focused on the drama surrounding Thanos than the superheroes. Also focused on the drama in general. It wasn't just a bunch of filler scenes with weak or comedic dialogue leading to the next fight scene. Finally, a superhero movie that isn't completely predictable and leaves you wanting more.

It will make for an interesting sequel, but I think this will be the better movie by a fair margin.

I do wonder who their endgame villain will be. Dormammu or Galactus? I suspect we are nearing the end of this Marvel reign. Galactus would mean the Fantastic Four or at least Silver Surfer would likely come into the fold. With there only being so much room for more superheroes in a single movie I have to think Dormammu is the logical choice. Although, they did kill half of them off, soooo there is room on the roster for some new faces. I think it will be one or the other, Galactus or Dormammu. I also don't think they will be the ones to kill Thanos. 
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 28, 2018, 09:45:17 PM
Kings

With Daniel Craig and Halle Berry you might expect a really good movie. Yo may as well expect hundred dollar bills to fall from the sky.

This movie has no detectable plot. It's the story of a single mom and her 8 foster kids (the source of her livelihood) surviving the LA riots after the King trial. I should have looked it up before I went. Lotsa bad cops, 'cause, um, well, 'cause. The movie has been out for 2 days and there were 5 people in the audience. Seriously. Five. I predict this will be bumped off the local screens by Wednesday.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 29, 2018, 09:23:25 PM
When I first joined moviepass, it was $9.95/month, one movie a day, so basically 30 movies a month for $10. In the extreme case, $0.33 / movie. Not really, there aren't that many movies you can stomach. I've been averaging just a bit under 10 movies a month, that is two or three a week, $1 per movie more or less.

A couple months later they had a deal, 12 months for $90. I switched to that deal, so then I was $7.50/month for 30 movies. My year expires in about December, maybe January, I'm not certain.

Two weeks ago they changed their deal, $10/month for four movies and unlimited iHeartRadio, whatever that is. Billed in three month increments of $30. Not nearly as good. I imagine iHeartRadio lets you hear songs on your phone that you don't really want to hear, while draining your phone battery at a somewhat alarming rate.

One week ago the announced that "some" users would be required to send in photos of their ticket stubs "occasionally to prevent fraud." I'm one of the "some," and "occasionally" means every time.

A couple days ago they changed their plan, you can't see the same movie more than one time. I had been seeing the super hero movies two or thee times. I'm happy to say I got in two viewings of the new Avengers movie before they cut me off. But next month I'll see Han Solo and Deadpool, apparently one time only. I'm not very happy about this deal being changed in the middle, I think that's cheating. I know they're losing a ton of money, but that was predictable, predicted, and not my problem.

To date I've paid them about $130, I've seen 76 movies, and I'm paid up for the rest of the year, during which time I expect to see another ~40 movies. That number would be more like 60 if I were still allowed to see movies more than once (ok, I should attend movies anonymous, don't judge me.) So I'm seeing movies for about $1.15, up from about $1. If you sign up now and managed to see four movies every month, you'll be paying $2.50 / movie. Still a good deal, but not quite as breathtaking. And the deal keeps getting worse, who knows what's next. At some point, obviously, either bankruptcy or shutdown or the deal goes to like two movies a month, I suppose. I used to be very enthusiastic about movie pass and refer people in the theater lines constantly. I'm no longer doing that. I'm a little put off by all these changes. Perhaps when my year is up I'll quit. Perhaps I'll join twice, $20/month for 8 movies, the second account in one of my kids names or something. Or perhaps before then there will be a Yellowstone super volcano or a nuclear war or a pandemic and we'll all be dead. So it goes.

Anyway, if you're interested it's moviepass.com.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on April 30, 2018, 06:14:37 AM
We take advantage of our local budget cinema. This is the old first run cinema house, made "obsolete" when the "state of the art" 16 screen movie mecca opened. The seats are comfy, the audiences small, the price about $2.50/ticket. Usually less. When we do go to recent releases, it's always in weekday afternoons. Smaller, more mature audiences who stay quiet during the film and stay off their phones. And you're right Mark, they are cheating on the rules by restricting access and forcing you to prove it was you who went. But then again, they have the power and you have the right to complain, and be ignored. Welcome to the new reality.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ThatGuy284 on April 30, 2018, 07:09:38 AM
I'm also one of the "some" that is required to send a photo of my ticket stub.   I'm also required to allow them access to my cellphone camera in the process.  $9.95 was a good deal and of course there was always going to be some trade-off in privacy, but don't think I'm comfortable with those changes.   May soon be going back to just waiting it out and seeing movies from the Redbox again.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 05, 2018, 04:30:55 AM
Bad Samaritan

Two twenty something punks are running a scam. They work as valets at an upscale restaurant in Portland. If you have a nice car, they go to your home and Rob it. One of the kids takes a masarati, is robing the house, and finds a girl chained up and beaten.

What follows is a cat and mouse chase between the kid and the perp, with the police and FBI as incompetent and uninterested bystanders.

I liked it, I thought it was surprising and effective. And had some good dialogue, including one really great line near the end.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 05, 2018, 04:34:27 AM
Apparently a lot of people thought the same thing we did about moviepass's new deal. The old deal $10 for 30 movies is back. So I'm back to recommending it. Still no repeat viewings.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 05, 2018, 05:40:59 PM
Tully

This is a movie about, um, it's about. . .  uh, ok, I'm not sure what it was about. Tully doesn't exactly have a plot. It's about how it feels to be a mother with a new infant and two other young kids. one of whom is difficult. And to be overwhelmed. At least that's what I think it's about. I'm better with physics and engineering than this feeling stuff. Anyway, if you have kids I imagine your wife will like it and you will survive it. If you don't have kids I can't imagine how you would relate. It's highly rated at rotten tomatoes, but that has to be nearly all women voting.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 13, 2018, 09:07:18 PM
New movies this week are Breaking In, a suspense flick which looked implausible and so-so in the previews and is getting poor rotten tomatoes rankings. I'm not seeing it. And Life of the Party, an implausible comedy. I'm not big on comedies, I'm really, really, really not big on melissa mccarthy, and it's getting low rotten tomatoes rankings. I'm not seeing it. Not even for "free."
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 14, 2018, 08:47:15 PM
Overboard

this is a remake of the 1987 movie starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. In the original, Goldie is a rich b**ch living on a yacht; Kurt is a working man who comes aboard to fix some things and gets treated like dirt. Shortly afterwards Goldie falls off the yacht and washes ashore with amnesia. Kurt finds her, brings her home and turns her into a house keeper for him and his kids. Over the course of a month Goldie learns to cook, clean, be a mom, and everyone falls in love. Then she regains her memory, but. . .

Here we are, 30 years later, and the world has changed. This time it's the guy who's the rich boorish waste of time, and Anna Ferrell who's the poor struggling single mom. Guy falls off boat, amnesia, Anna turns him into a housekeeper and leaves him alone with her three daughters. Well, at least he's not a muslim refugee.. . Of course, as per the standard female dream, her love turns him into the perfect mate.

The original works because Kurt and Goldie were genuinely gorgeous people who also happened to be way in love in real life.

The new one, not so much.

Rent it and fall asleep while your wife watches it. Learn to hold her hand even while you're asleep. Don't have a wife? These are not the droids you're looking for. Move along. . .
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 19, 2018, 07:07:04 AM
Deadpool 2

A fun romp of profanity and gratuitous sex and violence. Lots of references to a lot of other movies. A thin plot that's the delivery truck for the one liners. Not quit as good as the original.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 19, 2018, 07:09:29 AM
Moviepass has changed again. I now get an e-ticket, a number which I show the clerk, and I no longer have to photograph anything. My moviepass card stays in my wallet, it seems I no longer need it. I still can't see a movie more than once.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 26, 2018, 01:21:02 PM
Solo: A Star Wars Story

ok, I was gonna see this one even if the reviews said half the audience died of boredom.

This movie was a disappointment for me. It hits all the right notes - Millennium Falcon, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, where Han got his name. We get the back story to everything. But it's two hours of more or less non-stop action. We never get a chance to get to know these characters, to empathize with them, to identify with them. The dialog is ok, but not really catchy. There isn't a lot of what you would call acting - everyone is too busy running from storm troopers or star fighters or black holes to exhibit any emotion. Of course the CGI and action are top notch. And, bonus points: no Jar-Jar. There's a couple "stunning" reveals, but the characters are too two dimensional for us to actually be shocked.

See this one for $1.50 from Redbox or Netflix.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 01, 2018, 05:42:32 AM
Adrift

Another movie about being lost at Sea. I'm not a sailor, but even I can see the stupid beginner mistake these people make. The first rule of sailing is, if you can't make good knots, make a lot of them. The second rule is you're either inside the boat or you're tied to it. If you fall off a boat in deep water, you're dead.

Our heroes, a 33yo guy and his 24yo girlfriend, are sailing a boat from tahati to San Diego when they run into a hurricane. Which they handle badly. The boat gets nearly wrecked. The Pacific is a big place and there's not much there. They're in serious trouble. Low on food, water, and they don't even have a rain trap with them. Or know how to make one. (Hang some tarp, wait for rain to fill it up.)

Sorry, I suppose im to focus on the emotions of being nearly ship wrecked and not on the idiot decisions that got you there.

The theater was packed shoulder to shoulder with seven people. Perhaps there was a slightly bigger crowd for black panther.

Not worth $10.

If you want to know something about actual sailing, read the account my friend Paul lupus wrote about his around the world sail. Free. https://arachnoid.com/sailbook/index.html . That movie with Robert Redford a few years back was loosely based on my friend's book, except Paul was ready and there was neither drama nor loss of boat.

I dunno, I feel like the message here is bad things happen to good people, but the message I got was life threatening things happen to unprepared people who stupidly go into dangerous situations thinking it will be fun.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 01, 2018, 06:28:04 AM
If anyone wants to see a movie where something bad happens that is not the fault of the protaganist, but the main character acts with skill, resolution and determination, check out "All Is Lost". The ending is ambiguous, and there is virtually no dialogue, since this is literally a one man (Robert Redford) against bad luck and the sea movie. Or, for something with more action, see "Dead Calm", starring a then unknown Nicole Kidman.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 03, 2018, 09:15:28 PM
Upgrade

This is death wish meets RoboCop. Greg lives in the near future. He and his wife are riding in his self driving car when it pulls a Tesla, gets all weird and crashes. Then they get mugged, wife gets dead, Greg gets a severed spine and he's a quad. Young genius puts a chip in him and he can walk, leaving him free to hunt down his wife's killers. There's a couple great plot twists, it actually turns out to be an engaging and imaginative story. a whole new take on Frankensteins monster. I liked it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 07, 2018, 08:14:14 PM
Ocean's 8

In 1960 Sinatra and friends put out a movie Oceans 11 about a gang that does an improbable heist. In 2001 George Clooney did a remake. This proved so popular it was followed by Ocean's 12 and Ocean's 13. Now, a decade later, Danny Ocean (Clooney) is dead, but his sister Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) organizes a jewel heist at the Met. $300m worth of jewels.

If you liked Ocean's 11, you'll like this. It was well constructed, good acting and dialog, and no more improbable than the previous films. To my eyes, the only major plot fail is that there's a group of highly intelligent criminals in NYC who want to steal hundreds of millions of dollars, and they're not working for a hedge fund.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 09, 2018, 05:56:33 AM
Hereditary

A horror film. I didn't really understand what happened, and that sentiment was echoed by several others in the audience. Toni Colette gives a great performance, at least as good as in the sixth sense. Other than that it's a bunch of poorly adapted people running into strange inexplicable supernatural events and reacting badly. Usually movies like this include a priest, but in this movie there's no good guys, only demons. It got a 98 at rotten tomato's, but I have no idea how. I shouldn't go to horror flicks, they really don't work for me.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 15, 2018, 07:40:14 PM
Tag:

Based on a real story. Several guys play a game of tag every May for 30+ years. A surprisingly engaging and entertaining film. Jeremy Renner apparently broke both arms filming this, which, when you see it, you can believe.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 16, 2018, 08:17:25 PM
Incredibles 2:

The best superhero movie of the year. Better than Avengers 3. Lotsa action, humor the kids will get, humor the adults will get. Everybody in the theater loved it. Just go see it.

The plot barely matters. It's almost immediately after the Incredibles. Super heros are illegal and are in hiding. Then a rich guy comes along and says he's going to get the law reversed. A super villain conveniently appears and the fight is on. Mr.Incredible and Elastic Girl are married and have three kids: a sullen teenage girl with powers, a pre-teen out of control boy with powers, and an infant with a *lot* of powers. The infant steals every scene he's in.

ok, now that I've slept on it, perhaps Thor was better. Perhaps.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Cheesemaker on June 20, 2018, 12:46:43 PM
Agreed with your initial take on Incredibles 2.  IMHO, it wasn't as good as the first, but the first was one of my all-time favorites, impossible to match.  With that said, this was excellent and a worthy sequel.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 21, 2018, 09:09:35 PM
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

A classic horror flick formula: scientists fail to obey the laws of God and man, things get out of control. There's about a scream for every spoken word. But there's dinosaurs.

Dinosaur island is blowing up, and our heroes are recruited to save a selection of the dinosaurs. By, as it turns out, bad guys with a secret agenda. Things go downhill fast and continue downhill to a rather predictable ending. This is #5 in what's obviously intended to be a series of at least 6 films, more if we keep buying tickets. The first film was groundbreaking and superb; the rest have all been derivative.

It's ok. Consider taking your grandchildren, kids under 12 or so will enjoy it. For yourself, watch it in six months on DVD.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 23, 2018, 10:32:57 PM
American Animals

A movie? true story? documentary? about four twenty-something punks who decide to steal some rare books from the Transylvania University rare book collection. Yah, there really is a Transylvania University, it's in Kentucky and it has a bunch of famous alumni that I've never heard of. The movie bounces back and forth between the actors and interviews with the actual guys who really did it. The theater was packed with eight people at the 7pm showing saturday night, so if you wanna see it better move quick. It was really rather outstandingly dreadful, the only "good" parts were where like when our heroes gave out their real phone numbers, not burner phone numbers, when trying to get the books assessed. 'Cause the fences want assessments from NYC auction houses. Seriously, I dunno how these guys got into any college, but it wasn't on the basis of their SATs. Anyway, I'm pretty much sorry I went, it was two hours of my life I'll ever get back.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 25, 2018, 09:41:05 PM
Professor Marston and the wonder women

This is a true story. Marston was a Harvard PhD in the brand new field of psychology. He taught at Radcliff, the Harvard college for women, back in the 1930s. He was married; his wife Elizabeth was a grad student at Radcliff. At Radcliff they met Olive and everyone fell in love. In the 1930s. They all got thrown out of Radcliff and both Marston's careers were over. Then Olive got pregnant.

To support both his growing family and to promote his feminist ideas, which were, even by today's standards a bit out there, Marston invented a comic, wonder women. They had many difficulties including fitting into their community, sending their kids to public schools, and a growing movement to censor comics including Wonder woman, which, IMHO, needed censoring. Marston was a bit of a wack job.

This was a surprisingly good movie, however if you have strong Christian beliefs you may well find it a bit offensive. The Marston's had rather unusual sexual habits which are explored in the movie, because they were also strongly represented in the early Wonder woman comics. Marston believed true love required submission; early ww comics had a rather stunning amount of bondage, dominance and submission.

You have to watch it on DVD and even that is not so easy. I bought one on eBay for seven bucks, violating my rule not to buy movies over five bucks.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 01, 2018, 05:33:04 PM
Sicario 2

Bombing in Kansas City. Government has to look like they're doing something. So they decide since Mexican gangs are snuggling bad guys they'll start a cartel war. Then it turns out the terrorists were all from New Jersey and the situation goes all Charlie foxtrot.

Not as good as the first, but ok.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 07, 2018, 07:19:12 PM
Ant Man and the Wasp.

Probably should have been named Wasp and the Ant Man. Evangeline Lilly was retired from acting, a new mom taking care of her baby, and Peter Jackson talked her back into movies - "I get to play a wood elf?!?! Like Legolas?!?!?" Now she's a hot property.

Wasp's mom, Janet Pym, was lost into "the quantum realm" thirty years ago, but now we think maybe she's alive. And sane. And healthy. Sorry, I know I gotta suspend disbelief, but when you're smaller than a quark, waddaya breath? eat? I dunno what the concept of temperature means in these areas, but how do you stay warm? The universe, of course, is at -470 degrees, which is kinda cold.

Meanwhile there's some bad guys who want to steal their quantum tech, and a super villain who wants to steal it for reasons that seem obscure at first, and the FBI wants to put everyone in jail for violating the Sokovia accords. And just as they're finishing up the technology to visit the quantum realm, thirty years after Janet's disappearance, it's also announced they have two hours and then she'll be lost for another century. Right. So it's a bit like Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad world - a demolition race for all the marbles.

Ok, I don't sound very positive. It was a good movie, I enjoyed it, but it never grabbed me like Thor or Incredibles 2. If you wait for the DVD you won't be missing much.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on July 09, 2018, 07:44:28 AM
Ocean's 8

In 1960 Sinatra and friends put out a movie Oceans 11 about a gang that does an improbable heist. In 2001 George Clooney did a remake. This proved so popular it was followed by Ocean's 12 and Ocean's 13. Now, a decade later, Danny Ocean (Clooney) is dead, but his sister Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) organizes a jewel heist at the Met. $300m worth of jewels.

If you liked Ocean's 11, you'll like this. It was well constructed, good acting and dialog, and no more improbable than the previous films. To my eyes, the only major plot fail is that there's a group of highly intelligent criminals in NYC who want to steal hundreds of millions of dollars, and they're not working for a hedge fund.

Just saw Ocean's 8 w/ my wife and laughed out loud a couple of times, but not neccessarily at the appropriate times. We enjoyed it and hope she gets that simpler life.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 13, 2018, 08:05:41 PM
The Purge

I was not going to see this, but a friend told me it was good.

Nah. It's race-baiting liberal crap. A psychologist announces that if there were a 12 hour period when all laws were suspended, then people would get their anger out and behave better the rest of the year. A group, the "NWWA" finances an experiment where it will be tried on Staten Island. Turns out Staten Island is populated by blacks with a few token latinos, zero whites. The NWWA just wants blacks to kill each other. When that mostly doesn't happen, they're ready with a bunch of imported KKK (pointy hats and all) and blond haired blue eyed aryan mercs, who then go in killing everything that moves. You know, for the first 60 years of my life I only heard of the KKK in history books, but now suddenly it seems there's one behind every bush.

Don't see it. This appeals to the very worst sentiments in this country and should not be rewarded with your money.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 14, 2018, 04:41:52 PM
Skyscraper

Kinda sorta a remake of die hard. Die hard had the better villian - Hans Gruber aka Prof Snape. Both wife's were good. Dwayne Johnson is as good as Bruce. And skyscraper had better heart stopping effects.

Everyone in the theater loved it and so did I.

See it.

btw, at one point a cop gets shot and Dwayne picks up his motorcycle and rides off. The cop bike is the same thing I ride. Same color and everything. 'Cept I don't have the blue and red lights in front.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on July 19, 2018, 08:05:33 PM
Skyscraper

Kinda sorta a remake of die hard. Die hard had the better villian - Hans Gruber aka Prof Snape. Both wife's were good. Dwayne Johnson is as good as Bruce. And skyscraper had better heart stopping effects.

Everyone in the theater loved it and so did I.

See it.

btw, at one point a cop gets shot and Dwayne picks up his motorcycle and rides off. The cop bike is the same thing I ride. Same color and everything. 'Cept I don't have the blue and red lights in front.


Does he run across broken glass barefoot? To quote Chris Farley, "That was AWESOME!"
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 19, 2018, 08:22:13 PM
Equalizer 2

The Equalizer was a pretty good movie. Denzel Washington is a "retired" CIA special ops guy who befriends a young hooker; when her russian pimp beats her into the ICU, he takes on the russian mob. To their severe detriment.

Equalizer 2 is a stranger film. Here we start out with Denzel being a local good samaritan, standing up for the hopeless. Then he gets involved in some strange plot that starts with a French couple being killed in their Paris home. I never quite figured out how the french people figured into everyone else's life. Of course it winds up with a bunch of guys wanting Denzel dead and he reciprocating. Denzel does a pretty good acting job, but the story was more than a little cut up.

Wait for the DVD at Redbox.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on July 20, 2018, 03:26:14 PM
We finally saw "A Quiet Place" at the budget cinema. Well done. but- and if you haven't seen it, stop reading because SPOILER ALERT-


Anyway, the deaf little girl is going to feel even more guilty than just getting her little brother killed because he activated the toy spaceship. Wait until she figures out she could have saved her dad if only she'd figured out earlier that her "hearing aid" was causing the monsters to run away. It had already happened twice- if only she'd kept it on!  :(
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 26, 2018, 08:34:21 PM
Mission Impossible: Fallout

There have been six MI movies now, and the last two are easily the best. In MI: Fallout it's my opinion that Cruise has passed up Bond as the new best action hero / spy.

Some plutonium has been stolen and is in play. Lane, the bad guy from the previous MI, is behind the action. His group means to get the plutonium, make some bombs, and wipe out a *lot* of people. Hunt has his usual heart-stopping problems, plans go astray, people turn on him, and the stakes are as high as they could be.

See it.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on July 27, 2018, 12:22:38 PM
Just saw "Upgrade" at the Budget cinema. A bit short on character development, but a very interesting premise, and the ending caught me off guard, which is very unusual. With the success of "A Quiet Place" and other low budget movies making decent amounts of return, you'd think perhaps the bigwigs in Hollywood would consider making smaller budgeted, interesting movies rather than those bloated "franchises" that have diminishing returns. But then again, when has corporate culture cared about anything but repeating the past and making sure they're well conpensated. If the company loses money, so what? They'll always have that "golden parachute" to bail them out.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 27, 2018, 08:06:41 PM
Teen Titans Go!

Plot, character development, dialog, action, suspense - this movie has nothing. As good as the Incredibles 2 was, this is that bad.

Don't see it. Don't send your kids to see it. Don't buy it. Get some DVDs of Dexter's Laboratory and watch those instead. Or Jonny Quest.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 28, 2018, 06:55:54 AM
Thursday movie pass had "technical difficulties," meaning the movie pass Visa cards didn't work. I didn't notice this because my local theater uses e tickets. The technical difficulties were that movie pass owed Visa $5m and Visa wouldn't process the cards until movie pass paid up. It would appear we're approaching the end. Movie pass also announced there would be a charge of $2 to see the most popular movies on the first few nights. Many uses are complaining that they're paying $2 and sitting in an almost empty theater. And now movie pass is saying some movies may not be available at all on weekends, to "encourage users to see movies in the middle of the week." I paid for a full year subscription so they can't change the rules in me until my year is up, but monthly people are getting hit at the beginning of the month. Recently their stock dropped to $0.15 per share so they announced a reverse stock split where 250 shares turned into one. This got the stock momentarily up to $20, but in the next couple of days the stock price cut in half.

I don't have complete confidence movie pass will last out the year. Oh well, it was a fun ride while it lasted.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on July 30, 2018, 08:05:14 AM
Teen Titans Go!

Plot, character development, dialog, action, suspense - this movie has nothing. As good as the Incredibles 2 was, this is that bad.

Don't see it. Don't send your kids to see it. Don't buy it. Get some DVDs of Dexter's Laboratory and watch those instead. Or Jonny Quest.

Loved Jonny Quest as a kid. The original that is.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 31, 2018, 10:39:49 AM
Movie pass is now $15 per month and generally does not allow you to see new releases. No one is sure what that means. My preferred theater uses movie pass e tickets and I seem to stop be able to go to anything. If you use the movie pass Visa card, I think maybe it's time to quit. At this point AMC has a better deal, $20 per month for three movies a week, includes seeing movies more than once and includes 3d and IMAX movies. And discounts on the seriously overpriced and fattening movie food.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on July 31, 2018, 04:04:22 PM
An unsustainable business model that was started with magical thinking and quickly found itself in big trouble. The site this article is from is not a favorite of everyone, but the article itself explains the problems inherent in this business boondoggle.

https://slate.com/business/2018/07/why-moviepass-collapsed.html
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on July 31, 2018, 08:30:35 PM
Just saw "Hereditary". Wow. Extremely intense, slow burn horror. And really, really psychologically messed up. Want to see a double header of movies that will rock your world? Watch this one and "The Babadook" back to back. Both very well acted, very well written and directed, and both total. The writers of these movies were working through some very, very dark places. And they'll take you there with them.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 04, 2018, 05:25:39 PM
The Darkest Minds

Rowling was on welfare. She dropped her kids off at school, bought a coffee, sat at a table on the sidewalk with her laptop for 4 hours and wrote Harry Potter. Now she's a billionaire working on her 2nd billion.

Stephanie Mayer wrote Eclipse, half as many books that are half as good, and is now worth $125m.

Suzanne Collins wrote Hunger Games and is now worth $80m.

Everyone is now trying to write the next teen super-something and get filthy rich.

Now it's Alexandra Bracken's turn. She wrote a book, The Darkest Minds. There's an epidemic in the future, 90% of all kids die. The ones who live have powers. The government rounds them all up, classifies them, and kills the ones deemed dangerous. The rest seem to work as slaves in a shoe factory. Weird use of kids. Every single adult man in this story is a jack-booted thug who seems to live to yell at kids and hit them on the head with the butt of his AR-15. Half the adult women make their money  running around with large guns and rounding up escaped kids. Alexandra has some serious personal issues, I think.

The movie is about, um, well, pretty much nothing. It's obviously just a set up for the next two movies, which, given how bad this one is, I'm having trouble seeing them get made. At the end of the movie I stood up and said, "A movie about nothing. Cool." Half the audience laughed.

Don't even rent it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 05, 2018, 06:46:03 PM
The Spy who Dumped Me

A comedy / spy story. Mila Kunis has a boyfriend who dumps her by text message, then turns out to be a spy. He left a 2nd place trophy with her, and now it turns out all the spy agencies in the world are after her to get the trophy, not to mention some terrorists after her too. Kate McKinnon plays her friend who is written to be non-stop grating. Mila and Kate fly to Europe then run all over the continent trying to stay alive and do the right thing. Pretty soon they figure out there are no good guys in this story. Most of the fixes they get in are highly artificial, which of course is 'cause it's a comedy, not a Jane Bond movie.

It's mildly amusing. If you like this sort of thing rent it in six months and watch it with your wife.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 10, 2018, 09:35:10 PM
The Meg

Arrogant scientists (this time they're chinese) find an unexplored part of the ocean and they boldly go. A 60 foot long hundred ton shark follows them back, and then the fun begins. The shark goes after people, Jason Stratham goes after the shark, and we have the whole moby dick / jaws thing.

The movie is decently entertaining and has a few actual surprises. It's worth watching. Perhaps more so as a rental.

As usual the science is simply atrocious, we have radio and video penetrating through 6 miles of seawater (which is a conductor, electromagnetic waves don't work, subs don't do radio), we have little plastic subs going to places where the pressure is 15,000 pounds per square inch, we get said little plastic subs descending at like 50 mph into the deeps, we got fish down 6 miles deep where light never goes and they've got eyes and colorful skins. And the fish exist because they found a place that's much warmer than expected. Warm water holds less oxygen than cold water - that's why the water off the Bahamas is a beautiful clear blue, it has almost no oxygen and is dead - and that's why the best seafood comes from Alaska and New Foundland and Norway, the cold water is teeming with oxygen and life.  I dunno, it just sucks knowing stuff and watching most movies. The Big Bang Theory gets all the math and science right and everyone loves that. Interstellar and Gravity got most all of the math and science right and everyone loved them. Where's the requirement that movies have to be stoopid? I'm surprised they didn't find fish marching with LGBQT signs and with signs that said "The Earth was created in 6471 BC" and fish selling Cavendish bananas and naval oranges.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 12, 2018, 04:59:58 PM
Dog Days

This is a chick flick. Generally I'm ok with chick flicks, at least in small doses. This one started *really* slow. It's about several dog owners and related drama. The first 100 minutes are a total snooze - I almost left. The last 15 minutes are pretty good, if you can hang on that long. If your wife loves dogs and chick flicks, rent it and take a nap. You wont miss much.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 13, 2018, 07:10:30 PM
Christopher Robin

Christopher gets sent off to boring school, then he's sent off to WW II. He comes back as Obi-Wan, marries Peggy Carter (Cap America's main squeeze, but the Cap is frozen in ice by then. . .), has a daughter and gets a job working for Mycroft Holmes at Woozle Enterprizes. Somewhere along the way Obi-Wan loses his way and almost loses his wife and daughter, but gets magically transported back to the 100 acre woods where he has an adventure with Pooh and friends. Then it's back to london where he fixes all Woozle's and his problems.

Sound a bit hard to follow? It was. And it was overly moralistic. And I had trouble identifying with anyone ('cept possibly Eeyore).

I dunno, not so great a film maybe. Finding Neverland was many, many times better.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 15, 2018, 07:34:27 PM
Crazy Rich Asians

A rom-com, except I seemed to have missed the comedy. Rachel is an asian professor of economics at NYU, and has a gorgeous asian boyfriend. He's to be the best man at a wedding in singapore, so off they fly - where rachel will meet the family. Who turn out to be billionaires. Mom hates rachel, 'cause cinderella isn't good enough. And so the games begin.

It didn't really resonate with me at all. I somehow can't identify with billionaires, or their self-absorbed offspring, or their $100m weddings, or people who drive exotic cars in singapore.

Pass.

I'm coming to sorta understand rotten tomatoes. If RT gives the movie a rating under 50%, it's pretty much going to suck. If the rating is over 75%, it's about 50-50.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 17, 2018, 01:57:05 AM
22 Mile

About a special ops team. They're in some SE Asian country looking for 8 pounds of cesium that got, um, lost. Cesium is seriously bad stuff and eight pounds could render a couple good sized cities uninhabitable. A local says he knows where it is but wants to go to the us before he'll tell. Meanwhile some Russians are flying around in a spy plane for no clear reason. Our team needs to get the local 22 miles to an airport in time to get on a US military transport and get the cesium. Lotsa people want to stop this from happening. Lotsa action. Short movie. Complicated plot. I'd have to watch it another time or two to be clear on everything going on.

I liked it. I dunno if I liked it at movie tickets price levels, but I liked it. For me, $11 to watch a movie raises the bar pretty high. The $1 per movie I've been averaging lowers that bar a lot, but for me a lot of movies don't even clear the $1 bar.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 19, 2018, 03:17:49 PM
Alpha

A somewhat touching movie, but hugely historically and scientifically inaccurate. (I know, I make that complaint constantly. . .)

Kedo is a perhaps 16 y/o out on his first hunt with his tribe, and gets severely hurt and left for dead. Later he nearly kills a wolf protecting himself; he then nurses himself and the wolf back to life, then they have to find their way home to his village, perhaps 100 miles or more.

We're told the film is Europe 20,000 years ago. The film is shot in a desert, which I suppose pretty much makes it spain, but winter is coming and it's pretty cold. One wonders why you would make a semi-permanent residence in a desert where there's a bit of grass and not much else, no chance of agriculture. In fact, since 20,000 years ago they must have been hunter-gatherers, one wonders why they have a village at all.

btw, 1) 20,000 years ago everyone had dark skin, white skin hadn't been invented yet. Not by 15,000 years. 2) Wolves are huge creatures, 180 pound males that stand 3 feet tall at the shoulder. Perhaps you think your German Shepherd or Siberian Husky is nearly a wolf, but they're half as big. 3) If you get submerged in an ice-covered river, your life expectancy, absent a whole bunch of help and a big fire, is well under half an hour.

Well, I kinda liked the film but I was constantly annoyed by the humongous inaccuracies. I've spent a bunch of time in the mojave desert, and it's a great place to ride a motorcycle but a terrible and deadly place to live. The parts of the film that were shot "on location" were shot in a part of Alberta that's a lot like Utah but a lot colder. It's not much at all like any place in Europe.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 20, 2018, 09:59:34 AM
Kevin Spacey, accused pedophile, released his latest movie "Billionaire boys Club" this weekend. Eight theaters in the US picked it up. Total ticket sales were $618.

Now I'd like to see if we can end the career of Robert DeNiro.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 20, 2018, 11:35:50 AM
Kevin Spacey, accused pedophile, released his latest movie "Billionaire boys Club" this weekend. Eight theaters in the US picked it up. Total ticket sales were $618.

Now I'd like to see if we can end the career of Robert DeNiro.

DeNiro has already committed career suicide with "Bad Grandpa". The guy has become a shell of himself, relying on mannerisms rather than inhabiting and breathing life into a created character. A once great actor who has become a caricature. But Travis Bickle, his Michael in "The Deerhunter", a young Vito Corleone in "Godfather II", Jake Lamotta in "Raging Bull", Jimmy Conway in "Goodfellas", even Rupert Pupkin in "The King of Comedy". Great performances.

As far as Spacey, the movie had been on VOA for about six months before being released to theaters for some reason. Besides, it was already a TV movie in 1987. And if you want to move against those who greatly offend the sensitilities, I think the Catholic Church could use some serious reformation as regards pedophilia.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 25, 2018, 10:30:23 AM
My movie pass ride is nearly over.

I bought a year, but with four months to go they've switched me to the 3 movies a month thing. Their excuse is they offered me a refund on the remaining time if I don't like it.

Turns out there's only three movies a month I was planning on seeing for the rest of the year, so I'm gonna let it slide. But I believe in January I'll be switching to the AMC deal - $20, 3 movies a week.

I've paid Moviepass $130 total and at the end of the year I'll have seen 119 films, so $1.10 per movie. AMC will be more like $1.75 / movie.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 25, 2018, 12:16:41 PM
We saw "Won't You Be My Neighbor", the Mr. Rogers documentary. It focused heavily on his roots in the television days, but didn't delve very deeply into his childhood/upbringing or why he was the way he was. A gentle, kind, compassionate man who was later reviled by some for telling children that, indeed, they are unique, valuable and should be cherished. Touching, but limited.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 07, 2018, 05:24:21 PM
I'll be reviewing rental movies now too, as I'm only allowed three theater movies a month, and this is the season where the movie pickings get a bit slim. Also, frankly, I find I'm a little burned out on movies.

The Death of Stalin

I found this movie difficult to follow. Furthermore, the depictions of many of the top Soviet officials - Kruschev, Malenkov, Beria - was as clowns. I'm pretty sure for all of Kruschev's failings, he was not a clown. I was hoping to learn something of the history of the USSR during this critical period, but I was mostly just bored. After the fact I learned it was a "comedy." It wasn't. And I don't know how you turn the upheaval of the leadership of the soviets into a comedy.

Maybe eastern europeans like it. They have a very different sense of humor.

A joke which eastern europeans think is the funniest joke ever, and which I barely get:

Capitalism is like being in a locked room, trying to catch a frightened cat.
Socialism is just like capitalism, but the lights are turned off.
Communism is just like socialism, but there is no cat.



Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 07, 2018, 05:38:00 PM
The Humanity Bureau

I like Nicolas Cage, but he makes a lot of movies, and many are, um, thin. This movie was direct-to-dvd. It was thin. It would have bombed at the box office, it's really not an $11 evening. It's about the future where you have to be "productive" or you get sent to the soylent green camps. Nicholas falls for a rather cute unproductive girl and tries to save her. There's an obligatory plot twist or two, but it's just not quite enough.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 07, 2018, 08:19:44 PM
Saw "Blindspotting" at the budget cinema for $1.44. It was worth it, though $11 would have left me angry. Interesting slice of life, but no real resolution. The movie just kind of meandered along, tried to have some social commentary which I found muddled. Though being an old white guy who has always had enough to be happy, I didn't really get the message. So, some of Oakland's neighorhoods are "gentrifying". Pushing out poorer, black residents and bringing in rich hipsters/yuppies. This is bad because then the bad old neighborhoods are being replaced by better neighborhoods. There is also a sub-story about a police shooting, and a young black girl who is apparently being trained to be a fighter. Not trying to improve her mind, but constantly pushing the idea of being tough, fighting and being violent. Who knows, maybe she'll end up in the MMA.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 08, 2018, 02:49:03 PM
THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (review from Rotten Tomatoes)

They may look like the puppets your kids see on Sesame Street, made of colorful felt with sweet faces and kind, googly eyes. But be warned: The characters in The Happytime Murders aren't here to teach your kids their ABCs and 1-2-3s. They're too busy having s*x, drinking in hot tubs and starring in p*rn videos. And they're brought to you by the letter F, over and over again. That's the gimmick in this extremely hard-R comedy: Seemingly wholesome characters take part in unspeakably unwholesome activities. It's a vaguely amusing idea and not much more. The Happytime Murders is a one-joke movie, and that joke gets beaten into the ground (as do several characters, people and puppet alike). Among the human actors in this raunchy film-noir send-up are Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, and Elizabeth Banks, all of whom are game for anything.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: OneTwoSixFive on September 09, 2018, 06:31:42 AM
Happytime Murders sounds vaguely like a modern version of the old X-Rated cartoon 'Fritz the Cat' (1972) - director Bakshi's feature-film debut, which was then followed by several other copycat X-Rated animations.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 09, 2018, 12:18:04 PM
Happytime Murders sounds vaguely like a modern version of the old X-Rated cartoon 'Fritz the Cat' (1972) - director Bakshi's feature-film debut, which was then followed by several other copycat X-Rated animations.

The film was directed by Brian Henson, Jim's son. He decided to make the Muppet like creatures crude, lewd and low lifes. That was strike one for me. That it was generally hated by critics (Rotten Tomatoes: critics, 23%; audiences, 45%). Strike three? It stars Melissa McCarthy, who has been rehashing the same character since her debut in "Bridesmaids".
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on September 11, 2018, 07:00:44 AM
THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (review from Rotten Tomatoes)

They may look like the puppets your kids see on Sesame Street, made of colorful felt with sweet faces and kind, googly eyes. But be warned: The characters in The Happytime Murders aren't here to teach your kids their ABCs and 1-2-3s. They're too busy having s*x, drinking in hot tubs and starring in p*rn videos. And they're brought to you by the letter F, over and over again. That's the gimmick in this extremely hard-R comedy: Seemingly wholesome characters take part in unspeakably unwholesome activities. It's a vaguely amusing idea and not much more. The Happytime Murders is a one-joke movie, and that joke gets beaten into the ground (as do several characters, people and puppet alike). Among the human actors in this raunchy film-noir send-up are Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, and Elizabeth Banks, all of whom are game for anything.


Hmmm, disappointing, was looking forward to this one. I liked the previews. Guess I’ll wait for cable on this one.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 13, 2018, 07:40:19 PM
A Simple Favor

A black comedy / who done it / what did they do.

Anna Kendricks is ms.perfect mom, cooking, volunteering, and has a vlog for moms. Blake Lively is a driven working mom, they meet when their sons become friends at school and want a play date. Anna and Blake start hanging out, having 5pm martinis at 3:30, and exchanging secrets as besties. Then Blake calls Anna with an emergency, asks her to pick up the boys, she'll be by later. Then Blake disappears.

Lots of plot twists, you're really not at all sure what's going on until the very end, and even then you're a little fuzzy on a few details. I thought it was really good, and it would make a great date night movie - your wife will love it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 14, 2018, 07:43:57 PM
THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (review from Rotten Tomatoes)

They may look like the puppets your kids see on Sesame Street, made of colorful felt with sweet faces and kind, googly eyes. But be warned: The characters in The Happytime Murders aren't here to teach your kids their ABCs and 1-2-3s. They're too busy having s*x, drinking in hot tubs and starring in p*rn videos. And they're brought to you by the letter F, over and over again. That's the gimmick in this extremely hard-R comedy: Seemingly wholesome characters take part in unspeakably unwholesome activities. It's a vaguely amusing idea and not much more. The Happytime Murders is a one-joke movie, and that joke gets beaten into the ground (as do several characters, people and puppet alike). Among the human actors in this raunchy film-noir send-up are Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, and Elizabeth Banks, all of whom are game for anything.
Hmmm, disappointing, was looking forward to this one. I liked the previews. Guess I’ll wait for cable on this one.

Well, that didn't take long. "The Happytime Murdrers" was released August 24. It arrived in our local budget cinema today. Any questions about the movie's failure to launch can be found in the following video. WARNING: SPOILERS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24ftxaHPrso
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 18, 2018, 09:23:22 PM
Searching

John Cho is a good Korean dad with a teenage Korean daughter who takes AP courses and plays the piano. Mom dies of cancer and it all goes sideways. Then the daughter calls from a friends house, she'll be there all night studying. She never comes home. Dad gets into her laptop and finds in social media that he doesn't actually know his daughter all that well. Now the race is on: What happened? Can they find her? Before she's dead? Or worse. . .

Debra Messing, who I don't like so well due to her outspoken far left political views, plays the police detective who's assigned to this case.

Lots of twist and turns in this movie and a completely unexpected ending.

It's quite good.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 20, 2018, 07:49:48 PM
The House with a Clock in the Walls

Jack Black is Uncle Jon, a warlock. He becomes the guardian of Lewis when Lewis' parents die in a car crash. Cate Blanchett is his neighbor, a witch. Kyle McLaughlin is a (dead) evil warlock who planted a clock in the walls of the house - they must find the clock and stop it or "it would be bad."

It's a reasonably fun movie, but the magic is a cheat: there's no rhyme or reason to it, what ever you want to happen it seems you can just make it happen. Or not. I find this aspect of magical tales unsettling: since there are no rules, you can write yourself out of any corner with a spell. Which corner you likely got into due to a lack of a spell. This is the one part of Harry Potter I didn't like: you have to memorize the exact (latin) wording and wand work or the feather blows up in your face. Who figured it out first? And after blowing up how many feathers? And what does it mean when Dumbledore knows the "theory of magic" and can invent new spells? And only Voldemort and his followers can fly like smoke, but not a one of them can produce a petronus? Annoying.

I don't think this movie is worth $10, but if you have kids I suppose it's a good rental for an evening.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 02, 2018, 07:01:37 PM
Siberia

Keanu Reeves stars as a diamond smuggler working a deal gone bad. Early in the movie he's jumped by a couple drunk Russians, and they kick his ass. This is not the Matrix. He wanders around Russia jumping back and forth between siberia and st.petersburg, having run-ins with the russian mob and the fsb. And somewhere in there falling in love with a russian girl who is, um, not his wife.

It's a pretty strange movie. C.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 02, 2018, 11:03:44 PM
The catcher was a spy

This is the true story of Moe berg, a Jewish catcher for the red Sox. He was also a Princeton graduate, had a law degree and was a member of the bar, and spoke about fifteen languages, six or eight of them fluently.

During WW II it became clear that Werner Heisenberg - the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, invented quantum mechanics - was working in the field of nuclear fission for the Germans. Moe joined the oss and volunteered to track down Heisenberg, figure out if he was making a bomb, and kill him if he was.

By far the most unrealistic part of the movie is that Moe's girlfriend is the delicious Siena Miller, and he leaves her to wander around wartime Italy. Just off the top of my head I'm not sure there's anyone I leave Siena Miller for, and neither war time Italy nor Werner make the grade.

There's a really kewl part where Connie Neilson, wonder woman's mom and a Dane in real life, gets in Werner's face at a dinner and accuses him of making a bomb for the Nazis with utter disregard for the lives of everyone else in Europe. Connie is old enough that I'm sure she's heard detailed stories of the Nazi occupation of Denmark, and she plays her role with great sincerity.

It's a historically interesting movie. The drama is perhaps a bit thin.i give it a B-.

True facts: Feynman once said to me, "I read Heisenberg's original paper and I have no idea what he's talking about." That got me interested so I read it too. I'm prefectly competent with quantum mechanics, and I couldn't understand any of Heisenberg's paper.

Heisenberg had horrible allergies, so in the spring he told summerfeld he was going north for a few weeks. When he came back he said, "I've got it! I can calculate the entire hydrogen spectrum! There's just one thing, I had to assume that pq - qp = h. What doesn't commute?" Summerfeld said, "I don't know, but next week I'm going to England and I'll see that clever fellow Dirac. Come along and we'll ask him." When they got to England they asked Dirac and he said "matrixes." they asked, "what's a matrix?" Nobel prizes all around a couple years later.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 02, 2018, 11:12:27 PM
I won't  be seeing Holmes and Watson. It's sophomoric slapstick and I don't find that funny at all. Furthermore, I like the books and I love Cumberbatch's Holmes, so I find this a bit degrading and insulting. I'm really not at all a will Ferris fan.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 09, 2018, 01:01:47 AM
The catcher was a spy

This is the true story of Moe berg, a Jewish catcher for the red Sox. He was also a Princeton graduate, had a law degree and was a member of the bar, and spoke about fifteen languages, six or eight of them fluently.

During WW II it became clear that Werner Heisenberg - the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, invented quantum mechanics - was working in the field of nuclear fission for the Germans. Moe joined the oss and volunteered to track down Heisenberg, figure out if he was making a bomb, and kill him if he was.

By far the most unrealistic part of the movie is that Moe's girlfriend is the delicious Siena Miller, and he leaves her to wander around wartime Italy. Just off the top of my head I'm not sure there's anyone I leave Siena Miller for, and neither war time Italy nor Werner make the grade.

There's a really kewl part where Connie Neilson, wonder woman's mom and a Dane in real life, gets in Werner's face at a dinner and accuses him of making a bomb for the Nazis with utter disregard for the lives of everyone else in Europe. Connie is old enough that I'm sure she's heard detailed stories of the Nazi occupation of Denmark, and she plays her role with great sincerity.

It's a historically interesting movie. The drama is perhaps a bit thin.i give it a B-.

True facts: Feynman once said to me, "I read Heisenberg's original paper and I have no idea what he's talking about." That got me interested so I read it too. I'm prefectly competent with quantum mechanics, and I couldn't understand any of Heisenberg's paper.

Heisenberg had horrible allergies, so in the spring he told summerfeld he was going north for a few weeks. When he came back he said, "I've got it! I can calculate the entire hydrogen spectrum! There's just one thing, I had to assume that pq - qp = h. What doesn't commute?" Summerfeld said, "I don't know, but next week I'm going to England and I'll see that clever fellow Dirac. Come along and we'll ask him." When they got to England they asked Dirac and he said "matrixes." they asked, "what's a matrix?" Nobel prizes all around a couple years later.

Loved that guy in "Breaking Bad"  ;D
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 09, 2018, 01:03:31 AM
I won't  be seeing Holmes and Watson. It's sophomoric slapstick and I don't find that funny at all. Furthermore, I like the books and I love Cumberbatch's Holmes, so I find this a bit degrading and insulting. I'm really not at all a will Ferris fan.


Nobody beats Jeremy Brett as Holmes IMHO.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on October 09, 2018, 09:55:33 AM
I won't  be seeing Holmes and Watson. It's sophomoric slapstick and I don't find that funny at all. Furthermore, I like the books and I love Cumberbatch's Holmes, so I find this a bit degrading and insulting. I'm really not at all a will Ferris fan.


Nobody beats Jeremy Brett as Holmes IMHO.

Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce as Watson.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 09, 2018, 08:18:59 PM
I won't  be seeing Holmes and Watson. It's sophomoric slapstick and I don't find that funny at all. Furthermore, I like the books and I love Cumberbatch's Holmes, so I find this a bit degrading and insulting. I'm really not at all a will Ferris fan.


Nobody beats Jeremy Brett as Holmes IMHO.



Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce as Watson.


They were very good, and I really enjoyed those movies, but Brett really does the Holmes character justice. Very true to the stories.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 10, 2018, 07:40:31 PM
Venom

Venom is a character from Spider-Man, but Spider-Man is no where to be seen. This movie happens mostly in San Francisco.

Our bad guy is rather obviously Elon Musk - how the tide is turned on that poor guy - who is out to explore space for future colonization. He sends a rocket to a comet, and it brings back four life forms, which he somehow intuits are symbiots just looking for an earth host. Meanwhile our Elon character thinks the earth is doomed 'cause of global warming and over population. I agree with the second half of that, the earth's population *will* come under control and it appears it will not be pretty. Anyway, our ?hero? gets ahold of one of the symbiots, or perhaps I have that backwards, and he turns into Venom, a super, um, well a super something. Then the action starts.

The acting is good for a movie like this. The dialog is so-so, as are the plot and special effects. This movie is about as good as one of the hulk movies, call it B-, and remember I love this stuff. I don't think this is an $11 movie. There are a couple after-scenes, one of which sets up the next Venom movie. The second sets up the spider-verse movie, which looks to be very weird. Sony is just desperate to cash in on their properties, and so far they're just not a blazing success story.

This movie is extremely multi-cultural, as is the Bay Area. The credits about 2/3 read like a phone book from somewhere in India - hindus, sikhs, jains, muslims, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and some others I didn't recognize just by name.  Silicon Valley is taking all the brightest kids from all over the world and doing some really incredible stuff with them. And leaving behind a bunch of third world countries drained of their best and brightest.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 11, 2018, 08:12:19 PM
A Star Is Born, V4

A remake of a remake of a remake.

1937, Janet Gaynor and Fredric March.
1954, Judy Garland and James Mason.
1976, Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson
2018, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

This was a good movie, they say it's the front runner for best picture. The acting was quite good. The basic story is Bradley Cooper is a pretty successful singer. He discovers Lady Gaga in, of all places, a tranny bar. He turns her into a star, just as his hearing is going and his career is winding down. He disappears into a bottle to compensate, and a good time is had by all.

I dunno, it didn't really resonate with me. I'm not that kind of self-destructive, and I must admit I thought the timing was poor: I'm kinda sick of it's always the white guy who screws everything up.

But don't get carried away by my take, your wife will love it and you'll likely like it a lot.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on October 12, 2018, 06:10:11 PM
We're rewatching "The Greatest Showman", and loving every second of it. Great choreography, songs and an uplifting message. Of course, its not historically accurate, to which I say, "So what?" Its not a documentary, its a movie that is meant to entertain you, move you and make you feel better. It succeeds very well at these goals.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 13, 2018, 07:33:29 PM
First man

A pretty good film. No where near as good as Apollo 13, but pretty good. Thev story of the path to the first moon landing.

One of the parts that I found interesting is that my father's generation, the generation raised in the depression who fought WWII, was raised to show no emotion, and sure enough the astronauts showed very little emotion. It was clear that this drove their wives nuts.

Not a great film for young kids, they would think it dragged

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 19, 2018, 04:08:36 PM
Reprisal

After I rented it, I saw this had a zero rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And it earned it.

Crummy dialog. Plot holes left and right. 13 year old girl shows up for breakfast and is cheerful, polite and engaging with her parents - seriously, I was looking around for the unicorn farting rainbows. At one point the bad guy reels off 31 quick shots without reloading from a glock, which holds 17 rounds. I never did figure out what was going on besides some robberies and a lot of shooting.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on November 05, 2018, 05:33:59 PM
Bohemian Rhapsody

I'm not clear on what's going on, but it seems I'm pretty much no longer allowed to use moviepass. Or anyone else, judging from the internet. So I streamed this movie from Russia, with love.

This movie is the story of Freddie Mercury, the married / bisexual / gay singer for Queen. We all already knew he lived a troubled life and the fame and fortune were scant payback for his confusion. This movie goes into some detail. I must admit to you I'm not a huge fan of Queen - I appreciate they did some interesting songs, and Freddie had a simply insane vocal range. I personally have a pretty good singing range, about one note less than McCartney or the guy who sings Take on Me, but Freddie was in a class of his own, he had a couple notes on all of us. Plus he had some kind of vocal cord control that's very rare, he could simply sing things that mere mortals mostly can't even attempt. There have been studies done and papers written about how he sang and what he could do.

A lot of the movie is about Freddie's confused sexuality, and much of the rest is about his youthful narcissism. I found the movie was unengaging, it just never really gripped my attention. I like Elton John's music a bunch better, but I'm personally not interested in his sexuality either. I don't understand this thing were everyone's sexual habits are suddenly their defining characteristics and we have to be personally aware of every sordid detail.

The movie hints at Freddie getting aids, but never explores this at all. He died of aids complications in 1991. Had he lived a few years longer he could have bought the cure for something like $250,000. Timing is everything

Freddie, curiously enough, was a persian (Iranian) whose family were zoroastrians (2001 theme, "Also sprach Zarathustra," "Also Spoke Zoroaster" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Szdziw4tI9o). He was born in India, raised on Zanzibar in Tanzania, then moved to England. His sexuality would have gotten him quickly killed in India or Tanzania, I think. Actually, his religion would have gotten him killed in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon or Syria, which is mostly where the Zoroastrians live today. Zoroaster (or Zarathrustra) lived roughly the same time as the Buddha, Confucius and Lao Tsu. It's entirely possible all four of these major religions were created at the same time. Zoroaster was perhaps the first to formally ask, "If God is good, why is there evil in the world?" His answers were highly influential on Greek thought and Judaism, and therefore on Christian and Islamic thought. Some scholars think the book of Job was Zoroastrian in origin. Zoroaster taught we have choices to make, the choices and consequences are ours alone, and the evil in our lives comes from evil choices of ourselves and others near us. Needless to say, none of this made the cut for this movie, as it would require a self-aware and thinking audience.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on November 24, 2018, 04:53:47 PM
Speed Kills

As John Travolta ages, it seems to me he looks more and more like an aging Schwarzenegger.

In Speed Kills Travolta is a New Jersey property developer who goes bankrupt, then reappears in Florida suddenly making the world's fastest speedboats. 'Cause, you know, there's no technical skill to making the world's fastest speedboats, you just hire a couple guys and do it. Same thing with cars, Indy and F1 are typically won by amateurs who just slapped something together.

The movie spans a couple decades, a couple wives, a couple litters of kids, several girlfriends, and a bunch of mob and DEA contacts. Its hard to keep up with who's who, especially because it quickly gets hard to care much. This movie has good acting, dialog, drama and action, but only in tiny spurts connected by big blocks of confusion. I never did really figure out what the movie was about. Most of Travolta's problems could have been solved if early on he had told the DEA agent, "Look, I just make fast boats, I got all these drug guys pushing me around and using my building and forcing me to make their cayman island deposits, put someone in my shop and let's get me free."

At one point in the movie we hear the local jewish mobster say, "We're bigger than US steel." This is a quote from the Godfather, which is turn is a quote from Meyer Lansky who was apparently at one time worth $300m but left an estate worth $57,000.

I dunno why you would want to watch this movie.

I haven't had much luck with movies lately. Moviepass is, for all practical purposes, dead. The Girl in the Spider's Web more or less sucks. And Grindenwald more or less sucks. I guess we all gotta settle in and wait for Aquaman. And Glass.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on December 25, 2018, 02:41:34 PM
The crimes of grindlewald.

This movie should have been called who is Credence barebones. Grindlewald doesn't actually commit many crimes.

You have to be pretty deep into Harry Potter to really love this movie, I think. There really isn't what you would call a plot - unlike the Potter movies, each of which stands alone, this movie seems like glue to hold together the previous movie and the next ones. Lots of stuff happens, but there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. Of course logic has never been Rowling's strong suit, so there's not a lot of that either. Bottom line, I'm a big Harry Potter fan and I give this movie a C.

The special effects are good. The entire movie is "at night" so it's just this side of black and white most of the time. I dunno, I'm a fan of sunlight and color.

If you get inducted into the Mormon Temple you learn many "secrets," like I was told with some enthusiasm that Adam was actually the arch Angel Micheal. I never met Adam or Michael, so to me this was just meaningless words. That's how a lot of this movie felt to me, especially the big reveals at the end felt like just words.

I was against using Jonny Depp as grindlewald, but it turns out he was a pretty decent choice. He actually is a pretty good actor, just not so much of a human being. Oh well, we're all works in progress and we all have all eternity to get it together, so from that perspective I guess Depp and Mother Theresa aren't that far apart.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on December 31, 2018, 06:59:18 PM
Aquaman

Well, after the fact I guess it seems obvious this movie would be full of references to Greek and Roman culture and Gods.

We've already met Aquaman in Justice league; this story starts after that. We meet Aquamans mom and dad and learn about his upbringing. Everything is peachy until Mera shows up and tells Arthur he has a half brother who's taking the throne so that he can declare war on the surface. Then things get very messy.

The cgi is pretty good except when they're making actors look young, then it looks kinda x box. The story is a bit contrived - there's a quest and monsters and surprises and battles and stuff, just like Ulysses. Everyone likes it a lot - it's already earned more money than Justice league. Traditionally, Aquaman is the sucko DC hero, but these guys have made him fun.

Recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on December 31, 2018, 09:06:59 PM
Who would ever have predicted that the best earning and best DC movies would be about Wonder Woman and Aquaman? Probably the same people who thought the Bears would run away with the North title, and that the Packers and Vikings would be big disappointments. Life is weird.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on December 31, 2018, 09:34:22 PM
Spider-Man into the spider verse

This is an extended cartoon. Kingpin has a scientist who is messing with the multiverse - the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, some almost exactly like ours, some very different. He wants his wife Vanessa and their son back from the dead, by importing copies from a nearby universe where they didn't die.

What he gets is he accidentally imports half a dozen different spider men, some very different. The Spider-Men have to find a way home and then blow up the machine.

Your kids will love it and you'll find it ok. If you don't have young boys then this is only your beautiful movie if you have an extensive comic book collection. If you don't already know who kingpin and spider Gwen are, this is not your beautiful movie.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on January 01, 2019, 11:45:38 AM
Aquaman

Well, after the fact I guess it seems obvious this movie would be full of references to Greek and Roman culture and Gods.

We've already met Aquaman in Justice league; this story starts after that. We meet Aquamans mom and dad and learn about his upbringing. Everything is peachy until Mera shows up and tells Arthur he has a half brother who's taking the throne so that he can declare war on the surface. Then things get very messy.

The cgi is pretty good except when they're making actors look young, then it looks kinda x box. The story is a bit contrived - there's a quest and monsters and surprises and battles and stuff, just like Ulysses. Everyone likes it a lot - it's already earned more money than Justice league. Traditionally, Aquaman is the sucko DC hero, but these guys have made him fun.

Recommended.


Looking forward to seeing this one. Thank you Mark!👍
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on January 01, 2019, 11:46:36 AM
Who would ever have predicted that the best earning and best DC movies would be about Wonder Woman and Aquaman? Probably the same people who thought the Bears would run away with the North title, and that the Packers and Vikings would be big disappointments. Life is weird.

👍 ;D
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 27, 2019, 11:22:59 PM
Glass

This is the third movie in Shyamalan's hero trilogy. First was unbreakable, which I liked. The second movie was split, which I also liked. Now we have the conclusion to the trilogy, Glass.

There's as lot of reference to the first two movies, but little explanation. I think it would be a mistake to watch Glass before the other two.

Mr Glass is determined to convince the world of his theory, that comics are loosely based on real history and superheros exist. He arranges for David Dunn (Willis) and the beast (McAvoy) to get arrested and sent to his hospital. Here he's determined to get them fighting, at peak performance, in public and on camera to prove to the world that superpowers are real. But there's a shrink who is equally determined to get Willis and McAvoy to doubt their powers. And now the challenge is set.

As you would expect from a Shyamalan film (eg. The 6th Sense) there's a couple twists. There's also room for a few sequels, but Glass is not selling all that well and Shyamalan denies he'll make them.

If you like this sort of thing - superhero psycho drama thriller - is a good movie. It's not Thor or Incredibles 2, but it's ok. No worse than Batman v Superman, and that was made for like 14 times a much money. In fact, Shymalan's three movies cost less than half of Batman v. Superman, and appear to be on track to take in about 90% as much money.

If you're gonna see it, see the other two first or you'll be lost.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on January 28, 2019, 02:04:09 PM
Finally saw "Widows" at the budget cinema. It was highly praised, making or getting close to many critics top ten best movies of the year. Which to me was nonsense. The film was too long, left a lot unexplained, and threw in some gratuitous social justice commentary. Examples of this would be a woman who had been in an abusive relationship with her husband, who dies, and then decides she'll be her own woman. By becoming a paid escort. With extra money for sex. Then, there was a totally unnecessary subplot that involved a young black man being shot by police after a traffic stop. Now, I think women being abused is a very serious problem. But the handling of the issue was haphazard and her becoming an escort was only there so she could get some information needed to pull off a robbery. The killing of unarmed  (mainly) black males is definitely a problem, But it didn't advance the plot one iota. It just added running time. And two characters were simply dropped in, one to be killed, the other to replace the murdered character as a getaway driver. There were other run time padding plots, but enough is enough. Not a good movie, IMO. But the director, Steve McQueen, made "Seven Years a Slave", so any movie he makes must be "important and relevant."  Well directed, well acted, but overall, bloated and simply too "neat" when the females commit their crime. Think about it this way" pick four other guys on PC to help you commit a crime. And with no criminal background, or experience with crime, commit a complicated robbery. Sure.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: claymaker on February 07, 2019, 06:23:03 PM
Who would ever have predicted that the best earning and best DC movies would be about Wonder Woman and Aquaman? Probably the same people who thought the Bears would run away with the North title, and that the Packers and Vikings would be big disappointments. Life is weird.

I think a lot of it has to do with the popularity of the Marvel movies, which for the most part have been really good.

I thought Man Of Steel was really good. Wonderwoman was definitely good. Aquaman was okay.

Anything with Batman, however, sucks because Ben Affleck is a PoS. Again the success of the Dark Knight saga really hurts DC's ability to deliver on a theme park style superhero movie. Coupled with the atrocity of Ben Affleck as Batman the Justice League movies leave a lot to be desired.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on February 10, 2019, 06:17:34 AM
Who would ever have predicted that the best earning and best DC movies would be about Wonder Woman and Aquaman? Probably the same people who thought the Bears would run away with the North title, and that the Packers and Vikings would be big disappointments. Life is weird.

I think a lot of it has to do with the popularity of the Marvel movies, which for the most part have been really good.

I thought Man Of Steel was really good. Wonderwoman was definitely good. Aquaman was okay.

Anything with Batman, however, sucks because Ben Affleck is a PoS. Again the success of the Dark Knight saga really hurts DC's ability to deliver on a theme park style superhero movie. Coupled with the atrocity of Ben Affleck as Batman the Justice League movies leave a lot to be desired.

Agree on Affleck. I always thought C Bale was the best Batman. Campiest was Adam West.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: dannobanano on February 10, 2019, 09:35:03 AM
Haven't been to a movie (at a theatre) in years.

I have little interest in feeding self-indulged B-B brained people.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on February 15, 2019, 09:01:46 PM
Mortal Engines

It's the year 3150 or something like that. It's Mad Max in the UK. Everyone in Europe and the UK is out of food, out of clean water, out of energy. So they put massive treadmills under the city of London and burn God alone knows what to drive the entire city around looking for, again, God knows what. They also have plenty of energy for lots of airplanes, which, btw, use a *lot* of energy.

Elrond Smith is trying to put together a new old weapon, a quantum something or other, with which he will blast through a wall which leads seemingly to China and Shangra-La. Of course northern europe is one huge plain, you can just walk to Russia (Napoleon did), then you can just walk to Mongolia (Ghengis Khan did this but in reverse). But we have to go through mountains, find a pass, and blow up a dam. Which, if you go to China by the southern route, it's desert all the way for 1000 miles, not shangra-la. (It sucks knowing geography and science).

There's a whole bunch of people running around and flying around, drinking pond scum and eating, um, you don't wanna know, but who have plenty of gas to fly around. They're fighting each other but it's very unclear why, then there's a big scene at the end where huge things blow up, China is saved from invasion, but having won they let all the londoners in anyway 'cause, you know, diversity and immigration are good.

Oh, and there's a land bridge from the UK to Europe, so I guess global warming is off and there's an ice age 'cause apparently oceans are very low. Aren't there people who censor hollywood when they commit heresies like this?

The biggest surprise about this movie is it's not the worst I've seen in the last year. Maybe 3rd or 4th worst.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on February 24, 2019, 05:10:11 PM
alita battle angel

It's the year 2363, or something like that. It's 300 years after the war, things are pretty bad. The beautiful people live in a sky city - we never see them - and the rest live in a gruddy ghetto on the ground.

A guy who's a "doctor" finds the head and shoulders of an android in a dump under the sky city. So he brings it home and gives it a body, which he just happens to have a robot body laying around, lucky for her. She comes to, no memories, he names her "alita." Pretty quickly we find out she's a *very* skilled fighter; then we find out she's a martian android, left over from the mars invasion by the URM - the united republic of Mars (Thanks Elon, your people invaded and caused the fall instead of being a stronghold for technology after the fall). She gets hold of a new "berserker" body with nano-tech, which conveniently rebuilds itself to transform her into her "internal self-image," a fighting sex goddess.

The movie is entertaining, the fight scenes are pretty good. There's a plot but I never quite got it in total. The movie is going along pretty well, building up her history and character and those of a few around her, then all the sudden it just ends. Over. Black screen. Credits. Weird. Obviously there's to be a sequel, but given that this movie is not making money, don't hold your breathe. Someone forgot to tell these guys that the first movies of Harry Potter and Star Wars and Star Trek and the Marvel Universe and Bourne and James Bond all stood alone - if no more movies were ever made we would still like them.

Should you see it? It's Japanese anime, meaning over-sexed girl fighters trashing a bunch of bad guys who have lotsa weapons and armor. If you like that sort of thing and don't demand that your movies run to resolution, then, yah, sure, it's ok.

Maybe wait to rent it for a buck or two.

btw, the actress, Rosa Salazar, is quite hot in her professional makeup, but quite ordinary without. You have no trouble seeing her, in a different life, overweight with bags under her eyes and five kids, cooking up beans and tortillas for dinner. Ask a pro and they'll tell you they want girls with good cheek bones and not much in the way of facial features - they can paint on anything, it's covering things up that's hard.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on February 24, 2019, 08:44:56 PM
Mary Poppins Returns

First let's get clear on who Mary Poppins is. According to a reddit post, "The first thing you notice is that, despite her reputation as a paragon of patience, understanding, and love, Mary Poppins simply isn’t very pleasant. It’s not clear that we’re even meant to like her. For one thing, she’s highly and relentlessly critical of the children, Michael (Matthew Garber) and Jane (Karen Dotrice) — you slouch, she tells them, you’re slobs, your manners are deplorable, and when you let your mouths hang open you look like fish. She’s also largely humorless, never satisfied with anyone but herself, and terribly vain (she describes herself, quite sincerely, as “practically perfect in every way”). Furthermore, she’s a bully: When a line of nannies congregate outside the Banks’s front door to apply for the job, she conjures a violent windstorm to sweep them away."

Emily Blunt certainly continues in this vein. Michael is grown up, his wife is dead (it's a disney movie, mom always dies), the kids are suffering, and Micheal has managed to get a notice of repossession on his house. Mary shows up to be practically perfect in every way and take control of this household. Bert is long retired, of course, but his young helper Jack is grown up and around to play the same part. There's lots of magical adventures, lots of singing and dancing, time is "reversed," and the house is magically saved. Then Mary flies away, her job here done. Her attachment to the kids vanishes when she can no longer claim to be the big hero. (I don't like Mary very much, can you tell?)

Emily is surprisingly good - the dirt-faced death-defying warrior from Edge of Tomorrow, the pregnant mom from A Quiet Place, the mind-boggled ballerina girlfriend from The Adjustment Bureau manages to channel narcissist control freak Mary surprisingly well. The kids were also well cast. Michael, the dad - I dunno, I just wanted to slap him, "Wake up, your life is falling apart and you've got kids, no wife and no plan!"

The movie never grabbed me. Maybe kids would like it, a bit, but I don't see them watching it 50 times like the Princess Bride or Sleeping Beauty.

Rent it if you must.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 01, 2019, 10:30:24 PM
The green book

Winner, best movie Oscar, 2019

The is the more or less true story of a black piano player Don Shirley, of whom Igor Stravinsky once said: “His virtuosity is worthy of Gods.”

In 1961 Shirley decides to go on a tour of the deep South, and he hires an Italian thug from the Bronx to drive him around and protect him. Their adventures are numerous and striking.

The thug is played by Aragon, the lost King - Vigo mortenson - who apparently put on a fair bit of weight to play this part. Vigo does a great job of playing an uncouth bit of muscle. Shirley is played by Mahershala Ali who got an academy award for his performance, and, imho, earned it.

The movie was written by Tony lip's son (Tony was the real life thug) and there's a fair bit of talk that the tone of the movie is rather slanted. This is Hollywood, they wouldn't know the truth if it lined up three blocks long outside a court room and sued them for harassment.

The movie is quite good. Best of the year? Yeah, I dunno about that, but quite good.

Recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 04, 2019, 01:09:39 PM
Cold Pursuit

A couple years ago Liam Neesom said, "I wish they would stop casting me as an action guy, I'm 63." Well, ere he is yet again as an action guy.

This is a black comedy, but in as much as it was not made by the Coen bros it's not all that funny. Liam lives up in the hills near Denver. His son gets ambushed at the local tiny airport by some drug thugs who shoot him u with a bunch of heroin and then dump him in the snow to die. Liam decides the drug guys must die. So he sets off for revenge. This is where it gets weird - he works his way up the ladder heading for the big guy at the top. Somewhere in there some local indians also get pissed off at the big drug lord and a drug war starts. I was never close to clear on how Liam get his intel, he just seems to bump into people, know who they are, and off them.

Liam drives a snow plow, a big industrial one, and what few laughs there are come from snow plow scenes.

Thin on plot, so-so on acting and dialog, barely funny. Given that there's about 3 "angry white guy shoots up a bunch of bad guys" movies every month, I can't say that for this month this is your beautiful movie. Maybe rent it for a buck in a few months. Maybe not.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 09, 2019, 07:52:01 PM
Captain Marvel

This movie is taking a lot of heat for being too feminist, and too hateful of white males. I gotta tell you, I think I'm a bit sensitive to this and I didn't see it. There is a fair bit of stuff about women overcoming their self-doubt, but in my experience this is an issue for a lot of women and it doesn't threaten me.

The movie starts with the captain waking up after a big crash. She has no memory of anything, and she has blue blood. The movie progresses from there as we all learn she's apparently a Kree - that's the people who were the bad guys in Guardians of the Galaxy, and were a big part of the invasion of Earth in the first Avengers movie. She's being trained to fight the Skrull, another race that is shape shifters and are claimed to be infiltrating and taking over planets, one by one.

So, what's the movie like? Ok, as I've admitted many times, I'm a real sucker for this stuff. That said, the acting and dialog and plot were a bit thin - no better than the first Hulk movie, and no where near the standards of most of the Marvel movies. How can you tell the acting was sub-par? The best acted character in the movie is the cat (the cat actually has a major role in the third act.) A whole bunch of people appear which are supposed to excite us, 'cause they're in later movies - one of the major bad guys is the bad guy from Guardians 1. I saw this as gratuitous, trying to tie a bunch of stuff together that we never felt was loose ends, and a lack of creativity. I'm never impressed with recycling bad guys.

At the end Captain leaves Earth on a mission, to find a good planet. She'll be searching several galaxies, we're to understand. This really annoys me: between our Milky Way and our nearest neighbor, Andromeda, there are between one and two trillion stars, which collectively probably have a few hundred billion planets that are good candidates for life - more or less Earth size, orbiting in the habitable zone where water is liquid, around a star with a decent lifetime. There are about 31 million seconds in a year, so if Captain Marvel could somehow fly by these planets one per second, and in one second make a snap judgement if this is her beautiful planet, just covering our two local galaxies would take her 10,000 years. At one planet per second. And of course to do this she needs to fly infinitely fast, light speed simply won't cut it nor will a few multiples of light speed. At 31 million times the speed of light it takes her 4 seconds just to get to the nearest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri, and she's only got 1 second to get there, look around, and leave. So apparently she has to fly considerably faster than 100 million times the speed of light. (this calculation does not allow her any time to eat, pee, sleep, or tell me my review is garbage.) In Star Trek nomenclature she has to fly at warp 28 or so, when something like warp 10 is the best we've ever heard of and that's the speed used by the aliens to get the Enterprise to Andromeda. But she's going to search apparently dozens or hundreds of galaxies. Really, is it that hard to find someone who knows freshman physics and astronomy in Los Angeles?

ok, sorry, I get out of control on this stuff.

There have been 19 Marvel movies made to date. Just off the top of my head, perhaps one could argue that Captain Marvel is better than the two Hulk movies and the first Thor. So maybe this is 16th best out of 19. Maybe. And I'm not saying that because, as many others have said, it's SJW propaganda. I'm saying it because the plot and acting are thin. Remember, the cat stole all her scenes. Seriously, on a scale of 1 to Wonder Woman, this movie rates no better than 3, helped along in the ratings by, for example, Barbarella and Earth Girls are Easy.

Don't feel like you have to rush out and see it with your wife and kids and grandkids and turn it into a $200 night.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on March 10, 2019, 09:35:36 AM
Caught up on some "older" much hyped (Best Picture nominees). "A Star Is Born" was terrible. Awful. Stupid. Contrived. Ridiculous. No, I didn't like it. "Bohemian Rhapsody" had a great performance by "Mr. Robot" star Rami Malek, a fair amount of humor, and great music. Definitely worth seeing. "Green Book"? Stopped watching after 20 minutes. I saw the whole thing unfolding before it happened, and wasn't interested. Rewatched "Black Panther" and was surprised by the intensity and humor. But this also raised a ton of questions about the Wakandan society. How did people make money? What about schohols, trash collectors, firefighters, police? Where id the infrastructure come from to create all those wonderful inventions? Where were the manufaturing plants/workers? This just scratches the surface. A nice fantasy, but the polical structure left me cold- a monarchy where the heir apparent has to fight for the right to rule if challlenged? And the topper was having an African tribe who identified with gorillas. Seriously? This has been a racist trope for centuries, and it's now embraced? 
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on March 11, 2019, 05:30:04 AM
To me Captain Marvel will always be a little kid who utters the word SHAZAM, and becomes a Superman like character. Didn’t realize Marvel had a character with the same name until this movie came out. If one says anything negative about this movie on social media the SJW’s will bite your head off.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on March 11, 2019, 05:33:20 AM
Caught up on some "older" much hyped (Best Picture nominees). "A Star Is Born" was terrible. Awful. Stupid. Contrived. Ridiculous. No, I didn't like it. "Bohemian Rhapsody" had a great performance by "Mr. Robot" star Rami Malek, a fair amount of humor, and great music. Definitely worth seeing. "Green Book"? Stopped watching after 20 minutes. I saw the whole thing unfolding before it happened, and wasn't interested. Rewatched "Black Panther" and was surprised by the intensity and humor. But this also raised a ton of questions about the Wakandan society. How did people make money? What about schohols, trash collectors, firefighters, police? Where id the infrastructure come from to create all those wonderful inventions? Where were the manufaturing plants/workers? This just scratches the surface. A nice fantasy, but the polical structure left me cold- a monarchy where the heir apparent has to fight for the right to rule if challlenged? And the topper was having an African tribe who identified with gorillas. Seriously? This has been a racist trope for centuries, and it's now embraced?


Sorry to hear that about Green Book. I think Marashala Ali is a great actor. Loved him in True Detective.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 24, 2019, 03:27:06 PM
The Cloverfield Paradox

There's a particle accelerator in space, to do an experiment. The experiment is necessary 'cause earth's population is out of control and if we don't find a new source of energy everyone will die. Frankly, far before we run out of energy we're going to run out of fertilizer and fresh water and insects, but whatever. Of course, as usual, there's a bunch of people worried about the accelerator will make something so high energy that it will rip the universe in half. Every time we build a new accelerator this comes up. Here's the thing: black holes and colliding neutron stars spew out particles with more energy than you can imagine, and these are hitting the earth constantly - cosmic rays. We've been hit by individual particles that have the energy of a school bus, sometimes billions of times more energy than we can make on earth. So it these things ripped the universe up, it would already be ripped up.

Well, in this move things go wrong, a rip happens, and our heroes find themselves in a parallel universe where things are similar but different. Things get seriously weird. They "lose" the earth, but then they find it on the other side of the sun, which their escape pods can bring them there - never mind that it would be about the same to go to mars and slightly cheaper to go to venus, their little pod is the little pod that could.

The science is awful, the acting poor, the horror parts unconvincing. And there's a twist at the end that comes out of absolutely no where and doesn't fit in the movie at all.

Cloverfield II was pretty good, Colverfield III is just cheap netflix dreck.

sorry.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 25, 2019, 09:52:33 PM
Krypton

This is a tv series.  I watched the first four episodes.

In the first five minutes of the series,  supermans great great grandfather is killed for, um, well I'm not sure what the crime was, but he said there are other intelligences in the universe so they made him walk the plank. Seriously, then he falls from the top of a huge building thousands of feet. This happens immediately in front of supermans grandfather, who's a bit pissed about it. Now we jump forwards about twenty years, supermans grandfather is living in a slum with no name cause the house of el was dissolved. He gets visited by a time and space traveler from earth who tells him they have to stop brainiac, who is wandering through the galaxies killing off civilized planets. If they don't stop him he will destroy krypton before superman is born and the universe will lose its greatest protector. .

Last week I mentioned that at one planet per second it takes ten thousand years to check out a galaxy. And that requires traveling at hundreds of millions times the speed of light. There's another problem I didn't mention last time. The sun's habitable zone, the area where water can be liquid, extends from about one hundred million kilometres out  to about two hundred fifty million kilometers. The earth is about twelve thousand kilometres across. If you  pop out of warp drive somewhere above the sun, finding the earth somewhere in the habitable zone is like finding an orange somewhere in an area 1.5 miles on a side. In Larry nivens books when they get to a new star it takes them a couple days to find the planets and decide which might harbor life. But all that has to happen in a fraction of a second if you want to work through a galaxy in ten thousand years. And brainiac is killing off planets in hundreds or thousands of galaxies. It just sucks liking sci fi tv and knowing a bit of science.

In thus show krypton is a seriously screwed up place where a few people are rich and live in huge towers, and most everyone is poor and hopeless and scrabble for an existence on the ground, unarmed, uneducated, and living In  a seriously obnoxious police state. Kinda like what France is quickly becoming. I thought krypton was supposed to be advanced and enlightened, but basically its a pretty sucko place.

The show has heavy Jewish overtones.  The good guys are the house of El. El, of course,  is the original name of the Hebrew God, and the Jews, his chosen people, are of the house of El. The bad guy is rao, the sun God, obviously a stand in for  Ra, the Egyptian Sun god. All we need is for Jor-El to hold a bris just before launching Kal-El. Is superman circumcised?

Since the show is on krypton no one has superpowers. Only the bad guys have guns. And, like any good drama, no one but the bartenders and the cops seem to work, everyone just wanders around and emotes about the latest crisis.

You could die missing this one and it would be less than tragic.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on March 28, 2019, 07:53:26 PM
Did a double header today in honor of the opening of the baseball season. "Spiderman into the Spiderverse" was well done, though the characters generally were woefully underdeveloped. Still worth seeing. Also saw "Aquaman". A very good superhero movie, with alternate rousing action and talking to set up the universe they live in. What struck me most though (SPOILER ALERT!) was when Aquaman was recognized as the true king of Atlantis, and emerged in a costume that was: Green and Gold! Then he defeated the rival king who was wearing: Purple! What a great touch- I truly wonder if the costume designer is secretly a Packers fan.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 07, 2019, 10:33:46 PM
The mule

Produced, directed and starting Clint. Loosely based on a true story, or at least as true as newspaper stories get.

Clint plays a 90 yo guy who's a failure at life. He's broke, divorced, his daughter hasn't spoken to him in twelve years, and his house gets foreclosed. But he's never had a traffic ticket. A drug gang pays him to drive drugs from la to Chicago - they pay him a lot. Pretty soon for the first time in his life he has money. The story slowly evolves top a crises where Clint has to choose between family and money.

It was a good rendition of a somewhat thin story, not Clint's best, but just fine for a mindless evening of movie while waiting for the belligerent progressives to come out with infinity war end game.

Btw, I'm stunned as captain marvel passes up almost all movies as it also passes a billion dollars. I stand by my review, its not that good of a movie. It's ok, but there's no way it should have passed up Thor 3 and wonder woman.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on April 08, 2019, 04:27:04 PM
Btw, I'm stunned as captain marvel passes up almost all movies as it also passes a billion dollars. I stand by my review, its not that good of a movie. It's ok, but there's no way it should have passed up Thor 3 and wonder woman.

"The Mule" was just another version of "Gran Torino". The gruff racist learns to be a better person.

Now, as to the success of "Captain Marvel", since when did a movie have to be good to get good box office? "Wonder Woman" was a movie with some excellent scenes, but overall, was pretty insipid. "Thor: Ragnarok" was fun, but also wandered all over the place, and while amusing, really was something you saw and quickly forgot about. So, indeed, most critics would agree with you- it's OK, but the lead character apparently lacks emotional range. Was this a decision by the director or actress, or a collaboration that decided that a female showing emotion was inherently "weak"? Who knows? Haven't seen it yet. As with almost all movies, when it comes to the budget cinema, sure, I'll give it a shot for $2.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 12, 2019, 06:15:56 PM
Shazam

A 14 y/o boy is granted superpowers by an aging wizard so that he can fight off a bad guy who controls seven demons.

I have to admit I slept through maybe a third of this.

It's a film for pre-teens who dream of being a teenager with superpowers. The jokes aren't funny, the situations contrived, the plot thin.

Wanna watch a movie for pre-teens? Pick Ferris Bueller or The Breakfast Club. Or The Princess Bride. Or Secondhand Lions.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 26, 2019, 07:39:23 AM
Avengers: Endgame

People ask me all the time, "How do you watch these movies without going to the theater?"

ok, maybe it's not all the time, maybe it was just once. And maybe it's not people, maybe it was my dog. But that's not the point, you can watch most movies for free at either 123moviesok.net or pudlocker.fyi. When you're making selections etc they will open a bunch of new tabs and new windows. Close them as soon as possible, like instantly, and after about five you'll get to start your movie.

End game wraps up the entire Marvel universe to date, pretty much all the open story lines are closed. This is part 2 of Infinity War, so of course you have to watch that first. Thanos has killed off half of all life in the universe, and our heroes are determined to restore these uncountable millions of trillions of breeding and eating creatures to life. As you've almost certainly heard by now, this involves time travel and a quite complicated plot. There's about eleventy-hundred characters, so a lot of them only get about three lines, but the Russo brothers do an admirable job of balancing plot, dialog and characters.

You might have the preconception that this movie would be non-stop fight scenes, but in fact there's really only one fight scene and it only last perhaps ten or fifteen minutes. Most of the movie is the superhero version of drama. The entire movie is a touch over three hours so pee before you start and have your popcorn and drinks all laid out.

The movie is very good, funny, tear-provoking (well, in most people, not me), and of course if you go in for this sort of thing it's a must see. Judging by the lines at the theaters, they're going to make a ton of money on this. Some guy in Wisconsin saw Captain Marvel 116 times, so one can only guess how many times he'll see this.

Curiously, we were kinda told Captain Marvel would make all the difference this time, but she was not a central player in the movie or the fight scene. There is a place where the women all gang up on Thanos, but they don't have any particularly more luck than the men. You gotta wonder, what's the point of superpowers if a dozen or so of you can't take down an 8 foot tall purple guy?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on April 26, 2019, 02:10:03 PM
Saw "Fighting With My Family". Unexpectedly good. They took a tired formula and gave it some juice. Yes, its a wrestling movie (probably the one Barton Fink should have written), but it has heart, very good performances, and solid direction. My wife and I both agreed:   thumbsup)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 03, 2019, 07:34:32 AM
Mission of Honor

A group of Polish pilots who escaped nazi Poland make their way to Britain, where they get themselves a squadron of planes and join in the battle of britain. Based on a true story. It's an ok movie, it didn't really grab me. But then I've never been a big WWII buff. If you are, and you like dog fight scenes, this is your movie. There's a bit of gratuitous s#x and a whole bunch of gratuitous violence. They didn't have the pill so the girls were not so cooperative as today.

Over the course of six months the poles drop 126 nazi planes to about 8 losses of their own.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 06, 2019, 08:34:27 AM
Destroyer

Nichol Kidman gives a very convincing performance as a burned out cop on a mission.

A few years ago she went under cover with a bunch of bad guys. Things went very wrong, and she went wrong too.

I can't say a lot about the plot because this is one of those movies with a couple of time tracks - the origin story unfolds at the same time as the consequences unfold. You're a bit confused at the start, but it all makes sense at the end.

It's reported that in a fight with Tom Cruise she said she was a real actor, he just ran around and shot people. Yah, this movie pretty much backs that up.

I liked it. Not the best movie of the year or nothin' like that, but it's ok for an evening.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 06, 2019, 09:17:11 PM
Downfall

This is the story of Hitler's last month or so. It's the source of that little video where Hitler is ranting, and they put in subtitles complaining about the Vikings choking or whatever. It's really quite a famous movie.

Downfall came out in 2004, it's not at all new. It's a German movie, filmed in German. I couldn't find one to stream with English subtitles so I bought a DVD for about $5 on EBay.

The movie was quite curious. I learned several things about Hitler and his people, but I also thought the movie dragged a bit. A lot of my friends are total WWII buffs, I'm sure they would love this movie. Me, I don't think I had a previous life where I died in WWII, so all these stories just don't really resonate with me.

We see Hitler refusing to give up even when it's really quite obvious that the Russians are just across the highway. We see the Germans around Hitler begging him to lead them to victory, a victory which from my American point of view was lost a couple years earlier when Hitler allowed the allies to bog him down in Greece for several months, then send his troops into Russia late in the year without proper winter gear. There's a lot of Germans who would rather kill their children and die rather than live without National Socialism (NAZI was the National Socialist party. They provided universal health care, free college education, job guarantees, living wages, really it was the progressive dream).

This is my second WWII flick this year, and I think I'm done for the year. Last year I watched Dunkirk, which was extremely highly rated but which I also think dragged. I just don't have the bug. BTW, Hitler wanted his armies to push through the english troops at Dunkirk, but his generals insisted they needed three days to resupply, and therefore left open a window for Churchill to rescue 300,000 of his men, half his army. Big mistake. Hitler called this one right. Those men came back later with US supplies and ammo and made a lot of trouble for him.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 07, 2019, 04:14:32 PM
There's a lot of Germans who would rather kill their children and die rather than live without National Socialism (NAZI was the National Socialist party. They provided universal health care, free college education, job guarantees, living wages, really it was the progressive dream).

Aacatually, national health care was brought in by Bismarck. The Nazis just continued the practice- though they demanded that "racial purity" meant that a lot of people who were institutionalized were murdered. Free college educaiton? Sure, but the educational system was meant to indoctrinate the populace in Nazi beliefs- especially "racial purity". Defintiely, the economy improved hugely under the Nazis, but as far as helping the workers? Hardly. The aim was to help the manufacturers. Please feel free to google the accuracy of these statements. But here is a sampling of what was found within seconds: https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/guides/zcj6y4j/revision/4
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 07, 2019, 08:51:13 PM
Germany has a different model of corporation. Helping the corporations is helping the workers.

And the NAZIs were socialists. Who hated jews. If we're going to trade homework assignments, why don't you find out why the Germans hated the jews. And it's not because Hitler said to.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 07, 2019, 08:57:24 PM
Arctic

Mads Michelson is an Acrtic worker who's plane crashed. He's in trouble. Then a helicopter finds him, and he's saved! 'cept the helo crashes, killing the pilot and leaving his wife all but dead. Now Mads is in trouble and has a near-death female to care for.

The entire movie has perhaps 100 words, all Mads talking to himself. It's actually pretty good. He seems, to my uneducated eyes, to pretty much know what he's doing, but when you're alone with little in the way of resources and freezing temps and a dying woman on your hands, you're in serious trouble.

It's kinda sorta similar to All is Lost, except in that one Redford was a really stupid sailor, so stupid even I could tell and I'm not a sailor.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 07, 2019, 10:00:36 PM
Germany has a different model of corporation. Helping the corporations is helping the workers.

And the NAZIs were socialists. Who hated jews. If we're going to trade homework assignments, why don't you find out why the Germans hated the jews. And it's not because Hitler said to.

The Nazis were socialist because they used the title in the name of their party? Then apparently every country that uses or used the name "Democratic" in the title for their repressive state were democracies? Or run by American Democrats? Doesn't stand up. And, yes, there was a strong strain of anti-Semitism in Germany. As well as most of the rest of Europe. Nazis also hated communnists, (real) socialists, and anyone they considered to be inferior, including the Romani (gypsies). The film itself was generally excellent, and Bruno Ganz's portrayal of Hitler was spectacular. Was your version subtitled? By the bye, went to see "Hitler: The Last Ten Days"  my ex and her parents when it came out (1973). After the movie, my ex's dad opined that it was too bad Hitler didn't finish killing all the Jews. He wasn't joking.   
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 08, 2019, 05:40:24 AM
Thus is my f ing movie reviews. Take your politics somewhere else.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 08, 2019, 11:22:57 AM
Thus is my f ing movie reviews. Take your politics somewhere else.

OK. Your thread, your site, your rules.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 10, 2019, 04:06:04 PM
Vertigo

Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock's best film, Vertigo was made in 1958. I had never seen a Hitchcock film, I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

Special effects are, um, quaint. Our modern eyes pick up the blue screen easily, and the graphics are, well, lets just say historical. There's a break in movies, everything before Indiana Jones was paced slowly, glacially by today's standards, pretty much everything after is turbocharged and shifted up two gears. When 2001 came out I saw it in the theater and thought it was quite exciting. Today it still holds up as a great movie, but it could be edited down to 45 minutes and you wouldn't miss much. The special effects were a girl walking upside down and 12 minutes that were drawn on a full color etch-a-sketch. It could be combined with 2010, together they would make one good modern movie. I leave it to you to decide if that means the old pacing was too slow, or modern people have the attention span of chipmunks on meth. Could be both. . .

That said, Vertigo was actually quite enjoyable. Jimmy Stewart gave a good performance, although apparently Hitchcock didn't agree, as previous to this film he was Alfred's fave and after this file they never worked together again. At the time it was slightly scandalous that Stewart was twice Novac's age, and some thought Jimmy seemed, well, old and tired. Actually he kinda did.

Jimmy is terrified of heights, an important part of the plot and ultimately the title of the movie. Jimmy is hired by a friend to tail the friend's wife, Novac, 'cause he says she's being taken over by the spirit of her great-grandmother and behaving weirdly. Jimmy tails her and finds things extremely confusing. Kim Novac did a great job playing (sorta) two parts.

The movie unfolds in a completely unexpected direction with a quite surprising ending. It's said you can tell a lot about Hitchcock's fears and loves from this film - I dunno about that, I'm better at physics than reading director's childhoods from their movies.

If this thread has a moral, it's "movies are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get." This chocolate was nice.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 10, 2019, 06:23:09 PM
"Vertigo" is now the best film ever made, according to some critics polls. Whatever. He was at his height during this time, with "North by Northwest", the remake of "The Man Who Knew Too Much", "Psycho" (which I saw at the local movie theater when I was 10), "Rear Window" and even "The Birds". There is a lot to make "Vertigo" so good- going onto YouTube and typing the name into the search box will get you a lot of hits. And the guy never won an Oscar for best director.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on May 14, 2019, 11:00:51 PM
Vertigo

Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock's best film, Vertigo was made in 1958. I had never seen a Hitchcock film, I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

Special effects are, um, quaint. Our modern eyes pick up the blue screen easily, and the graphics are, well, lets just say historical. There's a break in movies, everything before Indiana Jones was paced slowly, glacially by today's standards, pretty much everything after is turbocharged and shifted up two gears. When 2001 came out I saw it in the theater and thought it was quite exciting. Today it still holds up as a great movie, but it could be edited down to 45 minutes and you wouldn't miss much. The special effects were a girl walking upside down and 12 minutes that were drawn on a full color etch-a-sketch. It could be combined with 2010, together they would make one good modern movie. I leave it to you to decide if that means the old pacing was too slow, or modern people have the attention span of chipmunks on meth. Could be both. . .

That said, Vertigo was actually quite enjoyable. Jimmy Stewart gave a good performance, although apparently Hitchcock didn't agree, as previous to this film he was Alfred's fave and after this file they never worked together again. At the time it was slightly scandalous that Stewart was twice Novac's age, and some thought Jimmy seemed, well, old and tired. Actually he kinda did.

Jimmy is terrified of heights, an important part of the plot and ultimately the title of the movie. Jimmy is hired by a friend to tail the friend's wife, Novac, 'cause he says she's being taken over by the spirit of her great-grandmother and behaving weirdly. Jimmy tails her and finds things extremely confusing. Kim Novac did a great job playing (sorta) two parts.

The movie unfolds in a completely unexpected direction with a quite surprising ending. It's said you can tell a lot about Hitchcock's fears and loves from this film - I dunno about that, I'm better at physics than reading director's childhoods from their movies.

If this thread has a moral, it's "movies are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get." This chocolate was nice.


Checkout North by Northwest and Rear Window. For a laugh, High Anxiety, Mel Brooks parody of Hitchcock films.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 15, 2019, 02:40:35 PM
Finally saw "Us" because it came to the budget cinema- less than $2 to see this movie. Well, I went home and immediately went to YouTube to have an analysis of the film help me understand the film. It's a horror movie, but mainly allegorical with a twist ending. Peele is an interesting director/writer, but he may be getting a bit too self-important. This movie was alternatively scary, but also confusing and was too involved in subtly analyzing the contemporary American social structure. But at the end, I was going, what did I just see here? Is it important, or just pretentious? I'll give Peele the benefit of a doubt, but the weirdness factor in this film is about an 8/10 (to see a film that is definitely "off the rails", check out "Holy Motors". On a weirdness scale, it scores a solid 11. Or maybe 12.)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 19, 2019, 09:42:01 PM
John wick 3: parabellum

More. More senseless. More gratuitous. More violence.

John was an assassin, but got out cause he got one of Brady's leftovers. But then some Russian punk stole his car and shot his dog.  So, lots of running around and finally he kills the Russian punk. That's part 1.

Then daddy comes after him.  Lotsa mayhem, finally he kills daddy. But he kills him in the hotel where business can't be conducted. Wick is now png. That's part 2.

Now the entire criminal underworld is after him. Every assassin in the entire world wants wick and the $15m bounty. He had to kill a seemingly endless string of thugs. That's part 3. I've left out stunningly little of the plot.

The fight scenes weren't even that good mostly.  And, i gotta say, when you're a part of the thug army and you see hundreds of your buddy's bite the dust, with the one single target more or less unhurt, don't you check out at some point?

OTOH, it did knock avengers out of the top spot, so that's something.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 26, 2019, 07:30:12 AM
The Man Without A Face - 1993

Starring and directed by a very young Mel Gibson, based on the book by Isabelle Holland.

Chuck Norstadt is being raised by an older sister who hates him and a narcissistic mother who's main skill in life is getting married - by the end of the movie she's on husband #6. Chuck *really* wants to go to military school and get away from these toxic, um, persons reminiscent of female dogs. But he can't pass the entrance exams. Chuck lives on an island off the coast of Maine; elsewhere on the island lives Mel, "the freak," the man without a face. Mel was severely scarred in a fire. Chuck finds out that Mel used to be a teacher in a NE prep school, and asks Mel to tutor him in geometry and latin and all the bizarre stuff you're supposed to know to be an officer and a gentleman, so that you can go to a foreign country and shoot people, thereby turning them into democracy-loving capitalists. Mel turns out to have his own set of complicated issues related to the fire that scarred him up; this is a redemption movie. He also has a great dog. Put a dog into a significant role in a movie and you can't miss. Also the movie is shot in Penobscot Bay, which is where the Red October gets hidden in the book, so Sean Connery would have sailed his russian sub right by Mel's house. How can you not love it?

I should admit to a certain identification here - I had an older sister who hated me, a narcissistic mother, and my ex-wife is currently working on marrying what will be husband #7. That said, this is a really excellent movie, great for date night.

Just see it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 27, 2019, 09:33:27 AM
Life as a House

2001.

Kevin Kline is an architect who finds out he's dying of cancer and realizes he hates his job. He's inherited a broken down shack overlooking a cliff on the ocean in Palos Verdes (LA) (worth $$$$, even broken down). He's divorced, and his 17 y/o son (Hayden Christensen, the young Darth Vador) is getting in serious trouble - drugs, etc. Mom decides she can't handle the son so she gives him to Kevin, who decides he's going to use his remaining days to tear down the shack and build a proper house there, and in the process perhaps rescue his son. He's surrounded by rich dysfunctional people (the cliff / ocean / Palos Verdes thing), and building his house turns into a rather convoluted process. Hayden, who was far too whiny to play Darth, is excellent here complaining non-stop about how no body likes him, everybody hates him, he's gonna go eat worms. Or pills. Or something.

It's another redemption movie, and it's excellent. Amazon, DirecTv, Vudu, Netflix. Or the usual streaming sources.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 05, 2019, 07:15:55 AM
The Shipping News - 2001

Kevin Spacy is a man who was raised by an abusive father and came out pretty useless. Cate Blanchet, queen of the elves, plays a slut who hooks onto him and winds up having a daughter. THen she goes back to her normal ways of drinking and slutting around. Everything is awful, then everyone dies - Kevin's mom and dad and Cate. Now he's completely lost. His aunt Agnes shows up and convinces him the solution to his problems is to pack up the daughter and come with him to New Foundland to the ancestral home. There he learns of his roots - for example, his grandfather, who died at age 12 - "Then he can't be my grandfather!" "You don't know new foundlanders!"

It's another redemption story, and excellent. Directed by Lasse Halstrom, who's never made a bad movie. Amazon, DirecTv, Hulu, Vudu, and the usual free streaming sites.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 06, 2019, 07:34:31 AM
Aladdin (2019)

Live action version of the Disney animated film. Same plot, same characters, same songs, mostly the same lines. Will Smith, one of my all-time favorite actors, does his very best but he's simply not Robin Williams. I loved him in I Robot, MIB, Enemy of the State, Focus, Hitch and Independence Day, but watching him try to be a muscular rapper version of Robin is simply too tall a cliff to climb. The Aladdin character is pretty good; Jasmine seems quite one dimensional (a typical liberal, she starts the movie by stealing bread from a baker to give to some children 'cause they're hungry); even the bad guy is disappointing. You can enjoy a cartoon who's over the top stupidly evil, but a real person doesn't work as well. Jasmine has a good voice, the other singers are so-so.

See it if you must, but I expect there's a good chance you'll be disappointed, and your grandchildren would rather watch the cartoon.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 06, 2019, 09:23:23 PM
Girl, Interrupted

A 1999 movie which more or less got Angelina Jolie's career started. In the 1960s Suzanna Kayson spent 18 months in a mental hospital for borderline personality disorder and a suicide attempt. She wrote a book about this experience, and the movie is based on the book. So to some more or less significant degree this movie is autobiographical.

Winona Ryder plays Suzanna, and checks herself into a hospital where she meets Lisa (Angelina), a compelling sociopath. The two of them spend a bunch of time fighting the system until things get completely out of control. Whoopi Goldberg and Vanessa Redgrave also play important parts. The acting is quite good, especially Angelina who is completely convincing as a sociopath. Some claim the plot is predictable, but I didn't find it so. This is one of those movies where us normal folks rate it higher than the critics.

It's a movie about crazy people, some trying to heal, some too broken to heal, some embracing their mental illness. And it includes the poem by Dorothy Parker, Resumé:

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

If you like psychological drama this is very good. I mean, how can we not like a film that quotes Dorothy?

I sortof have a girlfriend so I'm not supposed to be watching movies with lasers and special effects.

Women.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 06, 2019, 09:44:14 PM
Mark, beware if she insists you watch "The View" and "Ellen". Or "Oprah" reruns.  :P

Seriously, no lasers or CGI? That eliminates about 95% of blockbusters nowadays.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 08, 2019, 10:12:54 PM
Nobody's Fool - 1994

One of Paul Newman's last films. With Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Nobody's Fool is about Sully, who has lived a rather wasted life and now in his old age rents a room from his 8th grade english teacher (Jessica Tandy). He has ongoing fights with Bruce Willis and Philip Hoffman, and then his estranged son and previously unknown grandchildren come to town. This gives Sully one last chance to turn his life around.

All the acting was excellent - no surprise there, I think the cast includes four Oscar winners. The movie is funny, engaging and entertaining. One wouldn't call it particularly deep, but in this case that's a good thing. Available on Amazon, DirecTv, Hulu, and the usual free sites.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 09, 2019, 12:22:46 PM
Mark, beware if she insists you watch "The View" and "Ellen". Or "Oprah" reruns.  :P

Seriously, no lasers or CGI? That eliminates about 95% of blockbusters nowadays.

Last night we watched Atavar. She said, "Oh, great, a cartoon." Turns out she really liked the movie. I said, "Good cartoon, huh?"

btw, James Camaron studied physics in college, and I have no particular issues with Atavar. Curiously, he took physics the same place I learned calculus, but a year ahead of me. There are no huge gaping violations of the laws of God and Man.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 09, 2019, 05:35:37 PM
Last night we watched Atavar. She said, "Oh, great, a cartoon." Turns out she really liked the movie. I said, "Good cartoon, huh?"

btw, James Camaron studied physics in college, and I have no particular issues with Atavar. Curiously, he took physics the same place I learned calculus, but a year ahead of me. There are no huge gaping violations of the laws of God and Man.

She liked "Avatar"? Good. because there are another four sequels in the pipeline.

https://www.vulture.com/2019/05/avatar-sequel-announcements-timeline-james-cameron.html

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: dannobanano on June 09, 2019, 06:24:44 PM
Not surprised there’s more planned now that Disney has the rights.

They love those “franchise” movies.

Btw......really enjoyed the Pandora land at Disney World earlier this year.
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/animal-kingdom/pandora-world-of-avatar/

Now want to go back for the Star Wars theme park. But not for a few years. Let the hysteria settle a bit.  ;D
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: claymaker on June 14, 2019, 11:22:31 AM
Girl, Interrupted is a pretty good movie. Sort of like Fight Club meets Shutter Island.

John Wick was awesome. Love Keanu and John Wick.

Avengers Endgame was okay. Infinity War was legitimately a really good movie, so it had a lot to live up to for me. Didn't disappoint or wow me.

I can't believe you paid money to see Captain Marvel.  stirpot)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 14, 2019, 06:25:13 PM
Girl, Interrupted is a pretty good movie. Sort of like Fight Club meets Shutter Island.

John Wick was awesome. Love Keanu and John Wick.

Avengers Endgame was okay. Infinity War was legitimately a really good movie, so it had a lot to live up to for me. Didn't disappoint or wow me.

I can't believe you paid money to see Captain Marvel.  stirpot)

Saw "Captain Marvel" and "Shazam". Total cost for both movies was less than $6. Budget cinemas rock. The critics pretty much nailed "CM"- very mediocre; the fight scenes weren't thrilling, Brie Larson came off as smug and unlikeable. My first comment to my wife after seeing it was "Wonder Woman was better." At least the first two acts were very good; the third act was just stupid. But at least it had some very good set pieces, and there was good chemistry between Chris Pine and Gal Gadot.

"Shazam" had a really, really good heart and wonderful intentions. Mark Strong was wasted, but Zachary Levi was just outstanding. The problem was there just wasn't any well defined menace. So, Mark Strong is going to be evil? How would this affect people? A lot left off the table, and instead is left to our imagination.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 16, 2019, 08:24:31 AM
I can't believe you paid money to see Captain Marvel.  stirpot)

In the last two years I've paid about $130 to MoviePass and watched about 135 movies. I haven't paid directly for a ticket in all that time. Now I stream movies. I most especially don't want my money going to Disney, who I consider more insidious than CNN.

(https://scontent-ort2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/64318782_886163475079312_5585567597937557504_n.jpg?_nc_cat=100&_nc_oc=AQldoD3QOhPotCTScm1xokvKtN32DRoAFwiCRP1TKWa2ZLNEbpjg6f6XYpmU0s6Gfug&_nc_ht=scontent-ort2-1.xx&oh=707d260f632eb80bebb1d5d1ef8af665&oe=5D90D9F4)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 16, 2019, 08:45:36 AM
Rocketman

This is the story of Elton John. He's worth $500 million, but he wants us to know how rough his childhood was.

I liked this movie ok. It's a musical - every now and then everyone on screen breaks into song and dance. Apparently it's the year for biopics on gay music stars. I liked this one a lot better than I liked Bohemian Rhapsody, but I must admit that might be because I like Elton John a lot better than I like Freddie Mercury.

Kee Kee Dee appears in the movie for about 90 seconds, which is roughly proportional to how long she appears in Elton's life. There was another woman whom he married - Renate Blauel - I was completely unaware of her, but this was in the mid-80s and I was unaware of most everything for that decade.

According to this movie, Elton was a musical prodigy - the movie exaggerates a bit, but in fact he was extremely talented even when as young as 5. It's also claimed in the movie that he "fucked everything that moved and took every drug known to man." I expect that's true.

Elton was played by Taron Egerton, recently the star of The Kingsmen. He did a good job of acting, and as far as he could manage his singing was decent. Unfortunately, Elton is a high tenor and Taron is missing the better part of an octive of Elton's range. Other singers in the movie were actually quite good. There's one scene where Taron is playing Elton at perhaps age 17 - his mother and grandmother are somewhat skeptical of his choice of music as a career, and he sits at the piano and plays and sings Your Song, which, of course, leaves them in tears. Women can't resist a man who sings to them, even if the man sings badly. In fact, my personal formula:

1. Walk a dog in public. The women will come to you.

2. When you find one you like, make her laugh.

3. Take her home. Sing to her.

4. Then cook her dinner.

That's it, you own her heart.

I dunno, this wasn't a very well written review, but remember I started out saying overall I liked it. The good parts of the movie outshown the self-indulgent parts.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 16, 2019, 08:53:50 PM
Dark Phoenix

The latest X-Men movie. This is a retelling of the story of Jean Grey - you may recall in the 3rd X-Men movie, Last Stand 2006. In this version the X-Men go to space to rescue a bunch of astronauts marooned by a solar flare. The opening scenes are quite promising, we really feel like this is a race into a great movie. The rest of the movie manages to grab the baton after a fantastic first leg and a solid handoff, and run into the infield, circle around for a while, then fall to the grass dizzy and breathless.

Turns out we learn it wasn't a solar flare, it was the phoenix, a power that "created life in the universe" and "killed off a bunch of planets," "the most powerful force in the galaxy." Ok, for the record, with our telescopes we can see about a trillion galaxies, and there's good reason to believe that we can only see a miniscule fraction of the entire universe, so the most powerful force in our galaxy is like the biggest grain of sand on Pensacola beach. However, this is a great chance for Hollywood to explain all of life and the universe with a mysterious force that is contained more or less happily within a single person's body, so no need for God or confusing evolution, it's all just a little golden cloud. Which, among the trillions of galaxies and hundreds of billions of planets in our galaxy, just happens to be hanging out around Earth. Kindof like Jesus coming back and appearing on some nearly uninhabited south pacific island with no radio or internet, using his god-like powers to play pool with a bunch of coconuts. 500 years ago Copernicus taught us that Earth is not the center of the universe; 100 years ago Hubble taught us that we're just a little tiny backwater in a huge universe. Marvel hasn't managed to get the news.

There's a lot of hand-wringing of the various X-Men as they try do decide if they can rescue Jean or need to kill her; this is really rather hilarious, as it seems she now controls the force that created life in the universe, so it really doesn't seem like a bunch of weirdos in latex and neoprene are going to be successful taking her down. Also, just for comic relief, there's some aliens also chasing after her with a confusing agenda, but they're pretty sure if they kill all Jean's friends and beat the crap out of her, then she'll help them achieve their goals.

If you've watched the previous eleventy-fourteen X-Men films, you can at least keep up with who's feeling what, since you sorta know the back stories. If this is your first X-Men film, well, good luck. We also get the obligatory shot at men, when Raven points out that lately it's always the women saving the day so maybe they should be called the X-Women.

Magneto is dragged into the film halfway through, and predictably changes sides a couple of times. Eric hears that Jean killed Raven and he goes ballistic - 15 years ago in the first X-Men films Raven was his sweety, but in this film his emotions just appear fully formed. Sorta like life in the Marvel universe. Speaking of predictable, there were several moments where I finished the characters lines before they did.

Overall, it feels like Fox just hurried a film into and out of production to cash in before Disney takes over completely. There's really nothing about this film that's polished or insightful. The first three films wrapped up a series and were pretty good. They were followed by a reboot, when we got First Class and Days of Future Past, which were pretty decent. Apocalypse more or less collapsed under its own weight; this film never seems to get off its knees to its feet, so the collapse at least happens from a pretty low height.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 21, 2019, 05:47:35 AM
The Accountant 2016

Ben Affleck is an autistic accountant assassin. JK Simmons is a treasury agent who's determined to track him down.

As an action movie, this one is somewhat predictable - the usual corporate bad guys going after everyone who might know what they've been up to, hiring a bunch of thugs as killers and enforcers. The good guy, who also happens to do accounting for drug lords and work the occasional assassination job, is out to protect himself and the innocent bookkeeper who uncovered the money laundering issues. If you're looking for a shoot-em-up this is a decent movie.

What's different is that there are several autistics in the movie - as one reviewer put it, Rainman meets Batman. The depiction of autistics is surprisingly accurate. I've recommended the movie to several autistics, and all loved it. On the autistic side of the movie there are several surprising plot twists and turns. The various reviewers, all being NTs, of course miss the significance of this, thinking it's just more weird stuff about weird people. If you want a peek into Sheldon's world, the best I know is Rainman, The Accountant, and the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. The book, btw, is about the real "young sheldon." It's far more realistic than the stupid TV comedy.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 21, 2019, 09:40:41 AM
"The Accountant" is definitely worth seeing. My wife was a Special Ed teacher, and she also appreciated the depiction of autism. The "self stimming" (stimulating), which can take many forms. But once again, the autistic person had a particular skill. This would be more of an Asberger's Syndrome child. But I've heard that it's been decided to simply streamline the spectrum. Another case of academics having to find something to do when they run out of ideas. Just like education- every few years, the "new, best way" is implemented, only to be replaced a few years later with a much different "new, best way." Just teach the kids, have a lot less mandatory state compelled testing and move along. In Texas, the state school board doesn't have a single educator or former educator on the it. Just a bunch of political hack idealogues who want to impose their view of the world on the upcoming generation.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 27, 2019, 06:35:30 PM
Men in Black International

It's impersonation month. While Will Smith was trying (unsuccessfully) to be Robin Williams, Chris Hemsworth (Thor) was trying (unsuccessfully) to be Will Smith. With Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie) trying (unsuccessfully) to be Tommy Lee Jones. This movie lacked the imagination, spontaneity and humor of the previous three. If this had been the first in the series, the series would have died a quick and painless death. What we have is lazy screenwriting, lazy directing, and mostly lazy performing. Tessa Thompson tries desperately to carry the film, but ultimately fails.

I don't think I can even recommend this when it comes out on DVD.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 08, 2019, 02:06:44 PM
Real Genius (1985)

Comedy. Val Kilmer plays Chris Knight, a burned out 20 y/o genius with a severe attitude. This is Sheldon breaking bad. He's finishing up his degree at "Pacific Tech," 'cause they weren't allowed to call the school Caltech. William Atherton, the bureaucrat from Ghostbusters (Yes Mr.Mayor, it's true, this man has no dick) plays the bad guy here - he needs Chris to build him a 5 megawatt laser so he can give it to the military to vaporize bad guys from space. About half the stuff in the movie actually happened. Including gaming the sweepstakes, 'cept in the real world it was McDonald's they cleaned out. The lasers were all done by my friend Dan Erwin, so all the laser stuff is real, and all the laser talk is real. If you care. The interior shots at pacific tech, that's all pretty much real too. The part with the gorgeous girls from the beautician college coming by for a party, yah, that stuff never happens at Caltech.

My girlfriend couldn't stop laughing.

Just see it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on July 24, 2019, 07:05:41 PM
First man

A pretty good film. No where near as good as Apollo 13, but pretty good. Thev story of the path to the first moon landing.

One of the parts that I found interesting is that my father's generation, the generation raised in the depression who fought WWII, was raised to show no emotion, and sure enough the astronauts showed very little emotion. It was clear that this drove their wives nuts.

Not a great film for young kids, they would think it dragged


Just watched this. Good movie. Amazing to me that they were able to go to the moon with 1960's technology. You Iphone can probably do more things than the computer on the LEM. Just amazing how many things nearly went wrong on those missions.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on July 25, 2019, 08:43:06 AM
First man

A pretty good film. No where near as good as Apollo 13, but pretty good. Thev story of the path to the first moon landing.

One of the parts that I found interesting is that my father's generation, the generation raised in the depression who fought WWII, was raised to show no emotion, and sure enough the astronauts showed very little emotion. It was clear that this drove their wives nuts.

Not a great film for young kids, they would think it dragged


Just watched this. Good movie. Amazing to me that they were able to go to the moon with 1960's technology. You Iphone can probably do more things than the computer on the LEM. Just amazing how many things nearly went wrong on those missions.

"First Man" was about just that- the first man to set foot on the Moon. It was more about Neil Armstrong and his struggles as a human being, and less interested in the landing itself. There was criticism that the planting of the flag was not a prominent part of the film. This wasn't an exercise in jingoism- it was about the problems one man had with dealing with his emotions. Though the parts about the lead up and ultimately the trip to the Moon were gripping and really, really scary. My first thought about the movie- best space film since "Apollo 11".
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on July 25, 2019, 11:48:16 PM
First man

A pretty good film. No where near as good as Apollo 13, but pretty good. Thev story of the path to the first moon landing.

One of the parts that I found interesting is that my father's generation, the generation raised in the depression who fought WWII, was raised to show no emotion, and sure enough the astronauts showed very little emotion. It was clear that this drove their wives nuts.

Not a great film for young kids, they would think it dragged


Just watched this. Good movie. Amazing to me that they were able to go to the moon with 1960's technology. You Iphone can probably do more things than the computer on the LEM. Just amazing how many things nearly went wrong on those missions.

"First Man" was about just that- the first man to set foot on the Moon. It was more about Neil Armstrong and his struggles as a human being, and less interested in the landing itself. There was criticism that the planting of the flag was not a prominent part of the film. This wasn't an exercise in jingoism- it was about the problems one man had with dealing with his emotions. Though the parts about the lead up and ultimately the trip to the Moon were gripping and really, really scary. My first thought about the movie- best space film since "Apollo 11".

Do you mean Apollo 13?  I agree.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 06, 2019, 11:16:18 PM
Spider man: far from home

I was a bit less than Luke warm on captain marvel, and I'm Luke warm on the new Spider-Man. The first half of the film was a bunch of high school drama, but not even close to as good as if John Hughes had done it. The second half shows mysterio appear as a good guy, then, out of the blue, he had a scene where he all but talks straight to the camera and explains that he's all lies and secretly a bad guy. They might as well have had Ryan Reynolds put on his red leather and talk to the camera. Crummy writing. Lazy writing.  They even have an excuse, they had to wrap up the plot lines from endgame but they weren't allowed to read the script. I guess you can't write a good movie if you can't first read the script from a different movie. Then the last act is pretty good, the movie finishes well. Finally.

Personally I think marvel is losing it. The next couple of movies will be key, they're going to have mostly all new people, characters I've never heard of, and they're gong to have to catch my attention. We'll see.

I watched it with my girlfriend who had not seen a marvel movie before and I found I had to explain a lot to her. The previous five spider man movies were not like that, they stood alone.

I think they peaked on the last Thor movie, its been accelerating downhill since. They had an excuse for screwing up captain marvel, it had to be all diverse And feminist and lbgtqfryhsw#@&%. How do you write a good interstellar super hero movie when you also have to explain to all us deplorables how stupid and fascist we are? But Spider-Man? How do you screw up Spider-Man?

Imho.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on September 10, 2019, 01:40:30 PM
THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (review from Rotten Tomatoes)

They may look like the puppets your kids see on Sesame Street, made of colorful felt with sweet faces and kind, googly eyes. But be warned: The characters in The Happytime Murders aren't here to teach your kids their ABCs and 1-2-3s. They're too busy having s*x, drinking in hot tubs and starring in p*rn videos. And they're brought to you by the letter F, over and over again. That's the gimmick in this extremely hard-R comedy: Seemingly wholesome characters take part in unspeakably unwholesome activities. It's a vaguely amusing idea and not much more. The Happytime Murders is a one-joke movie, and that joke gets beaten into the ground (as do several characters, people and puppet alike). Among the human actors in this raunchy film-noir send-up are Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, and Elizabeth Banks, all of whom are game for anything.


Hmmm, disappointing, was looking forward to this one. I liked the previews. Guess I’ll wait for cable on this one.

Finally watched this one on cable with the wife. Made it about 1/2 way through, a few chuckles but mostly stupid. Had a lot of potential but mostly a waste of time.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 10, 2019, 04:51:46 PM
Just saw "Crawl". Some on line reviewers had said it was a "good summer popcorn movie". Nope. Moron father in Florida decides it's a good idea to fix up his old family house which is in the path of a Category 5 hurricane. On a lake. Full of alligators. People have seen this storm coming for days, evacuation has been ordered, but moron father decides "Nope, this is a good time to do some repairs." So moron daughter decides to drive into the worst of the hurricane because she wants to check up on dad, who's not answering his phone. Then she gets an even better idea: stop by dad's apartment and bring the family dog! Then ignore emergency workers who are preventing people from going into the area. Yup. Morons. SPOILER: The dog is the only one of the three who comes out unscathed, though it does get wet. "Crawl" was crap.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 03, 2019, 06:56:21 AM
Mark, have you stopped watching movies? I miss your insight. thumbsup)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 07, 2019, 06:03:30 PM
Sorry, movie pass died and I'm back to running my business, plus working on starting another. I'm not watching a lot of movies these days. Those I am watching are older, like The Big Lebowski which I had heard about for decades, but which left my flat. Those Coen brothers, they're quit hit or miss.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on October 07, 2019, 07:49:21 PM
Sorry, movie pass died and I'm back to running my business, plus working on starting another. I'm not watching a lot of movies these days. Those I am watching are older, like The Big Lebowski which I had heard about for decades, but which left my flat. Those Coen brothers, they're quit hit or miss.

You didn't like "The Big Lebowski"? All I can say is, "Dude...."
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 08, 2019, 12:27:46 AM
Sorry, movie pass died and I'm back to running my business, plus working on starting another. I'm not watching a lot of movies these days. Those I am watching are older, like The Big Lebowski which I had heard about for decades, but which left my flat. Those Coen brothers, they're quit hit or miss.

They seem to be loved or hated.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 09, 2019, 05:22:12 AM
Sorry, movie pass died and I'm back to running my business, plus working on starting another. I'm not watching a lot of movies these days. Those I am watching are older, like The Big Lebowski which I had heard about for decades, but which left my flat. Those Coen brothers, they're quit hit or miss.

Sorry to hear that but I wish you great luck and huge success with your ventures. :)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 17, 2019, 05:36:18 AM
Anyone seen “El Camino”? The wife and I loved Breaking Bad. I thought the movie was OK but not great.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 27, 2019, 06:44:19 AM
Toy Story 4:

More adventures of Woody and Buzz and Bo Peep.

Woody has moved on to a new child. Bo Peep is living on the streets. Buzz is, well, Buzz. Kid makes a stupid little toy out of a spork in kindergarten, loves the toy, the toy is completely brain-damaged and gets lost. Buzz has a big adventure getting the toy back including running into some surprisingly scary Chucky dolls.

I thought it was derivative, not nearly as good as the first (or second), but your grandchildren will like it. However, they prefer watching a movie they've already seen 14 times, so I don't know why you're looking for something new.

Pixar could make a movie about leaves and it would get good review.

Actually, there was a movie made about leaves, and it did get good reviews. The Blair Witch Project.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on November 02, 2019, 05:52:48 AM
Joker:

I expected this would be a strange movie. It was far stranger than that.

We meet Arthur Fleck, a hopeless and rather disturbed man. He's some indeterminate age, perhaps 30 or so, lives with his mother, and is slightly employed as a clown for hire. His mother is not an invalid, but he makes her dinner in bed and gives her baths. Later we learn that her mental health is even worse than his. His mother told him she had an affair with Thomas Wayne, so Arthur's father is a gazillionaire but he lives pennyless in a slum.

In some alternate Batman stories it's Bruce who gets killed in the alley and his father Thomas turns into Batman; a very dark, angry and homicidal Batman. You could easily see this movie's Thomas Wayne turning very dark, he's not a nice guy.

Several scenes in this movie exist only in Joker's mind, but they're not flagged in any way as psychotic breaks. You'll have to stay on your toes and keep in mind that Arthur is a complete weirdo and no decent, reasonably cute self-respecting single mom is gonna fall for him.

Unsurprisingly Arthur winds up in a downward spiral which is shared by the entire city of Gotham - a spiral caused by a few rich people who manipulate money and the system to the detriment of everyone else, not completely unlike what Wall Street is doing to the US today. By the end of the film Gotham is consumed by riots and Arthur has become the Joker, with several twists and turns along the way. Predictably Robert Di Niro winds up one of his victims, one of the best points of the movie imho - Di Niro would never work again if it were up to me, the man is a complete pig.

Joaquin Phoenix is simply marvelous in this very dark and very weird character study.

Will you like it? I think, like me, when it's all over you'll say, "Wow. What was that?" Definitely not for kids. And not a date night movie. And not a superhero movie - there's no heroes here and no super powers, no one on the side of good and decency, no happy ending. This is a story about the fall of a city due to the unbridled greed of a privileged few, led on the way down by a psychotic self-destructive madman.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on November 02, 2019, 08:52:56 PM
Ad Astra

Brad Pitt is an astronaut who is unable to feel emotions. He's estranged from his wife, Liv Taylor (who, imho, could make a dead man sit up and beg). Brad's father (Tommy Lee Jones) went off on a mission to Neptune, abandoning Brad and his mother 13 years ago. Brad was told he was dead. Tommy (Dad) is out there "past the heliopause" looking for signs of ETs. (The heliopause is considerably further out than the orbit of Neptune, about four times as far.) Tommy gets high-res pictures of lotsa planets orbiting other stars, which, seriously, those pictures are never going to happen from this far away. And he concludes, based on a few dozen pictures, that there's no other life in the universe - a trillion galaxies, a hundred billion planets in each galaxy, but a few dozen photos and he knows now that we're alone, alone, alone.

But now it turns out Dad isn't dead, he's still out there. His little anti-matter power unit threatens the entire solar system, 'cause that's how we build space ships, they get motors that can destroy entire planets. Makes you wonder what Chinese nuclear missiles can do.

Brad hops around the solar system and eventually makes his way to Neptune where he confronts dad and sets things straight.

I guess this is an interesting psycho-drama. I didn't particularly find it so, but I'm admittedly a bit blind to some of these themes. It's told against a backdrop of moon bases which have pirates that try to hijack travelers, and mars bases that have weird politics, and space ships that bop around the solar system like little ubers taking you home from the airport, with no regard whatsoever for orbital mechanics or energy conservation or any of those trivial little things. It's gonna take Elon about 18 months to get to Mars, and that's waiting a year or more for a favorable planetary alignment. Brad and crew do it on demand in 19 days. It takes several years to get to Neptune, Brad does this in a few days too. Bottom line: the science in this picture completely sucks. Even the Enterprise can't destroy Earth from Neptune's orbit. But Tommy's experiment can. (I gotta say, with anti-matter floating around in these quantities, I gotta assume that Israel is a big hole in the desert, but we never hear about that either.)

I found the movie unengaging and annoying. In fairness Brad does a good job of acting, Tommy does too, Liv just stands around and looks good but she's pretty exceptional at that. Perhaps you won't find it annoying, but that still leaves unengaging.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on November 04, 2019, 08:47:13 PM
Hobbs and Shaw

A spin off from Fast and Furious. Hobbs -  Dwayne Johnson  - and Shaw - Jason Statham - reprise their roles from Fast and Furious. They're called up, there's a synthetic virus that will kill everyone in the entire world. It's an airborn version of Ebola. Idris Alba is the bad guy, he's a computer enhanced soldier who wants the virus to kill off most of humanity and replace us with something better - borg, I guess. The plot borrows heavily from various Mission Impossible films - the cute girl shoots the virus into herself to help get it away from the bad guys. Idris has a motorcycle that's more or less a transformer and he's basically spiderman - 3x reflexes, 3x strength, that sort of thing. Plus the computer display in his eyes that keeps him on top of everything. And he's got his own armored attack helicopter. Hard to see how he fails.

It's a typical F&F movie, lotsa action, fast cars, everybody has a nitrous button, destruction left and right, and in the end family beats out everything.

We wind up on the island of Samoa, Hobb's home, where preparations are made for a few days for unarmed civilians to hold off a massive attack from the heavily armed bad guys to get the girl and the virus. So they also steal from The Seven Samurai / The Magnificent Seven. At least they're stealing from good films. Too bad they don't steal the excellent sound tracks too - it's been 60 years and we can all still hum along with The Magnificent Seven theme song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XDB7GMnbUQ

I guess it's a good film, if you like this sort of thing; a bit mindless and predictable, but then they say in all of literature there's only seven basic plots, so how much can you expect?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on November 04, 2019, 09:05:13 PM
Batwoman

A new series on the CW, it seems to be happening in the Flash universe. Batman is chasing some bad guys; a mom and her twin daughters Kate and Beth Kane are run off the road. Batman hooks up a cable to save the car and pulls Kate out the back window, then he has to go after the bad guys. Cable fails, car drops into river, mom and Beth are gone.

Forwards 13 years, Kate is all growed up. Bruce Wayne and Batman disappeared 3 years ago, no one knows why. Kate turns out to be Bruce's cousin. She gets into Bruce's office, finds the entrance to the Bat cave, meets Luke Fox (son of Lucien, MIT engineer type who makes all the kewl toys) and next thing you know she's Batwoman with a bullet proof suit.

Then it turns out Beth didn't die, lots of plot complications, Beth is now Alice, a psycho bad guy. The shows so far mostly revolve around Beth / Alice's drama. Which is getting old. We need some serious villains - Joker, Riddler, someone with some meat on their bones. But then I guess Kate has to go after a few lightweights to learn her craft? And fix the lost sister / evil stepmom / clueless father thing. 'Cause, you know, girls gotta fix stuff, everyone has to get together for xmas and drink eggnog and be happy.

Oh, and Kate is a lesbian. 'Cause. Gotta work that in somewhere. A few scenes of cute girls kissing, I guess that's supposed to teach me tolerance or acceptance or something. Girls like to kiss? I dunno, it seems gratuitous to me and doesn't move the show or the plot along; and as far as watching girls kiss, I just don't have much reaction to it.

We just finished episode 4. You can stream the first four episodes on CWTV.com. They haven't really gotten traction yet, I'm not sure where the show is going and clearly neither are the producers or writers. I'm also not sure it's very good. Flash started out a bit thin and picked up, maybe this will too. Or maybe, like Supergirl, they'll get all wrapped up in this LBGTQRSTUV stuff and forget they're making a show about comic books. Or like Agents of Shield or Arrow it will just get too weird. Or maybe I'll get bored and never find out. The ratings indicate there's a lot of people out there who wanted to see Batwoman, but got bored quickly with As The Bat Turns - on present ratings trends they've got about 8 more shows to come up with something more compelling.

ps: in case you're not really into comics, Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, Batwoman is Kate Kane, two completely different characters, two completely different stories. Batgirl comes to a rather distressing end, but that's not material to this show.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on November 09, 2019, 12:59:04 PM
Hobbs and Shaw

A spin off from Fast and Furious. Hobbs -  Dwayne Johnson  - and Shaw - Jason Statham - reprise their roles from Fast and Furious. They're called up, there's a synthetic virus that will kill everyone in the entire world. It's an airborn version of Ebola. Idris Alba is the bad guy, he's a computer enhanced soldier who wants the virus to kill off most of humanity and replace us with something better - borg, I guess. The plot borrows heavily from various Mission Impossible films - the cute girl shoots the virus into herself to help get it away from the bad guys. Idris has a motorcycle that's more or less a transformer and he's basically spiderman - 3x reflexes, 3x strength, that sort of thing. Plus the computer display in his eyes that keeps him on top of everything. And he's got his own armored attack helicopter. Hard to see how he fails.

It's a typical F&F movie, lotsa action, fast cars, everybody has a nitrous button, destruction left and right, and in the end family beats out everything.

We wind up on the island of Samoa, Hobb's home, where preparations are made for a few days for unarmed civilians to hold off a massive attack from the heavily armed bad guys to get the girl and the virus. So they also steal from The Seven Samurai / The Magnificent Seven. At least they're stealing from good films. Too bad they don't steal the excellent sound tracks too - it's been 60 years and we can all still hum along with The Magnificent Seven theme song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XDB7GMnbUQ

I guess it's a good film, if you like this sort of thing; a bit mindless and predictable, but then they say in all of literature there's only seven basic plots, so how much can you expect?

The wife and I saw this one last month. You are correct, it is what it is, two hours of escapism. But it starred the Rock, AND J Stratham so my wife had to see it! ;D
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on November 09, 2019, 01:03:02 PM
Batwoman

A new series on the CW, it seems to be happening in the Flash universe. Batman is chasing some bad guys; a mom and her twin daughters Kate and Beth Kane are run off the road. Batman hooks up a cable to save the car and pulls Kate out the back window, then he has to go after the bad guys. Cable fails, car drops into river, mom and Beth are gone.

Forwards 13 years, Kate is all growed up. Bruce Wayne and Batman disappeared 3 years ago, no one knows why. Kate turns out to be Bruce's cousin. She gets into Bruce's office, finds the entrance to the Bat cave, meets Luke Fox (son of Lucien, MIT engineer type who makes all the kewl toys) and next thing you know she's Batwoman with a bullet proof suit.

Then it turns out Beth didn't die, lots of plot complications, Beth is now Alice, a psycho bad guy. The shows so far mostly revolve around Beth / Alice's drama. Which is getting old. We need some serious villains - Joker, Riddler, someone with some meat on their bones. But then I guess Kate has to go after a few lightweights to learn her craft? And fix the lost sister / evil stepmom / clueless father thing. 'Cause, you know, girls gotta fix stuff, everyone has to get together for xmas and drink eggnog and be happy.

Oh, and Kate is a lesbian. 'Cause. Gotta work that in somewhere. A few scenes of cute girls kissing, I guess that's supposed to teach me tolerance or acceptance or something. Girls like to kiss? I dunno, it seems gratuitous to me and doesn't move the show or the plot along; and as far as watching girls kiss, I just don't have much reaction to it.

We just finished episode 4. You can stream the first four episodes on CWTV.com. They haven't really gotten traction yet, I'm not sure where the show is going and clearly neither are the producers or writers. I'm also not sure it's very good. Flash started out a bit thin and picked up, maybe this will too. Or maybe, like Supergirl, they'll get all wrapped up in this LBGTQRSTUV stuff and forget they're making a show about comic books. Or like Agents of Shield or Arrow it will just get too weird. Or maybe I'll get bored and never find out. The ratings indicate there's a lot of people out there who wanted to see Batwoman, but got bored quickly with As The Bat Turns - on present ratings trends they've got about 8 more shows to come up with something more compelling.

ps: in case you're not really into comics, Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, Batwoman is Kate Kane, two completely different characters, two completely different stories. Batgirl comes to a rather distressing end, but that's not material to this show.


One question. And this has been an issue with the different Batman movies and the actors that play him. Does her body armor have nipples? ;)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on November 10, 2019, 07:18:44 AM
One question. And this has been an issue with the different Batman movies and the actors that play him. Does her body armor have nipples? ;)

I'm pleased to say, no. Apparently after nearly 25 years of being an industry and public joke, they've perhaps learned their lesson.



Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on December 01, 2019, 07:40:11 PM
The Game Changers.

This is a Netflix documentary which is supposed to put you off meat forever. Personally I've been mostly a vegetarian for years, it didn't have that much effect on me. It failed to address what I personally most want to know: are eggs and cheese really bad for you? I have a son who's a vegan and he insists animal anything is murder and death, but he's religious about it. The unfortunate truth seems to be that many studies are unreliable because of being funded by the food industry, and many others are questionable because they have agendas in the other direction. It's pretty clear that meat from air-breathing critters is not very good for you, some worse than others, outside of that the evidence is not compelling.

The movie interviews a bunch of athletes who went vegan and had their performance improve, sometimes to world champion levels. There are also some doctors who show you blood drawn after eating meat and after eating vegetarian, same person, next day. And they look at erection size, frequency and duration while asleep in people after eating meat, then the next night after eating vegetarian. That part was more than a little amusing. The documentary conclusion is meat is awful for your health and for athletic performance, including in the sack. I think their brush is a bit too broad - it's been known for years that cold water fish in moderate amounts are good for you, hence the omega-3 craze. They also make clear, correctly, that everything alive is made of protein and other stuff, so you can get protein from plants just as easily as from animals, perhaps even a bit easier.

Anyway, it was mildly entertaining and if you've been considering the idea that red meat is perhaps not so great for you, perhaps you'll like it. If you think the current push against meat is brought to you by the same people who use global warming as an excuse for taking world-wide political power, well, unfortunately there's something to that too. But I've been a (mostly) vegetarian since people were worried about an upcoming ice age, that stuff doesn't affect me. My girlfriend really liked the movie and decided to swear off meat. Then she went over to her mother's house and had a bunch of turkey. Go figger.

btw, my personal opinion is the impossible burger (burger king) is much better than the beyond burger (carl's, hardy's.) But Beyond italian sausage is pretty good. My son thinks the beyond burger leaves him feeling bloated, the impossible does not. And if you're eating fish you buy at Walmart or Sam's club, I got bad news for you: it's almost all from China and most likely just this side of poison. Remember, Walmart is the company that has an asshole for a logo:

(https://shelbyreport.nyc3.cdn.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/New_Walmart_Logo.svg-e1519222902338.jpg)

Sorry.

Make sure your seafood is from the US or Peru / Ecuador / Chili. Buy it at Costco.

This is just a review, I don't proselytize. I will note that, distressingly, bacon = death. The evidence is clear and unambiguous. I like a good BLT as much as anyone, but I won't eat one. You can make a vegan BLT by using no-meat bacon bits, but it's like near-beer: it's really just a reminder of what you're missing. And my personal reaction to tofu and egg substitutes is "if you can't live forever, at least you can make it seem like forever." Otoh, when I eat "normal" food I often find it tasteless - I cook with a lot of spices, most american restaurants and people use none, outside of salt and sugar.

I don't get Netflix, of course, I just found the movie on a streaming site. You gotta be nuts to pay for cable these days: everything you could want is available a day or two later on the internet. All you need is a decent internet connection, the cheap chromecast, and then you gotta learn how to use it. I got an 82" TV, an antenna, a chromecast, and a decent internet connection. Today was the second Packers game I had to stream this year, the others have all been broadcast 'cept for *uck*** MNF / *uck*** ESPN. I hate those guys.

Who lives the longest? For a general population the Japanese win - white rice, lightly cooked vegetables and a bit of fish, almost no air breathing meat. They live about 7 years longer than US citizens, about 5 longer than EU citizens (The EU doesn't allow GMOs). For a small population, California 7th day adventists, all vegans - they live 10 years longer than the average US citizen. A subset of the 7th day adventists is vegan and eats only whole foods - no processed anything, no white rice, no oils, no store-bought breads, just stuff from the produce section and whole grains. They live another 5 years longer than 7th day adventists in general, 15 years longer than the general US population, but personally I worry they spend most of that 5 extra years in the bathroom. Suppose someone told you ever time you had sex you lost a day of life. I mean, seriously, at what point does life become mundane?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on December 01, 2019, 08:55:48 PM
Reporter asking a person who lived to be 100: "So, sir, to what advice do you have for those who want to live long lives?"

100 year old man: "You never drink, or smoke, or fool around with women. And you never eat anything that's bad for you, like bacon, or cheese, or meat, or chocolate."

Reporter: "So, by following that advice, will I live to be 100?"

100 year old man: "Maybe not, but it'll sure seem like it."

Obviously, this is a joke. Women tend to outlive men by six to eight years. So, maybe if I become transgender...  :o
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on December 02, 2019, 10:33:59 AM
I’m on my way to join the monastery now.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on December 08, 2019, 06:25:32 AM
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

This is a movie that's kinda sorta about the Charles Manson murders of Sharon Tate etc. 'Cept it's not. It was made by Quenton Tarantino, who made Pulp Fiction, one of the best movies ever made. Quenton has made a bunch of movies now, and like Clint Eastwood, he never lets us down. Some movies are better than others, but all are entertaining. 'Cept maybe this one, which I have to tell you I completely didn't get.

Leonardo DiCaprio is a washed up movie star who lives next door to world renowned pedophile Roman Polanski and his main squeeze Sharon Tate. Brad Pitt is Leonard's washed up stunt man, now gopher. And Margot Robbie is Sharon Tate. A bunch of people are Manson's gang of underage oversexed teenagers. Burt Reynolds was going to be George Spahn, but he died, so Bruce Dern got the job.

A bunch of weird stuff happens. We mostly follow Brad Pitt around who lives this weird life, driving Leonardo around and feeding Leonardo's dog. He runs into Manson's gang a couple times, not really understanding anything except they're a bunch of weird hippies. The movie proceeds in Tarantino's typical cut up fashion until we get to the night of the murders, then it gets seriously weird. This is a "fairy tale," so Sharon Tate never gets attacked, instead Brad and Leonardo and their pitt bull take the killers down in a very satisfying fashion. While drunk and drugged out of their minds (Brad and Leonardo, that is.) This last scene, the fight scene, you don't want your grandkids seeing it, it's seriously above and beyond.

Every now and then we get a hollywood movie about hollywood. A few years ago the Coen bros gave us Hail Caesar, which I found equally confusing. Before that we got Being John Malkovich, which I also didn't understand. They say smart people prefer baseball to football, 'cause they don't understand football and smart people hate things they don't understand. All I know is I didn't understand or particularly like any of these movies. The critics love them, but that's 'cause they go to all the parties with all these people so I guess they know all the in jokes or something.

I think you could die without seeing this movie and it would not be one of your death bed regrets.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 15, 2020, 08:31:45 PM
El Camino - Breaking Bad

This is an epilog to the Breaking Bad series; if you didn't get sucked in by Breaking Bad it would have no meaning to you.

It's about a week after the big gun fight; Jesse is living in a pit, captured by some people who make him cook.

This is the story of how he gets out,gets some money, and gets free.

It's ok. I was completely sucked in by Breaking Bad, I bought the disks and binge watched it in about two weeks a couple of years ago. Yah, I know, I'm lazy and worthless and I'm gonna roast like a marshmallow in purgatory, I've already been told all that in detail by my ex. Anyways, I kinda enjoyed the movie for a couple hours. If you really just gotsta know what happened to Jesse after it all fell apart, or if you just need one last fix of breaking bad, this is your movie. If you didn't catch the reference when I said "make him cook," don't waste your time.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on January 15, 2020, 11:10:25 PM
Don't forget "Better Call Saul" which also takes place in the BB universe,
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 16, 2020, 06:28:43 AM
I never liked Saul and I didn't enjoy the scenes he was in.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 16, 2020, 05:37:33 PM
CW Crossover

Each year the various shows, Flash, Green Arrow, Supergirl have a story which spans the shows. This year is was "Crisis on Infinite Earths," which started in Batwoman, then Supergirl, Then Flash, Green Arrow, and finally Legends of Tomorrow. Crisis follows the story line of a set of comics that were produced in the mid-80s. The idea in the comics was that there were so many heroes, so many stories, so many internal inconsistencies and contradictions, that it was time to blow everything up and start over. And that's what the CW did.

There's a bad guy, the "Anti-monitor," who's kind like Thanos - he wants to destroy the universe and start over, 'cept his way. Our heroes must stop him to preserve life, 'cause the A-M wants everyone dead. Side note: Trillions of galaxies, each with billions of planets, times infinite universes which are variations on this theme (there's a parallel universe where you're Howard Hughs, another where you're Hugh Hefner, in fact every H-H guy there is, there's a universe where you're him). But only on Earth are there heroes who will fight this guy. Ok, enough bitching about cosmology.

Our heroes lose, badly - just like Infinity War - but formulate a plan to go back in time and fix everything - just like Endgame. The five shows comprised four hours of total story time, so that's comparable to the Avengers too. Of course the Avengers got about $250m to make the movies, these guys had a budget of a couple mill or so.

It's kinda stunning they lose, as there are infinite universes so there's infinite flashes, infinite supermen, etc. In fact this story uses three Supermen and three Flashes. How hard can it be to kill one bad guy when you got that sort of firepower?

This was the 5th CW crossover. I've seen 4 of them - I don't care for them so well, and I've never felt motivated to go back an watch the one I missed. This one was on the lame side too. I consider time travel to be 1) impossible, and 2) a chicken-s**t way to solve your story problems.

Although our heroes won in the end, there was a cost: Green Arrow is now dead, but still around as the Spectre, a semi-living spirit who fights for good. And there's now apparently only one universe and all the heroes now share it - it used to be that Flash had to go to another universe to bump into Superman or Supergirl, but now they all share one planet.

So if you like these shows, now Flash can just run over to National City and mess with Supergirl's stories, or run over to Gotham and mess with Batwomans. And they're all set up now for a Superman show - perhaps next year we'll have one. I think this particular Superman is married to Lois with a kid or two, so that should change things - "Gotta go save the world, Honey!" "You're not going anywhere until you take out the trash and mow the lawn, fly boy!"

I found it thin and dissatisfying.

Sorry.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 16, 2020, 05:46:48 PM
Frozen II:

Frozen made $$$$$$$. So, naturally, there has to be a Frozen II.

Turns out Grandpa was a nasty piece of work and he messed thing up rather (sorry) royally. Now Elsa and Anna have to risk their lives to set things straight.

Elsa has even more major powers, basically she waves her hands and whatever she needs happens. Not very satisfying. And she can raise the dead, which she does. Without asking the Dead how they feel about it - there's a 150 year history of stories about raising the dead without asking permission, and mostly those stories end badly, very very badly.

Lots of singing, thin plot, confusing story development, and it turns out Elsa is serious magic, the whole friggin' world depends on her.

Frozen was a pretty kewl movie, every girl loved it, parents found it on the charming side of tolerable. This one, not so much.

The good news is the reports the Elsa was a lesbian, there's none of that. The closest we come is Elsa makes it clear early that she wants no man, no husband, no kids, she just wants to do her ice power thing. So, I'm ok with that. I'm a firm believer that women who don't want kids shouldn't have them.

IMHO, no need to add this to your video library for visiting kids.

Not a great movie night, sorry. I'm off now to watch Ford v. Ferrari, I have hopes for this story. How can you screw up Carroll Shelby and the Ford GT40 (possibly the sexiest car ever made)?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 16, 2020, 09:49:58 PM
Ford v. Ferrari

In the 1960s Ford was coming off a bad run, capped off by the Edsel, a historic failure. They needed a win. Lee Iacocca delivered two: the Mustang, and Ford's racing program. In just a few months Carroll Shelby and his driver Ken Miles delivered the GT 40, which went on to win the 24 hours of LeMans four years in a row, squashing Ferrari. This movie is the story of that program.

I used to race - motorcycles in the desert, so none of this 200+ mph stuff, but still - so I found this movie entrancing. Ken spent a year fighting development problems in the car - bad aerodynamics, bad brakes, bad steering - and Shelby spent a year fighting the suits, who wanted to win "the Ford way." Kind of interesting, as Ford had never won before.

I found the movie quite entertaining, if not precisely historically accurate. Several details about the car's development were changed or swept under the rug to make a more engaging story. Oh well, I was only like 10 years old when this all happened. And we all know the results: the GT 40 had a few years of dominating wins, until the whiny europeans changed the rules basically to outlaw American big block motors; and Carroll Shelby made a lot of money turning mustangs into actual sports cars, instead of a ford fairlane with fancy body work.

btw, "GT 40" refers to the car's overall height, 40 inches. Hold up a yardstick, add four inches, crawl into that and go 218 mph. I dare you.

(https://robbreportedit.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/gt40mkii01.jpg?w=660)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 17, 2020, 07:55:21 PM
Knives Out

This is a black comedy / murder mystery.

Harlan Thrombey is an author who writes, you guessed it, murder mysteries. He's been quite successful as an author. He lives in a huge beautiful old mansion and has north of $60m in the bank. He also has a family of leaches and hangers on. Then he dies, on his 85th birthday, of an apparent suicide. His entire family gets cut out of the will, which gives us a whole slew of extremely dysfunctional and intensely displeased suspects. Curiously, private detective Benoit Blanc receives an anonymous envelop with a bunch of cash and instructions to investigate this murder - this alone is a key fact. Why anonymous? why cash? who knew?

What follows is somewhat entertaining - the black comedy part is not bad. As a murder mystery it fails, I think - there were clues to pick up on, I knew reasonably early on that both "official stories" - the suicide and the obvious murder - were not the correct explanation. However, at the end when the real killer is exposed, I think there was no evidence on the movie to show who it was. There was decent reason to suspect, but the point of a well constructed murder mystery is after the fact you realize it was obvious and couldn't be any other way.

Anyways I found it reasonably entertaining, so if you like this sort of thing, go for it. The family is a bunch of truly nasty pieces of work, you find yourself with no sympathy for pretty much any of them. And that's a big part of the fun.

This is two movies now where Daniel Craig has a thick Kentucky back woods red neck accent, and I think he does it pretty well.


Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 18, 2020, 08:08:50 PM
1917

This is a movie about WW I. The Germans have seemingly abandoned one of their trenches and are in full retreat. However, air reconnaissance shows that in fact they have a fortification to which they are retreating, hoping to lure the british into a trap. So a couple guys are sent 9 miles, by foot, to get word to the commanding officer to call off the attack. Within about 12 hours. If they fail, 1600 troupes are going to die. The movie is about these 9 miles.

Technically the movie is breath taking. The entire movie appears to have been filmed in two continuous shots, about one hour long each. It's not; there was some insanely clever things done to make it seem that way. But the effect makes you feel like you're right along side these guys. The camera work is awe inspiring.

It's all british actors, so we're treated to both Moriarty and Sherlock in the film. Plus Mark Strong (hunger games).

It's a great depiction of WW I, fought in the trenches, a disgusting, dirty, dangerous war. WW I was sold to the public as a war that would be over in 2-4 weeks. In fact armies fought for four years over a few yards of terrain. There were no antibiotics, if you got cut you were stunningly likely to die. WW I was fought with equipment only barely more modern than the civil war.

As I watched the film, I could not help but constantly think that this was the first war fought on this scale, a scale that required massive amounts of money, money that could not come from taxes or savings or sales of bonds and could only come from central bankers. Modern warfare is enabled by central banks, and fought for the profits of banks. The people who send the troupes off to die are a bunch of government sociopaths. All of them, the bankers and the politicians, should be put up against the wall. IMHO.

It's a really quite engaging film. Perhaps not so great for date night - lots of blood and dead bodies, and women just don't see war as the heroic enterprise that men do. This is the great contradiction of war: it's fought at the bequest of the very worst of us, but on the front lines it brings out the very best in terms of bravery, sacrifice, loyalty, determination.

None the less, the bankers are evil. And must go.

In my old age, I'm coming to understand why there are no super powers: if I had them I would use them very badly. I would consider that it was open season on the top .001%. Wall street, DC, Hollywood. . .  they're all just cesspools.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 20, 2020, 08:10:51 PM
Little Women - 2019

A quite famous book by Louisa May Alcott. There were several versions done - 1917, 1918, 1933 with Katherine Hepburn, 1949 with Elizabeth Taylor and Janet Leigh, 1994 with Winona Rider,  Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon and Christian Bale, and 2018 on Masterpiece Theater. And now 2019 with Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson and Timothée Chalamet. I've only seen the 1994 and 2019.

The 2019 version is a bit cut up in time. Since they make little effort to age the actresses it's a bit hard to follow, jumping back and forth anywhere from two to ten years. That said it's better acted than the 1994 version and I thought it most moving.

Watch it with your wife. A couple hours with a couple oscar winning women telling a girls story should get you brownie points enough to cover three or four sci fi / adventure movies. And, as I already said, it's a bit moving, even us stupid boys can get it for this one.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 20, 2020, 08:29:57 PM
btw, these days I'm streaming on AZM.to. I change every couple of months, all these places have strengths and weaknesses.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 22, 2020, 08:02:05 PM
Malificent ii

Angelina Jolie is a witch (which I think hits a little closer to home.  . .). Last movie she was the in who cursed sleeping beauty. This time sleeping beauty wants to marry the handsome prince. But the queen, Michele Pfeiffer, is something the rhymes with witch. Genocide and wars ensue. Cause Nazi nationalists. Of course there's a happily ever after. Its a little slow in the middle but it has a good ending. I was prepared for a not so great movie, but it was a bit better than ok.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 22, 2020, 08:04:58 PM
P.s,
If you saw the "you're not safe here" thing, that's because Google forced us to make the site secure (https:). The certificate dies every 90 days and must be renewed. Sometimes we get a bit behind on renewing. Sorry.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 23, 2020, 10:14:27 PM
The Mandalorian

There are eight episodes in season 1, about 30 minutes each, so a bit over 4 hours to binge watch it. You can pay for it on Disney+, which I would rather drink raw sewage than give money to the mainstream media, or you can find it other places like https://europixhd.io/.

The Mandalorian is a member of an order. Jango Fett and Boba Fett were also Mandalorians; and Jango was the genetic model for the storm troupers. The series takes place about 5 years after the Return of the Jedi and about 25 years before The Force Awakens. The Mandalorian is a bounty hunter, just as Boba Fett was. He's sent to pick up a "package," an assignment that many before him have failed. He gets the "package" and returns it for a very good payment. The package is a baby Yoda, who is strong with the force. The Mandalorian feels it's wrong to turn the baby over to the "imps," so he goes back and rescues him. Now the Mandalorian and baby Yoda are on the run from, well, everyone. And that's what the series is about.

The writer and producer is Jon Favreau, the same guy who did Iron Man, and also Iron Man's driver. The plot is pretty good. The special effects are pretty good. There's not a lot of talking and the main actor *never* takes his helmet off. Never. It's a mandalorian thing.

I liked it. 'Course, I like everything star wars, so you have to take that recommendation for what it's worth, but I liked it.

There will be a season 2. In season 2 the sith will be after baby yoda.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on January 23, 2020, 11:08:23 PM
The Mandalorian

There are eight episodes in season 1, about 30 minutes each, so a bit over 4 hours to binge watch it. You can pay for it on CBS All Access, which I would rather drink raw sewage than give money to the mainstream media, or you can find it other places like https://europixhd.io/.

The Mandalorian is a member of an order. Jango Fett and Boba Fett were also Mandalorians; and Jango was the genetic model for the storm troupers. The series takes place about 5 years after the Return of the Jedi and about 25 years before The Force Awakens. The Mandalorian is a bounty hunter, just as Boba Fett was. He's sent to pick up a "package," and assignment that many before him have failed. He gets the "package" and returns it for a very good payment. The package is a baby Yoda, who is strong with the force. The Mandalorian feels it's wrong to turn the baby over to the "imps," so he goes back and rescues him. Now the Mandalorian and baby Yoda are on the run from, well, everyone. And that's what the series is about.

The writer and producer is Jon Favreau, the same guy who did Iron Man, and also Iron Man's driver. The plot is pretty good. The special effects are pretty good. There's not a lot of talking and the main actor *never* takes his helmet off. Never. It's a mandalorian thing.

I liked it. 'Course, I like everything star wars, so you have to take that recommendation for what it's worth, but I liked it.

There will be a season 2. In season 2 the sith will be after baby yoda.


...uuggg I really don't want to be that guy...but  soapbox well, actually.  LOL

But all kidding aside a couple of your notes are incorrect. Jango and Bobba were never Mandalorians(at least cannonically), Jango was born on a moon in the Mandalorian system but never joined. How he got his armor still has yet to be fully explained in cannon, but the theory is that he either stole it or make it himself. He used Durasteel instead of Beskhar which is what a Mandalorian would use. In the star wars world Durasteel is basically Kevlar, but Beskhar is completely different. It is one of the most rare metals and it is the strongest metal you can find(it can even stop the occasional light saber attack). They posed as Mandalorians because it was more intimidating. As well all know Bobba is Jango's clone. While both the Fett's and The Mando were bounty hunters the were not the same the Fett's went to the highest bidder, the mando has a code. I agree with you the rest of the way. I really liked the show, a lot. My five year old watched it with me and my wife and loved the show too. Are you sure CBS or was that a typo? Its a Disney + show so the only 'legal' places you can watch it are disney+ and Hulu. I'm also assuming storm troupers is a typo as well LOL. I haven't seen anything about any sith in season 2.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 24, 2020, 02:47:30 AM
Moff Gideon is Sith, is he not? He has the dark light saber.

I never read star wars books, I'm no good at canon. I didn't even know about the dark light saber, my son had to fill me in.

If Gideon had no force abilities or training, a light saber won't help him much.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on January 24, 2020, 08:39:11 PM
Moff Gideon is Sith, is he not? He has the dark light saber.

I never read star wars books, I'm no good at canon. I didn't even know about the dark light saber, my son had to fill me in.

If Gideon had no force abilities or training, a light saber won't help him much.

No he's just a moff as far as we know. The Darksaber belongs to The Mandolorian. It was made by the first Mandolorian jedji a very long time ago. Pre vizla owned I for awhile and Sabine gave it to bo Karan at the end of rebels. The dark saber is from the clone wars cartoon and star wars rebels. Really good shows if you have time to go back and watch them.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 27, 2020, 07:52:12 PM
The Rise of Skywalker

ok, the movie was ok. No better than ok. Most of us have to see it, 'cause star wars.

It's mostly a long reunion. A bunch of faces just pop up left and right, lotsa hugs, slaps on the back, that sort of thing. 100 billion planets in the galaxy, each planet has maybe like 2 million square miles, but no prob, we bump into pretty much everyone. It sucks being good at astronomy.

Somewhere buried in there there's a plot. Rey is being trained as a Jedi. Ben has become the emperor (lite) of the galaxy. But they keep tuning into each other. Turns out they're a "force dyad." No one knows what that is, exactly - one comes around every 1000 generations or so, call it 20,000 years. Palpatine is back, he's not quite dead, not quite alive. He must be stopped. But not killed by Rey, 'cause then all the generations of sith would be transferred to her and she'd be the unopposed sith empress for all time.

Something that's been clear to me for about three decades is that restoring "balance" to the force means no more sith, but it also means no more jedi. The scale is balanced by equal good and bad (whatever that means), but it's also balanced when empty. If you go back and watch the second and third movies, you'll see the jedi are like self-appointed babysitters for humanity. They mean well, but so does your mom. You grow up and leave your mom. The sith, they're just like, well, Hillary. A step up from your garden variety sociopath. Restoring balance meant, in my mind, they all had to go, sith and jedi both. Apparently Luke (the last jedi) agreed - he put himself on permanent vacation on an uncharted version of Tahiti and settled in to grow old and die. But there was still the first order (their origin comes up in this episode), Leah had a kid, so it turns out it was not quite retirement time. Rey does the final cleanup and retires.

Episodes 4 and 5 were the best. The rest, well, George Lucas is a good story teller but writes terrible dialog and isn't a great director. And Ewoks, Jar Jar, watching them was like a trip to the dentist.  I understand on the set of episode 1 the kid was unofficially nicknamed "manikin skywalker." J.J.Abrams is a great guy if you want a bunch of action, but he's not, imho, a great story teller. Episodes 7-8-9 all felt more than a little like Disney just cashing in. Now I understand we'll get some prequels. And, of course, quantum mechanics tells us that a body at rest can't quite stay at rest, so we can presume that at some point in the future someone will appear with a lot of midichloreans (midichloreans. right.) and start waving their hands around, messing with other people's life paths. And clearly, just as Unbreakable points out that heroes attract villains, the emergence of one will inevitably lead to the emergence of the other - the force must be balanced, if you concentrate "light power" here, than you leave a light deficit, call it "dark power" there. Or vice versa. Someone at Disney will inevitably figure this out and I assume in the fullness of time we'll get the grandchildren of the midiclorean endowed rising up and causing some form of trouble.

A point made frequently was that it seemed Rey was simply no one who just got power somehow. This made the force seem somewhat democratic - maybe you can do this stuff, who knows. But in this episode we learn she's the granddaughter of Palpatine - apparently these midichloreans are genetic or something. So, bad news, you don't got none. It would be best if Rey never had kids. If she does, then the trouble starts again in just a generation or three. Personally, I think the galaxy needs a few hundred years, minimum, to clean up the mess caused by these self-appointed do-gooders and recover. I know I do.

An interesting problem with this force stuff is that we're told the force is the driving field behind all life. Well, based on the various death stars and the several hundred planet killers in this episode, life has a big suicidal streak in it. I wonder if there's a force suicide hotline (Hi? I'm thinking of hurting myself, and taking a few billion people with me. . .)

I never read any star wars books so, as noted above, I'm thin on the canon, but as I recall it's canon that Darth Plagueis and Palpatine were screwing around with some serious powers over life and death, and that forced the force's hand, resulting in the virgin birth of skywalker. (yah, I know that sentence sucked, I don't know how else to write it.) Well, Luke burned all the Jedi manuals, it looked to me like the sith world was pretty wiped out by the final battle, but the sith and jedi came from somewhere, so if they popped up once they can pop up again. And, as noted above, it seems the Dark Light Saber is still out there, waiting to be found and used. And as Lucas wrote, apparently the appearance of one will create the other. Also there's more of those little 50 y/o green babies out there somewhere who can wave their hands and lift up charging rinos. I expect sooner or later we'll get yet more installments from the greedy narcissists at Disney. But just as I think I'm more or less done with Marvel, I think I'm also more or less done with Star Wars. I'll watch them when they come out, but just like the Mandalorian and the Rise of Skywalker, but I'll wait to stream it for free. The thrill is gone.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 29, 2020, 05:00:05 PM
The Good Liar

Ian McKellen (Gandalf, Magneto) is a con man, who makes his living scamming greedy people. Helen Mirren (RED, The Queen) is a charming widow who meets Ian on an internet date. Ian decides to charm her and take her for all she's worth. Which turns out to be about $3 million. And the story unfolds from there.

The acting is wonderful, the dialog crisp - you can really feel these people. The plot is a bit strained, it winds up as a mystery but you never got enough clues to solve it.

I enjoyed it. It would be a great date night movie - watch it with your wife.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on January 29, 2020, 08:00:25 PM
The Good Liar

Ian McKellen (Gandalf, Magneto) is a con man, who makes his living scamming greedy people. Helen Mirren (RED, The Queen) is a charming widow who meets Ian on an internet date. Ian decides to charm her and take her for all she's worth. Which turns out to be about $3 million. And the story unfolds from there.

The acting is wonderful, the dialog crisp - you can really feel these people. The plot is a bit strained, it winds up as a mystery but you never got enough clues to solve it.

I enjoyed it. It would be a great date night movie - watch it with your wife.

I did see it with the inimitable one. It was OK. But also too convoluted, and the ultimate twists seemed really forced and artificial. It wasn't enough to make McKellen's character a bad person; they had to make him a monster, and a decades old revenge played out. 
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 30, 2020, 03:17:34 AM
I did see it with the inimitable one. It was OK. But also too convoluted, and the ultimate twists seemed really forced and artificial. It wasn't enough to make McKellen's character a bad person; they had to make him a monster, and a decades old revenge played out.

I agree, the ending got a bit convoluted.

I think he was a monster. I think the author did a poor job of setting him up. Hence my comment of a so-so plot.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on January 30, 2020, 09:50:09 AM
I agree, the ending got a bit convoluted.

I think he was a monster. I think the author did a poor job of setting him up. Hence my comment of a so-so plot.

He was WAY too greedy, for sure. He has several million pounds stashed away, and he wants to retire to the coast of Spain and live out the rest of his life in luxury. So, figure six or seven years? And several million isn't enough? He has to make one last "big score" and bankrupt someone else to feed his seemingly insatiable need for money? The love of money is, indeed, the root of all evil.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 30, 2020, 05:20:39 PM
He was WAY too greedy, for sure. He has several million pounds stashed away, and he wants to retire to the coast of Spain and live out the rest of his life in luxury. So, figure six or seven years? And several million isn't enough? He has to make one last "big score" and bankrupt someone else to feed his seemingly insatiable need for money? The love of money is, indeed, the root of all evil.


um, you did see the part where he molested a 16 y/o girl, then 3 minutes later raped her 15 y/o sister? And the part where one of his marks tracked him down, so he pushed him in front of a train? If he were a democrat he'd be running for president, but here in the heartland we consider him a monster.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on January 30, 2020, 09:52:30 PM
um, you did see the part where he molested a 16 y/o girl, then 3 minutes later raped her 15 y/o sister? And the part where one of his marks tracked him down, so he pushed him in front of a train? If he were a democrat he'd be running for president, but here in the heartland we consider him a monster.

That entire scenario came out of nowhere. Apparently he had been coming to this house for months, and suddenly he turns into this sex crazed monster? OK. For reasons, I guess. So, he was a sociopath, and loved money, and molested women, and was extremely narcissistic, and felt he was above the law. Hmmm... sounds like someone we all have heard about. You invited the politics, I'm just responding.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on January 31, 2020, 11:43:51 AM
All presidents are narcissists. No one else would want the job. And you know that. This point is boring.

But serial killers? That takes a special kind of Clinton.   
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on January 31, 2020, 01:24:20 PM
Enough. I come here to discuss the Packers, football related topics, and occasionally stray into other areas, like movies or Kobe's vastly inflated death, or how the Bears still suck. I don't need politics poisoning the experience.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on February 12, 2020, 05:23:27 PM
Contagion (2011)

Staring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Lawrence Fishburn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Elliott Gould, Bryan Cranston.

A virus, which turns out to be from a bat through a pig not unlike covid-19, infects Gwyneth while she's in Hong Kong. She travels back to the states almost immediately after catching it, and it spreads like wildfire. Most of the world gets shut down like Chin is right now - empty streets, no business operating, army and FEMA handing out food. If you want to see a worst-case scenario of what a pandemic can do, Contagion is it. It's quite good, and reasonably scientifically accurate. In the film the virus has an R0 of 2.5, which is very similar to the R0 of Covid-19. The film virus has a lethality of 20%, which is 2-3 times worse than covid-19. So if Covid-19 gets loose in the states it won't be quite this bad, but it won't be good either.

btw, I guarantee that covid-19 is going to run through Africa like wildfire, starting kinda sorta now. No cases have been reported, but that's because africa is as poorly prepared as you can imagine. I predict it will infect a hundred million africans or more, with a 10ish percent death rate.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Shinesman on February 14, 2020, 12:19:52 AM
Contagion (2011)

Staring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Lawrence Fishburn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Elliott Gould, Bryan Cranston.

A virus, which turns out to be from a bat through a pig not unlike covid-19, infects Gwyneth while she's in Hong Kong. She travels back to the states almost immediately after catching it, and it spreads like wildfire. Most of the world gets shut down like Chin is right now - empty streets, no business operating, army and FEMA handing out food. If you want to see a worst-case scenario of what a pandemic can do, Contagion is it. It's quite good, and reasonably scientifically accurate. In the film the virus has an R0 of 2.5, which is very similar to the R0 of Covid-19. The film virus has a lethality of 20%, which is 2-3 times worse than covid-19. So if Covid-19 gets loose in the states it won't be quite this bad, but it won't be good either.

btw, I guarantee that covid-19 is going to run through Africa like wildfire, starting kinda sorta now. No cases have been reported, but that's because africa is as poorly prepared as you can imagine. I predict it will infect a hundred million africans or more, with a 10ish percent death rate.

I mean, do we remember when the Ebola outbreak was going to kill everyone a few years back? The corona virus is equivalent to the common cold. The Fkue kills tens of thousands domestically every year. The watered down beer virus isnt going to beat the flu. It's a scare tactic and a diversion to make everyone forget china is killing pro-democracy protestors and our own congress is illegally attacking our POTUS. This is just an example of liberal Hollywood pushing a scare for their parties benefit.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on February 17, 2020, 09:51:13 PM
Quote from: Shinesman link=topic=7181.msg200291#msg200291
I mean, do we remember when the Ebola outbreak was going to kill everyone a few years back? The corona virus is equivalent to the common cold. The Fkue kills tens of thousands domestically every year. The watered down beer virus isnt going to beat the flu. It's a scare tactic and a diversion to make everyone forget china is killing pro-democracy protestors and our own congress is illegally attacking our POTUS. This is just an example of liberal Hollywood pushing a scare for their parties benefit.

We'll talk about this again in several months.

Of course, we all know now that facts will not change your opinion.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Shinesman on February 20, 2020, 04:34:09 PM
Quote from: Shinesman link=topic=7181.msg200291#msg200291
I mean, do we remember when the Ebola outbreak was going to kill everyone a few years back? The corona virus is equivalent to the common cold. The Fkue kills tens of thousands domestically every year. The watered down beer virus isnt going to beat the flu. It's a scare tactic and a diversion to make everyone forget china is killing pro-democracy protestors and our own congress is illegally attacking our POTUS. This is just an example of liberal Hollywood pushing a scare for their parties benefit.

We'll talk about this again in several months.

Of course, we all know now that facts will not change your opinion.

Lol, ok. So next season, when we are all still here, and no one corona virus is killing the world..... what will you have to say?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on February 27, 2020, 08:34:34 PM
Any Given Sunday - 1999

Starring, well, kinda everyone. Cameos by everyone - Y.A. Tittle, Pat Toomay, Dick Butkus, Warren Moon, Johnny Unitas, Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, James Woods, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, Ann-Margret, Aaron Eckhart, Charlton Heston, Terrell Owens, Irving Fryar, Ricky Watters, Barry Switzer. By Oliver Stone, who makes movies that are compelling but wrong. This is another. Early the team is 7-2, then loses 4 in a row (7-6), but is still in contention for home field. They drop their last game (9-7) but have a bye week, then their first playoff game is on the road. Their 38 y/o QB gets hurt and a 3rd string michael-vick-alike comes in and wins 2 and suddenly is the hero of the entire NFL. Then proceeds to call out the defense, the HC and the WRs, while making up plays in the huddle. 'Cause he's been playing football his entire life but hasn't clued in that it's a team sport and you never call out your team mates.

It was fun to see all the cameos. The on-field sound effects were startling and gave a great view of the violence of this game. The rest of the movie was complete crap - open threats between owners and coaches that they intend to fire, coach speeches that would destroy team spirit.

I dunno, I think it's worth watching once just for the cameos and sound effects, but you're not gonna learn anything.

Some rather startling sexuality, especially for 1999, I don't understand how this thing was not rated X.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on February 28, 2020, 04:10:36 AM
Has anyone seen Parasite yet?

I liked it, a lot. I'm not sure about picture of the year. It reminded me of a lot of Korean drama shows just with less comedy and a little bit of violence. I was surprised with some of the comedy moments in the movie. It was billed as this dark depressing movie that looks at the haves and have-not's which it definitely does. I wasn't sure if the ending actually happened? or was it a dream? I think a lot of Americans who saw it but have never seen any Korean movies or TV shows before didn't know things were like this in Korea and so they saw this as something completely new and different. I still liked it a lot. Some good twists.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on February 28, 2020, 04:14:00 AM
Joker:

I expected this would be a strange movie. It was far stranger than that.

We meet Arthur Fleck, a hopeless and rather disturbed man. He's some indeterminate age, perhaps 30 or so, lives with his mother, and is slightly employed as a clown for hire. His mother is not an invalid, but he makes her dinner in bed and gives her baths. Later we learn that her mental health is even worse than his. His mother told him she had an affair with Thomas Wayne, so Arthur's father is a gazillionaire but he lives pennyless in a slum.

In some alternate Batman stories it's Bruce who gets killed in the alley and his father Thomas turns into Batman; a very dark, angry and homicidal Batman. You could easily see this movie's Thomas Wayne turning very dark, he's not a nice guy.

Several scenes in this movie exist only in Joker's mind, but they're not flagged in any way as psychotic breaks. You'll have to stay on your toes and keep in mind that Arthur is a complete weirdo and no decent, reasonably cute self-respecting single mom is gonna fall for him.

Unsurprisingly Arthur winds up in a downward spiral which is shared by the entire city of Gotham - a spiral caused by a few rich people who manipulate money and the system to the detriment of everyone else, not completely unlike what Wall Street is doing to the US today. By the end of the film Gotham is consumed by riots and Arthur has become the Joker, with several twists and turns along the way. Predictably Robert Di Niro winds up one of his victims, one of the best points of the movie imho - Di Niro would never work again if it were up to me, the man is a complete pig.

Joaquin Phoenix is simply marvelous in this very dark and very weird character study.

Will you like it? I think, like me, when it's all over you'll say, "Wow. What was that?" Definitely not for kids. And not a date night movie. And not a superhero movie - there's no heroes here and no super powers, no one on the side of good and decency, no happy ending. This is a story about the fall of a city due to the unbridled greed of a privileged few, led on the way down by a psychotic self-destructive madman.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

I liked it a lot although feel it got a bit overrated. Yes Joaquin was very good, especially once you/he realize that stuff was in his head. He was The machinist skin and bones.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on February 28, 2020, 08:38:50 AM
Yes, finally saw "Parasite", and found it wonderful film making/story telling. Definitely worthy of Best Picture- after all, they gave that Oscar to "Crash" a few years ago. No, the ending wasn't a dream, IMO.  SPOILER ALERT The son wanting to get rich to free his dad from that self imposed solitary confinement? Yes. Fascinating and gripping. Alternately funny and tragic and scary.

Now, as to "Joker", my mindset coming out of the film was a resolution that I should simply try to be nicer to people. Especially those who are less fortunate. Which is a lot of people. The idea that was floated by some that this movie would cause deadly incidents in theaters, or that the movie was an apology for mass murder, was pure and simple PC nonsense:

https://www.vulture.com/2019/10/all-the-joker-controversy-and-threats-explained.html

Also, as long as we're discussing misconceptions, the mass killer at the Aurora theater DID NOT identify with the Joker character in Batman. That was speculation spread by the New York City police commissioner at the the time. Not true, but rumors like this are hard to debunk:

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/10/joker-aurora-shooting-rumor

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on February 28, 2020, 07:14:23 PM
Yes, finally saw "Parasite", and found it wonderful film making/story telling. Definitely worthy of Best Picture- after all, they gave that Oscar to "Crash" a few years ago. No, the ending wasn't a dream, IMO.  SPOILER ALERT The son wanting to get rich to free his dad from that self imposed solitary confinement? Yes. Fascinating and gripping. Alternately funny and tragic and scary.


I thought it was real just wasn't sure when it switched back to him writing the letter. I don't know. I'm ok with it getting nominated I just feel like the story wasn't super original if you have seen other Korean movies and TV shows like I said earlier.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on March 16, 2020, 08:18:06 PM
Jumanji: The Next Level

Jumanji was original, startling, funny, creative - everything you want in a kid's movie. And Robin Williams. How can you not love it?

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was surprisingly good. Not perhaps as good as the original, but it had its charms. The Rock was surprisingly good, as was Karen Gillam and the rest of the cast.

Jumanji: The Next Level is, imho, derivative and simply cashing in on the trend. In fairness I must admit it out scored the original on Rotten Tomatoes, but I think that's because a *lot* of people take too many drugs or something. The plot was cut up, there were too many characters, it was harder to keep track of them because they kept switching bodies. James Brown and Barry Sanders went out at the top. This is, unfortunately, very uncommon.

It's ok I guess, but don't feel rushed to see it. OTOH, if you're quarantined for two months, I guess it can go on your list.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 12, 2020, 09:08:02 PM
Birds of Prey

The Harley Quin movie.

Very weird. Definitely not for kids.

Margot Robbie was great, of course. Ewan McGregor was good too, so there was some good acting.

The plot was all cut up, it was stupid hard to follow, meaning not difficult, but a stupid decision. The dialog mostly consisted of girls swearing a lot.  The action, ok, some of that was not bad. There was a bunch of kewl flips that I'm sure involved ropes and harnesses, but they looked good on the screen.

Harley was just dumped by the Joker; now everyone is out to get her 'cause she's unprotected. Ewan McGregor is looking for a diamond that has laser etched in it a bunch of bank account numbers worth a ton of money. The other girls all fit in somehow, there's a story but it's neither important nor compelling. And no matter how many bullets you fire at the girls, you never hit. 'Cause girl power.

I don't especially recommend this.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on April 14, 2020, 05:47:42 AM
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

This is a movie that's kinda sorta about the Charles Manson murders of Sharon Tate etc. 'Cept it's not. It was made by Quenton Tarantino, who made Pulp Fiction, one of the best movies ever made. Quenton has made a bunch of movies now, and like Clint Eastwood, he never lets us down. Some movies are better than others, but all are entertaining. 'Cept maybe this one, which I have to tell you I completely didn't get.

Leonardo DiCaprio is a washed up movie star who lives next door to world renowned pedophile Roman Polanski and his main squeeze Sharon Tate. Brad Pitt is Leonard's washed up stunt man, now gopher. And Margot Robbie is Sharon Tate. A bunch of people are Manson's gang of underage oversexed teenagers. Burt Reynolds was going to be George Spahn, but he died, so Bruce Dern got the job.

A bunch of weird stuff happens. We mostly follow Brad Pitt around who lives this weird life, driving Leonardo around and feeding Leonardo's dog. He runs into Manson's gang a couple times, not really understanding anything except they're a bunch of weird hippies. The movie proceeds in Tarantino's typical cut up fashion until we get to the night of the murders, then it gets seriously weird. This is a "fairy tale," so Sharon Tate never gets attacked, instead Brad and Leonardo and their pitt bull take the killers down in a very satisfying fashion. While drunk and drugged out of their minds (Brad and Leonardo, that is.) This last scene, the fight scene, you don't want your grandkids seeing it, it's seriously above and beyond.

Every now and then we get a hollywood movie about hollywood. A few years ago the Coen bros gave us Hail Caesar, which I found equally confusing. Before that we got Being John Malkovich, which I also didn't understand. They say smart people prefer baseball to football, 'cause they don't understand football and smart people hate things they don't understand. All I know is I didn't understand or particularly like any of these movies. The critics love them, but that's 'cause they go to all the parties with all these people so I guess they know all the in jokes or something.

I think you could die without seeing this movie and it would not be one of your death bed regrets.

Wife and I just watched this and totally enjoyed it. Pitt won an Oscar if I’m not mistaken. I think he was at least nominated and deservedly so. You have to go in thinking it’s a Tarantino movie. He’s not a taste for everyone. I think is a fantastic movie maker. What can one say? I like quirky movies ,which is what he makes. I loved the nostalgia of this flick too. I grew up in the 60’s and loved the westerns that were on TV at the time. I agree with you about one thing, this isn’t for kids. I enjoy stuff like this much more than these super hero movies they make these days, that’s just me.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 17, 2020, 08:09:08 PM
Red son

Cartoon

Superman lands in the ussr instead of Kansas. He grows up a committed communist. After a while he decides Stalin is corrupt and kills him. Now Superman is the premier of the ussr. Batman is now a Soviet that hates Superman, cause. Lex Luther is president of the us, also not a big fan of Superman. We also get wonder woman and many green lanterns.

Weird movie. You gotta be a big Superman fan to really like this, I think.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 19, 2020, 09:03:40 AM
Call of the wild.

This jack London book was written for teens so the plot is a little simplistic. They have to get the dog to do a lot of stuff dogs aren't good at, so the dogs are mostly cgi. While the cgi is impressive, its still noticeable. The dog can't talk so the movie is narrated, which I find distracting. At least the narrating is done by Harrison Ford, who has a good voice.

The movie is pretty good. A bit thin on plot, dialog, acting, but it's about dogs so it's heartwarming. Good for women and kids.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on April 19, 2020, 09:34:44 AM
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

This is a movie that's kinda sorta about the Charles Manson murders of Sharon Tate etc. 'Cept it's not. It was made by Quenton Tarantino, who made Pulp Fiction, one of the best movies ever made. Quenton has made a bunch of movies now, and like Clint Eastwood, he never lets us down. Some movies are better than others, but all are entertaining. 'Cept maybe this one, which I have to tell you I completely didn't get.

Leonardo DiCaprio is a washed up movie star who lives next door to world renowned pedophile Roman Polanski and his main squeeze Sharon Tate. Brad Pitt is Leonard's washed up stunt man, now gopher. And Margot Robbie is Sharon Tate. A bunch of people are Manson's gang of underage oversexed teenagers. Burt Reynolds was going to be George Spahn, but he died, so Bruce Dern got the job.

A bunch of weird stuff happens. We mostly follow Brad Pitt around who lives this weird life, driving Leonardo around and feeding Leonardo's dog. He runs into Manson's gang a couple times, not really understanding anything except they're a bunch of weird hippies. The movie proceeds in Tarantino's typical cut up fashion until we get to the night of the murders, then it gets seriously weird. This is a "fairy tale," so Sharon Tate never gets attacked, instead Brad and Leonardo and their pitt bull take the killers down in a very satisfying fashion. While drunk and drugged out of their minds (Brad and Leonardo, that is.) This last scene, the fight scene, you don't want your grandkids seeing it, it's seriously above and beyond.

Every now and then we get a hollywood movie about hollywood. A few years ago the Coen bros gave us Hail Caesar, which I found equally confusing. Before that we got Being John Malkovich, which I also didn't understand. They say smart people prefer baseball to football, 'cause they don't understand football and smart people hate things they don't understand. All I know is I didn't understand or particularly like any of these movies. The critics love them, but that's 'cause they go to all the parties with all these people so I guess they know all the in jokes or something.

I think you could die without seeing this movie and it would not be one of your death bed regrets.

Wife and I just watched this and totally enjoyed it. Pitt won an Oscar if I’m not mistaken. I think he was at least nominated and deservedly so. You have to go in thinking it’s a Tarantino movie. He’s not a taste for everyone. I think is a fantastic movie maker. What can one say? I like quirky movies ,which is what he makes. I loved the nostalgia of this flick too. I grew up in the 60’s and loved the westerns that were on TV at the time. I agree with you about one thing, this isn’t for kids. I enjoy stuff like this much more than these super hero movies they make these days, that’s just me.

Just watched this for the second time last night, and liked it a lot more than the first time. What I originally thought was one of Tarantino's lesser efforts (Django Unchained, Hateful Eight, IMO) it was much improved on second screening. The first time, the intercutting seemed pointless; this time, it made more sense. But then again, several critics said they liked it more on a second viewing. I agree.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 22, 2020, 06:40:23 PM
The Way Back.

Ben Affleck is a drunk who was the star of his high school basketball team 20 years ago. The team more or less hasn't won a game since he left. And his life is more or less a write off too. Now they ask him back to coach the team when the real coach has a heart attack. Ben's job is to get this losing team and himself under control.

The movie starts out a little slow, but it picks up and finishes quite strongly. Ben, of course, turns in an excellent performance. After all, he's a very good actor and has his own demons. He doesn't even need to act, this is Ben's life.

A good date night movie.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 27, 2020, 08:09:46 PM
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

By the Coen bros.

These guys are hit and miss - sometimes their stuff is simply sublime: No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, Fargo. And sometimes they miss. This was in between.

This movie is actually six unrelated movies, all set in the late 1800s, all fairly weird. Cowboys, indians, wagons, guns. There are some great lines - like when there are six guys strung up to be hanged and James Franco turns to the nervous guy strung up beside him and says, "First time?"

Perhaps this is satire of generic westerns of the 50s and 60s. If it was I barely caught it.

I really don't know if I recommend this or not. In fact I just finished it and I'm not completely clear on what I watched.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on April 27, 2020, 10:11:24 PM
If you can, find "The Stunt Man". 1980, Richard Rush directed and was nominated for Best Director. The music will haunt you for days afterward, kind of like "Bladerunner".
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on April 28, 2020, 12:55:30 PM
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

By the Coen bros.

These guys are hit and miss - sometimes their stuff is simply sublime: No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, Fargo. And sometimes they miss. This was in between.

This movie is actually six unrelated movies, all set in the late 1800s, all fairly weird. Cowboys, indians, wagons, guns. There are some great lines - like when there are six guys strung up to be hanged and James Franco turns to the nervous guy strung up beside him and says, "First time?"

Perhaps this is satire of generic westerns of the 50s and 60s. If it was I barely caught it.

I really don't know if I recommend this or not. In fact I just finished it and I'm not completely clear on what I watched.

It’s worth it to watch the first part which is actually about Buster Scruggs. Kind of Gene Autry vs Bugs Bunny. The rest were ehhh....
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on April 30, 2020, 09:13:58 PM
Inglourius Basterds

Brad Pitt v. Christopher Waltz, us v. nazis. By Quentin Tarantino. 2009.

Brad Pitt leads an all-jewish commando force behind enemy lines in france with the goal of killing and scalping as many nazis as possible. Things get interesting when it turns out much of the nazi high command will be in Paris for the premier of their new movie, which is about a single nazi sniper taking down about 245 american troops in 3 days. Like Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Basterds is a bedtime story which ends a lot better than real life.

Lotsa blood and such, not for kids. But enough drama that it can be a date night movie, if your girl likes a bit of action too. The americans are crass and crude and uncultured and funny and effective, the nazis are smart and educated and detestable through and through. When Tarantino does the remake, it'll be called "50 shades of black and white."

Last couple of girlfriends I have had didn't like Amelie, which, I'm like, "This movie is great and it's romance and comedy and drama, what's not to love?" They were bored. But throw in a bit of action, then the movie is fun. I dunno, I still got it: I can pick 'em.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 03, 2020, 10:28:54 AM
Minority Report 2002

Spielberg and Cruise, based on The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick.

Tom Cruise is a cop who's in charge of a psychic unit. They have three captive psychics who can predict the future, and they arrest people just before they were about to murder someone; the people are then convicted and put into cold storage. Over the last six years this new precrime unit has cut the murder rate in DC to zero. Now they want to expand to the entire US. Then right in the middle of the expansion vote, Tom Cruise's name pops up as a future murderer.

I've decided, for no particular reason, to binge watch a bunch of Philip K. Dick movies. Unless you're a fan of Philip, you'll be stunned at the last of movies that are related by having a single more-or-less unknown author. All of these movies are both highly entertaining and thought provoking. For example, how do you feel about convicting someone for a crime not yet committed, but which you know will certainly be committed? My personal thoughts on this are complex - I personally differentiate between crimes of passion and premeditated crimes, except for pedophiles, they should all just die.

This movie was based on a story by Philip K. Dick, a science fiction author. Here's most of what you need to know about Dick: 1) When Harlan Ellison put together his anthology Dangerous Visions, he said he wanted to include a story written under the influence of LSD. Philip readily agreed and produced a story, which Harlan dutifully published. As you read this story you have almost no idea what's going on until about three pages into it you seem to be catching the drift, it's starting to make sense, then it all melts down and you're lost again until three pages or so later again you think you're catching on, then it all melts down again and so on. The hilarious part of this is that it reads more or less like every other Philip K. Dick story. 2) Philip went into a stereo shop in the last 70s and bought a set of Magneplanars. When he write the check, the owner read the name on the check and said, "You're Philip K. Dick !?!?!  THE Philip K. Dick!?!?!" Philip looked down, shuffled a bit and said, "yah, that's me I guess." "Wow, I'm so impressed to meet you, I've always loved your work, I'm thrilled to have you as a customer!!!" "You mean, you know who I am and you'll still take my check?"  3) Philip was obsessed with questions of free will, memory and personal identity, and reality itself. 4) Philip's single most famous quote is, "Reality is that which refuses to go away when I stop believing in it."


Great acting, great director, compelling story, provocative, the movie is simply great.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 03, 2020, 10:48:37 AM
The Adjustment Bureau 2011

Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, based on The Adjustment Bureau by Philip K. Dick

Just as he is on the brink of winning a Senate seat, politician David Norris meets a ballerina named Elise Sellas and is completely smitten. However, fate seems to conspire to keep them apart; no matter how hard he tries, he just can't seem to keep in touch with her. Then he learns this is not fate, there are a group of people who can predict the future and are working to keep them apart. For reasons which are mysterious at best. What follows is an exciting chase / battle of wills where David will not be kept away from his soul mate and the Adjustment Bureau will seeming stop at nothing to keep them apart.

Here PKD explores questions of free will and self-determination. Do we actually have free will? Perhaps you'll be surprised to learn there is a serious academic debate on this point. Einstein, for example, did not believe in free will. Some neuro-physicists claim to have clear evidence using functional MRIs that choices are made before thought or reactions occur. Personally I believe in limited free will - I'm pretty sure we have free will and sometimes make actual choices that make actual differences - entertainingly, I think Einstein personifies this, as his theory of General Relativity (relativistic gravity) is so unusual in how it's formulated that 60 years later, Richard Feynman said, "If Einstein had not lived, I believe we wouldn't have this theory today." So to my mind Einstein made choices and made a clear difference, then denied that he made choices or made a difference. OTOH I strongly suspect that history or time or "the plan" has an enormous momentum and that many of the choices we think we make are not actual choices. Most of us here would claim we carefully think out our political positions; but on the topics of illegal immigration, abortion, globalism v. nationalism, military funding, individual rights v. social responsibility, gender identity, government regulations v. free economy, minimum wages and guaranteed basic income, universal health care, if you ask an american where they stand on any one of these seemingly unrelated issues you can with a great degree of certainty predict the rest of their opinions.

Thought provoking and highly entertaining. Romance, dialog, acting, character development, this movie checks off all the boxes. A great date night movie.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 03, 2020, 11:00:39 AM
Blade Runner - 1982

Starring a *very* young Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, directed by Ridley Scott.

Based on "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K Dick. When Philip K Dick saw the movie, he said, "It's definitely a Philip K Dick story. I didn't write it, but it's definitely one of mine."

Androids, "replicants," are extremely human like but with enhanced strength and speed. They're illegal and to be killed on sight. Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a cop charged with hunting down and destroying four replicants. As the story progresses, you wind up extremely unsure of who is human and who is a replicant. Can a machine have a soul? Can a machine experience love? If a machine looks human, acts human, falls in love, is it in fact human?

You've likely already seen this and have your own opinion about this movie. But it's universally considered one of the best science fiction movies ever, and like all Philip K Dick stories it's thought provoking on topics of basic reality. When you question the deep assumptions, like "we're human and human is different," you quickly find yourself debating very unusual and complicated philosophies.

I have to admit to you, I've never been a fan of Blade Runner.

If you want to experience Philip K. Dick at his most intense, try reading the book UBIK. This link will get you a copy of the book. Calibre will reformat it if necessary for you. Ubik is about a group of people who are dead and in cold storage - corpsicles - but who wake up and want out.

https://epdf.pub/queue/ubika3b3f5d4658ab8f77c916093c5fe19e429948.html
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 03, 2020, 08:34:46 PM
Paycheck 2003

Based on "Paycheck" by Philip K. Dick

Ben Affleck is an engineer who reverse engineers competitors products for corporations. He goes into seclusion, does his work, then has his memory wiped and gets a big paycheck for losing a couple months of his life. He takes on a much bigger job; this one will cost him 3 years of his life, but promises to pay off in stock options worth $100,000,000. After he's finished with the job he goes to collect his paycheck, but finds out that a month earlier he had signed away all the stock options and mailed himself an envelope with 20 seemingly worthless things on it. Shortly after getting the envelope he's picked up by the FBI who accuses him of stealing classified information and threatens to put him away forever for treason. In as much as he has no memory of the last three years, he can't defend himself. While he's being interrogated, one of the agents walks over to a table, finds Ben's envelope - which contains a pack of cigarettes - and lights one up. This sets off the smoke alarm, and that triggers a halon system and shuts down the electricity. No one can see anything. Ben runs over to the table and picks up the completely worthless cheap sunglasses he had mailed himself and puts them on. Suddenly he alone in the room can see, and the chase is on. More stuff in the envelope proves essential to making his escape. Now Ben has this mystery envelope of worthless crap - which saved his life - and both the corporation and the FBI out to get him and kill him or try him then kill him. John Woo directs, so the chase and fight scenes are all excellent. Turns out Ben also forgot the love of his life, who he met during the three years.

As Ben figures out quickly, what he built was a time viewer that lets him see the future. He also quickly realizes, based on another thing in the envelope, that the existence of the tine viewer leads inexorably to nuclear war. Now Ben wants the machine dead, and everyone else wants him dead. 'Cept the girl, Uma Thurman.

The big line in the movie is that if you can see the future, then you have no future. Because the future is hope.

I like this one a lot. I like Ben Affleck a lot. Another great date night movie, 'cause without Uma helping out at several key places he gets dead quickly. So, romance, drama, acting, chase scenes, sci-fi, what's not to love?

For the record I note that Rotten Tomatoes did not like it as much as I did, particularly the critics. Screw the critics, Siskal and Ebert are the only decent ones and Ebert is dead.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 03, 2020, 08:46:41 PM
The Man in the High Castle 2015-2019

Based on The Man in the High Castle by Philip K.Dick.

This is a tv show made by Amazon and available on Amazon. There are 4 seasons, 10 episodes per season. I watch season 1 several years ago and I lost interest. This story is about an alternate reality where Hitler has conquered the US east coast and Japan has conquered the US west coast, leaving only the Rocky mountain / Great Basin states free. It's quite highly rated. I took a free 1 month membership in Amazon prime and used it to binge watch season 1; I never went back for the subsequent seasons.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 04, 2020, 07:48:23 AM
For a movie that delves into the meaning of being human, watch "Ex Machina" by Alex Garland. Here is an interview with him about the process of writing the movie. He also did "Annihilation" which was another brainy, challenging sci-fi exploration of what it means to be human. Here's a link to the writing process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hakCBDQyMTo&t=522s
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on May 04, 2020, 09:53:09 AM
The Man in the High Castle 2015-2019

Based on The Man in the High Castle by Philip K.Dick.

This is a tv show made by Amazon and available on Amazon. There are 4 seasons, 10 episodes per season. I watch season 1 several years ago and I lost interest. This story is about an alternate reality where Hitler has conquered the US east coast and Japan has conquered the US west coast, leaving only the Rocky mountain / Great Basin states free. It's quite highly rated. I took a free 1 month membership in Amazon prime and used it to binge watch season 1; I never went back for the subsequent seasons.

You should go back and watch the rest. It got really good
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 04, 2020, 08:51:14 PM
Radio Free Albemuth - 2010

From Radio Free Albemuth by Philip K.Dick

It's the mid-80s and there's a president who seems a lot like Richard Nixon, 'cept he's on his 4th term and getting ready to run for a 5th term. He's all 1984, like more restrictions = more liberty. There's a guy who has visions which seem a bit hard to understand, but he believes he's been told to move from Berkeley to Los Angeles. So he packs up his wife and moves. He becomes a record executive where he runs into Alanis Morriset, who, go figger, has a great voice. Turns out she's having visions too. Then things get very weird, I'm not really clear on what happened or why except there's some aliens who are looking after us and telepathically communicating with a few of us and trying to make things better on Earth. Then Russia spots their satellite and blows it up. A good friend of the  our record exec and Alanis is Philip K. Dick, he's in his own book/movie. Again, I'm not really sure what it's about except the aliens have been around for thousands of years, they talked to every major prophet in history and a lot of other people, but they can't quite seem to hold back the tide. You know, Romans and Dark Ages and Hitler and Communism and stuff.

This is of course the great paradox of history: a few of us can live nicely as hunter-gatherers, but if you want the population to increase you need agriculture and government and laws and taxes and sharing and storage for the winter and all that civilization garbage, which makes men live twice as long and women live four times as long and babies survive but then we gotta do all this 8 hour work crap. Hunter-gatherers work only need to work a couple hours a day, but they don't get iPhones and penicillin. So there's some balance between work / safety / long life / freedom. Currently many of us think this virus thing has gone too far into the regulation / anti-freedom side.

A key part of this civilization thing is how good your parents were. Those of us who had very loving supportive parents tend to be more liberal and trusting of government; those of us who had more problematic upbringings tend to be far more skeptical of central authority. No matter which side of this you come down on, the sad truth is sociopaths are drawn to positions of power.

This movie is too weird, too poorly done. Only a good date night movie if you both need a nap. On the plus side the wife is seriously cute and was in an episode of House.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 04, 2020, 08:53:18 PM
For a movie that delves into the meaning of being human, watch "Ex Machina" by Alex Garland. Here is an interview with him about the process of writing the movie. He also did "Annihilation" which was another brainy, challenging sci-fi exploration of what it means to be human. Here's a link to the writing process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hakCBDQyMTo&t=522s

Of course I've seen both films, but astoundingly I never wrote up Ex Machina. I suppose I should. I did write up Annihilation, I didn't like it that well and it went over astoundingly poorly in the theater. You did like Annihilation.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 05, 2020, 06:26:10 PM
Next - 2007

Based on The Golden Man by Philip K.Dick

Nicholas Cage is a Las Vegas stage magician, except he can really do it - he's hiding in plain sight. He can see his future, 2 minutes in advance. Except for one weirdness - he sees a girl - Jessica Biel (I'd like to see her too) - several days in advance. Meanwhile, somehow an FBI agent (Julianne Moore) gets the idea that he's for real, and she needs help - somewhere in LA there's a bomb, she's gotta find it before 8 million people fry. She's after Cage, Cage is after Jessica, and then the bomb guys somehow catch onto this and they want Cage dead, so big chase scenes ensue.

If you can see your future, do you have a future? If looking at your future changes it, do you really see it?

Reviews were mixed, but I like it and so did my girlfriend. Date Night approved.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 05, 2020, 08:39:12 PM
Total Recall - 1990

Based on "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick

Arnold lives a boring laborer's life - except he gets to sleep every night with Sharon Stone. But he has these recurring dreams of Mars. He goes to Rekall, a company that implants memories of vacations, and buys a vacation memory as a secret agent on Mars, with a beautiful, demur but sleezy girl, Rachel Ticotin. But before they can implant the memory it all goes sideways, 'cause Arnold has had previous memory work done. As a secret agent he fights the Mars dictatorship and tried to set the populace free. Much action and fighting and chasing ensue. And, at the end, did it really happen? Did the equipment break down? Or was it all purchased memories, including the breakdowns?

It's great, of course.

There's a 2012 version, which has better special effects. I dunno why you would watch it, though.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 05, 2020, 08:46:04 PM
Impostor - 2001

based on Impostor by Philip K.Dick

Gary Sinise is married to Madeline Stowe. On Tuesday evening he went to bed an acclaimed and well-respected scientist. On Wednesday morning, he woke up public enemy number-one. What is reality?

I saw this 15 years ago. Unfortunately I don't own a copy and I can't find it to stream. I liked it. The reviews were luke-warm.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 08, 2020, 09:01:43 PM
Inception - 2010

Christopher Nolan.

Leonardo DiCaprio gets into people's dreams and steals ideas, then sells them to corporate pigs for $$$. 'Cept a couple things: his wife, the love of his life, worked with him, but something went very wrong and she got dead. Lotsa guilt all over his dreams. And he's working a job and it goes very wrong, now he has to do another job or it would be bad. The new job involves getting into a guy's dream, then inducing a deeper dream from the dream state, then a yet deeper dream from that dream state. Very risky. Very hard to keep track of. 4, well 5 actually, "realities" to keep track of, all going simultaneously. Or maybe 6.

Reality is melting all over the place. It's not an easy film to watch, you have to pay careful attention. As a date night film, well, it put my girlfriend asleep. If Philip K.Dick saw it he would definitely be envious that he didn't write it.

By the end you've almost lost track and you're not sure where you left reality. That's ok, so has everyone else, including the characters.

Very highly rated, everyone loves it. Me personally, I think it's pretty good but not the best of the decade or nothin' like that.

Dr.Strange stole liberally from Inception's special effects.

OTOH, everyone stole liberally from The Matrix's special effects. Even Shrek, for God's sake.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 13, 2020, 08:43:41 AM
Batwoman & Supergirl: (The CW, a TV show)

Batwoman has settled in a bit, I'm still watching it. It has it's moments, both good and bad. The lesbian thing is a big part of the drama - there's an all-girl love triangle now - but the villains and action are getting better.

Supergirl has, imho, completely gone off the rails. Since the Crisis Lex Luther is hiding in plain sight as a good guy, but he's scheming with some super-powered eternals to kill off all the kryptonians and take over the earth. Brainiac, our 12th level intellect, has been completely sucked in by Lex's plot. The action is pretty strange, and about half of each episode is about gays or trans. I just can't identify. Even the ads are about new drugs to control AIDS - again, I can't identify. Can you actually make money making a tv series for 4% of the population? Apparently you can. . .

Starting next week there's a new show, Star Girl, which looks to be teen drama. I'll watch a couple, we'll see.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 15, 2020, 11:00:21 PM
Fantastic Beasts & Crimes of Grindelwald

These are prequels to the Harry Potter series. The Harry Potter series starts when Harry is 11, which is 1991, and runs for seven years until 1998. In the books at least. Fantastic Beasts is in 1926, and Crimes is in 1927.

J.K.Rowling says she was imagining Hogwarts and Harry etc when she was a little girl walking in the woods in the mid-'70s. She started writing the books in 1996, some twenty years later. By then it's clear she had the basic plot line of all seven books worked out, perhaps not in detail but certainly in broad scope. Unfortunately it's clear she is making up a lot of the new series as she goes. Crimes is widely considered thin and disappointing by the Pottermore community.

So far the series revolves around four main characters - Newt Scamander, who wrote the book "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." Credence Barebones, a young wizard orphan raised by a nasty piece of work who hates witches; Dumbledore; and Grindelwald, who was Dumbledore's gay lover around 1899 and then turned into a serious problem for the wizarding community as he was yet another proponent of the idea that magic people should rule the planet with us muggles as their worker bees.

The first movie introduces us to Scamander and Credence; Scamander is a lovable tweed-jacket sort who's more or less oblivious to the people around him and completely absorbed in the world of magical beasts; and Credence, raised in a hateful house, who becomes an emotional wreck and develops perhaps the strongest magical powers on the planet, but the powers only come out when he's threatened and angry. Kinda the Hulk of the magic world. It's an amusing movie, but has none of the richness or detail of the Potter movies. Taken on its own it's entertaining enough, but compared to the Potter movies it's rather thin.

The second movie revolves around the mystery of the adopted Credence - who is he, where did he come from? - and the emergence of Grindelwald as a serious threat to the established powers. Near the end of the movie Grindelwald correctly predicts WW II and its various horrors including nukes, and tells people if the magics don't take over this is their future. We're given a story about who Credence is, but they story is proven incorrect. At the very end Grindelwald reveals that Credence is actually Dumbledore's younger brother, Aurelius. Unfortunately, this is pretty much impossible. 1) Dumbledore is known to have stood in front of the mirror of Erised, where he saw his family put back together and happy. There was no Aurelius. 2) Ariana killed Dumbledore's mother, Kendra, a muggle, in 1899. Aurelius was born in 1901. 3) Dumbledore's father was sent to Azkaban in 1891 where he died. Azkaban does not have conjugal visits. 4) Ariana, Dumbledore's sister, was born in 1885, apparently raped at age 6 in 1891, and died at age 14 in 1899, having spent the previous eight years secreted away in the Dumbledore's basement. She was not Aurelius' mother. 5) Aberforth was born in about 1883, so would have been about 18 when Aurelius was born; but it's hard to imagine with both parents and a sister dead that he abandons his son. 6) And dumbledore himself is gay and has enormous guilt over his part in the death of his sister; it's unimaginable that he's Aurelius' father but abandons him.

Basically the second movie sets up a story which makes absolutely no sense. The second movie also sets up the famous dual between Dumbledore and Gindelwald, considered the greatest wizard dual in recorded history, but that dual doesn't happen until 1945, nearly twenty years later.

We have a sub-plot of the witch Queenie falling in love with the muggle Jacob and wanting nothing more than to get married and have a family, but then she gets seduced by Grindelwald's vision of magic supremacy and leaves Jacob. A woman who feels isolated and unloved finds her true love, her soul mate, the father of her future children, but dumps him over politics? Not the women I know, that's all I can say.

Also we're treated to Mcgonagall being an established teacher at Hogwarts in 1927, even though she was born in 1935. I've taught classes, but not until my mid-20s, I certainly was in no shape to teach eight years before I was born. Perhaps that's a personal failing. . .

Overall, crimes has a broken up plot, it winds around in various directions with no clear goal, and puts together a story that contradicts large portions of the Potter universe.

If you're a huge Harry Potter fan, you've already seen the movies and I expect formed your own opinion. If you're not, well, your kids (or grandkids) will like the movies for the beasts and the special effects, but as engaging stories go they're big disappointments. Rawlings has herself acknowledged that she needs to do better. Fantastic beasts took in $815 million on costs of $200 million, and Crimes took in $615 million on costs of $200 million, so it's a certainty a third film will be made. Rawlings is going to have to step up her game substantially if she wants three more movies made, as she has promised.

Sorry, but we've already established I care about details like the laws of physics and people not being active in movies before they're born or having children after they're dead. I don't mind warp drive or spells, I'm willing to suspend disbelief to allow a good movie to be made, but really, I think it's essential that your parents were alive when you were born.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 15, 2020, 11:58:36 PM
Don't like a movie where the child is born before the parents are alive? Try "Predestination". It's based on the Phillip K. Dick short story "All You Zombies". Weird and convoluted, and I didn't buy the main character as a gender swap, but interesting.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 16, 2020, 12:32:43 PM
Robert Heinlein, not Philip k. Dick
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 16, 2020, 03:12:49 PM
Robert Heinlein, not Philip k. Dick

Oops.  :-[ Apparently another manifestation of the "Mandela Effect."
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 16, 2020, 09:11:48 PM
About Time 2013

Bill (ron's older brother), on his 21st birthday, is told by his dad Scrimgeour (minister of magic) that he has the ability to travel back in time. and sure enough, he does. He goes into a small dark place, clenches his fists and thinks of a time and he's there. Again. Bill moves to London, rents a room from a playwrite, and becomes a lawyer. He meets a great girl (Rachel McAdams) and figures he's off and running, but his friend the playwrite has his play bomb because Uncle Vernon forgets his lines and screws up the entire play. So Bill goes back in time and fixes it, the play is a hit, but now he doesn't meet Rachel, he's screwed. A bit of complicated bouncing around and he meets her again. They get married and have a kid, and he discovers he has a limitation - he goes back in time to fix a problem, when he gets back his 1 y/o daughter is now a son. His dad explains to him that changing the past changes everything, like which exact sperm did it. A bit of bouncing around and the daughter is back, now more drama and learning ensue.

It's kinda of like Groundhog Day minus the steroids.

It's a romance / parable, so a good date night movie. Not much action - a couple punches, that's it. Character development is a bit strained as we're watching 12 or 15 years of this guy's life in a 2 hour movie.

A good date night movie. I don't think you want to watch it on your own; 1) it's not *that* good, and 2) you wasted a good date night movie.

You watch enough movies, pretty quick you know most of the good british actors. They're used a lot over and over 'cause they work much cheaper than us yanks.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 22, 2020, 08:01:50 PM
Mud 2012

A couple young boys are out on the bayou and find a guy living on an island in the trees - "Mud," Matthew McConaughey. Quickly we learn there's road blocks and a manhunt for him. Mud allows that he shot a guy in Texas who was mistreating a girl. The plot thickens from there as the two young boys take a liking to him and try to help him get out of Arkansas.

Romance and love gone wrong are a constant theme of this movie - Mud's love of his life is untrue and got him into this mess, one of the boy's (Tye Sheridan) parents are splitting up, and the same boy has his own girlfriend troubles. This is more or less Tye's first movie, and he's gone on from here to have quite a career, including starring in Spielberg's Ready Player One.

I like to put it like this: about a third of us had decent parents and a decent upbringing, where we learned to be treated decently and treat others decently. Those people tend to grow up, pair off and stay married - 'cause why would you leave a decent person who treats you decently? The other two-thirds of us, well, we bounce off each other like a bunch of superballs in a paint mixer. This movie is about the other two-thirds.

A very enjoyable movie, and great for date night. Maybe not so great for kids - adult themes and no small amount of a jaundiced view of love and relationships. Why give 'em fair warning? Let 'em learn the hard way, like the rest of us. Else who will keep the divorce lawyers buying new porsches?

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 22, 2020, 09:24:38 PM
Mud 2012

A couple young boys are out on the bayou and find a guy living on an island in the trees - "Mud," Matthew McConaughey. Quickly we learn there's road blocks and a manhunt for him. Mud allows that he shot a guy in Texas who was mistreating a girl. The plot thickens from there as the two young boys take a liking to him and try to help him get out of Arkansas.

Romance and love gone wrong are a constant theme of this movie - Mud's love of his life is untrue and got him into this mess, one of the boy's (Tye Sheridan) parents are splitting up, and the same boy has his own girlfriend troubles. This is more or less Tye's first movie, and he's gone on from here to have quite a career, including starring in Spielberg's Ready Player One.

I like to put it like this: about a third of us had decent parents and a decent upbringing, where we learned to be treated decently and treat others decently. Those people tend to grow up, pair off and stay married - 'cause why would you leave a decent person who treats you decently? The other two-thirds of us, well, we bounce off each other like a bunch of superballs in a paint mixer. This movie is about the other two-thirds.

A very enjoyable movie, and great for date night. Maybe not so great for kids - adult themes and no small amount of a jaundiced view of love and relationships. Why give 'em fair warning? Let 'em learn the hard way, like the rest of us. Else who will keep the divorce lawyers buying new porsches?

Somebody needs a hug!
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 23, 2020, 02:45:19 PM
Drive 2011

Ryan Gosling is The Man With No Name, a stunt driver who moonlights as a get away driver. He gets involved with his very cute neighbor who's a single mom (that never ends well.) Then her husband gets out of prison (oops - maybe not exactly single) and hubby has to do one last job to be free, and needs a driver. Things get very sticky and complicated - the job is not what was advertised, everyone is lying, and things go very south.

Ryan speaks about 50 words total in the whole film - he's Clint in a spaghetti western except with an impala instead of a horse and a toothpick instead of a weird thin cigar. Oscar Isaac is the husband gone wrong - seems like he's in everything these days, and interestingly he never looks like the same guy. This movie, ex machina, star wars, x-men apocalypse, he doesn't even seem recognizably the same guy, he's a real chameleon. The driving is very good. Maybe not quite as good as baby driver, but very good.

It was a fun diversion, and my girlfriend liked it. A bit violent for young kids.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 23, 2020, 07:09:27 PM
Enemy 2014

Directed by Dennis Villeneuve, who has a well earned reputation for making excellent films.

Jake Gyllenhaal is a bored and boring history teacher, Adam, at U Toronto. He has a girlfriend, but she disappears immediately after sex every time. Then Adam discovers "he's" in a movie. The movie credit leads him to Anthony Claire, a bit part actor with a pregnant wife who's a bit paranoid. Adam and Anthony confront each other and discover they're identical, down to even haircuts, beards, matching scars.

This is not an easy movie if you want to understand it, and I must admit it's not obvious I understand it. Are Adam and Anthony two separate people, or one person leading two lives? In addition there's a theme running through the movie of spiders which I personally find a little hard to follow. If you're looking for relaxing mindless entertainment, this is not your beautiful movie. OTOH if you and your wife like watching a movie then talking over coffee for 45 minutes about what it meant, then this is for you. There are significant clues throughout the movie that are tricky to catch and seem to point to an answer, but at the same time there are things that seem out of place for that answer, and then there's the spider theme which I really didn't catch on to. For example, we meet mom, and if you listen closely she insists she has one son who has one mother, but at the same time she references details that apply to each of Adam and Anthony seemingly separately.

If you want to watch a movie in the David Lynch tradition which will mess with your mind and leave you with more questions than answers, then this is your beautiful movie.

Or you could just watch Bruce Willis shoot up a bunch of bad guys. No deep questions there. Good guys = Bruce. Bad guys = bad.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 23, 2020, 08:04:27 PM
In case you're interested: https://www.thisisbarry.com/film/enemy-2013-movie-plot-ending-explained/
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 23, 2020, 09:28:25 PM
In case you're interested: https://www.thisisbarry.com/film/enemy-2013-movie-plot-ending-explained/


That's quite good. I'd figured out about 85% of that. The explanation tied up a few loose ends for me.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 23, 2020, 09:58:48 PM
Arrival - 2016

by Dennis Villeneuve, same guy that did Enemy.

Based on the short story, "The story of your life"  by Ted Chiang.

Ted went to Brown University, one of the Ivy League, to study Computer Science. (Alan Kay, the guy who invented graphical user interfaces, mice, pull down menus, and pretty much everything else we take for granted today, once said, 'Paul Erdos once said a mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems. If that's true, then a computer scientist is a machine for turning coffee into urine.') Along the way Ted studied a bit of physics. The short story is full of advanced physics - lagrangian formulations of mechanics, and the idea that some race might see things as lagrangians instead of the force and momentum model we use, invented by Newton.  Not being a graduate level physicist, Ted doesn't quite get this lagrangian thing, but that's not really important. In any case, the movie leaves essentially all the physics out of the story and still manages to make all the same points, perhaps not quite as compellingly, but in a way that my non-technical girlfriend gets, as opposed to the quantum field theory that she understands about as well as, well, quantum field theory. Anyway, the short story is really good and won all the usual sci-fi awards, hugos and nebulas and things like that.

On to the movie. Aliens arrive on earth, 12 ships, 12 locations. "Our" aliens land in a huge field in Montana. Of course the military immediately takes over the site, cordons off several square miles, and brings in a bunch of tanks and helicopters 'cause aliens that can travel faster than light and cover dozens of light years as easily as we go to Olive Garden, those aliens of course are simply terrified by helicopters and tanks and (gasp!!!) automatic assault weapons. Terrified. Meanwhile, the military scours the earth for "top people" to learn to communicate with the aliens. They get a linguist and a physicist; unfortunately after the first meeting the linguist has to be carted off on a stretcher to a helicopter and put into a nursing home where he can die quietly and peacefully of covid-19. So they get a backup linguist, Amy Adams. She quickly breaks all the military rules (women, right?) and has, among all the 12 teams working with the 12 ships, the first real breakthrough in communication. As she learns to talk with them she finds herself gripped by extremely realistic dreams of a daughter she has never had; seeing the daughter's life from birth through toddlerhood, elementary school, become a somewhat impressive teen with notable artistic skills, then die very young of an incurable, unstoppable rare disease. Amy has strong reactions to these dreams which are dreams yet extremely compelling. While she's trying to figure out if the aliens think as individuals or as a collective mind, if they use nouns and verbs, if they understand the idea of intent, meanwhile the military geniuses are pushing her to ask the rather subtle and advanced questions "Who are you, where are you from, why are you here, what is your purpose?" And threatening at every stage to blow everything up and show those faster-than-light gravity-defying aliens who has the real destructive power. 'Cause tanks and C4 and assault weapons (apparently even the aliens have heard of the massive danger posed by assault weapons).

The story goes to a point where Amy's best translation of their response to "what is your purpose" is "give weapon." She tries to calmly point out that "give" is ambiguous, are they offering or asking? and "weapon" could easily mean "tool." But the military mind is having none of that candy-ass liberal speak, all 12 nations who are investigating immediately shut off all communication with each other and start plotting how to blow up the alien ships, which, as previously noted, float on air and obviously include complete control of gravity internally. Boy, just wait till those aliens find out about 5.56mm rounds.

This is when things get really interesting, but I don't include spoilers so find out for yourself.

This movie was a big hit, everyone loved it. It's a bit tricky but only 10% as tricky as "enemy." For which apparently you need a cheat sheet, which ricky obligingly offered.

Highly recommended.

Quantum field theory lagrangians strictly optional.

physics stuff: (optional reading)

Newton gave us F = ma, which says if you push something hard enough, it will fall over. That's how engineers and red neck mechanics think, and it's what feminists hate about physics: that it's all about pushing things and force, just way too male.

Einstein's relativity made this equation much harder to work with. In relativity the acceleration is not in the same direction as the force. That's because mass is a function of speed, and an object's speed and therefore mass is different in its direction of travel than in other directions.

When we made quantum field theory, which is the relativistic version of quantum mechanics, now everything is a wave potentially travelling at relativistic velocities and things are popping into and out of existence. F = ma is useless. A completely new approach was needed. Fortunately LaGrange had supplied the needed approach way back in 1788. He noticed that the path objects took was the path of least energy. In his version of physics you look at every possible path an object can take, add up the energy for each path, and the path the object actually will take is the one with the lowest energy. So the feminist argument about physics being too male 'cause all the forces and pushing and such hasn't been how we do things since 1948. In fact the rules of physics today, in Feynman's words, are 1) Anything that can happen does happen; and 2) anything can happen. Although forces and pushing and such become extremely complicated in relativistic quantum mechanics, energy is a very simple thing. And unlike a force, which has both a direction and an amount, like the wind, energy is just a single number, like temperature. So physics has stopped trying to calculate the path of a paper airplane being tossed about by the eddy currents and swirls of the relativistic wind and now just says particles look for the lowest temperature path and take it.

The issue here is it seems the particles must "sniff out" all possible paths to find the lowest energy. It seems like the particles must know both their beginning and ending positions in order to consider all the paths - thus this idea of Chang's that particles and these aliens must know their own future. This is not quite right. A more accurate statement is that over the course of a couple of wavelengths this all gets sorted out. However, if you consider what a photon does on a path that's less than a couple of wavelengths long, over that journey the light does not at all necessarily take a straight line, nor does it move at the speed of light. Straight lines and the speed of light are only well defined for longer paths.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 24, 2020, 01:58:53 PM
Good Time - 2017

Connie (Robert Patterson, the pretty boy in Twilight and Harry Potter 4) is a small time crook. He needs money for a bail bondsman. So he and his retarded brother hold up a bank. The money blows up all purple, of course, and it's all down hill from there. We follow Connie for 24 hours as he runs around through the underworld trying to scam $10k somehow, somewhere. Nothing goes right. As his plans are formed on the spot from greed and need, they're, shall we say, not very well thought out.

Good Time is very highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes, but I have no clue why. It's a 2 hour movie about people who are variously addicted to drama, addicted to drugs, retarded, or just plain losers. I dunno, I guess about a quarter of the country lives like this. I could barely watch it.

Patterson does a good job of acting. That's all I got.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 24, 2020, 09:31:37 PM
The Place Beyond the Pines - 2012

Ryan Gosling, seen just yesterday in Drive, is back. He rides a motorcycle in a circus act - the sphere of death thing. And travels from city to city with the circus. Along the way he meets Eva Mendes and knocks her up. When he comes back to town a year later there's a baby, eva has a new boyfriend, and Ryan feels like he's screwing up. So he decides to quit the circus, hang out, and win mom and the kid back. Which, this takes money so he starts robbing banks. That's when he runs into a cop, Bradley Cooper. And things get very complicated.

This is a really great movie. There's several more excellent actors, lots of twists and turns, the plot is very unexpected. The acting is great, character development, dialog, plot, action, this movie has it all.

Just see it.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 24, 2020, 10:41:10 PM
The Place Beyond the Pines - 2012

Ryan Gosling, seen just yesterday in Drive, is back. He rides a motorcycle in a circus act - the sphere of death thing. And travels from city to city with the circus. Along the way he meets Eva Mendes and knocks her up. When he comes back to town a year later there's a baby, eva has a new boyfriend, and Ryan feels like he's screwing up. So he decides to quit the circus, hang out, and win mom and the kid back. Which, this takes money so he starts robbing banks. That's when he runs into a cop, Bradley Cooper. And things get very complicated.

This is a really great movie. There's several more excellent actors, lots of twists and turns, the plot is very unexpected. The acting is great, character development, dialog, plot, action, this movie has it all.

Just see it.

I have, and it really is terrific. Similar, and with a great (and very scary) performance by Woody Harrelson is "Out of the Furnace." And I just saw "Dragged Across Concrete", which was much different than I expected. A slow, deliberate movie, once you get hooked, it'll carry you along for a tense, unexpected climax.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 25, 2020, 05:47:13 PM
John Carter - 2012

Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote two famous series - Tarzan and John Carter of Mars.

John Carter is a civil war soldier who happens into a cave in Arizona at just the wrong moment and gets teleported to Mars. There he finds two warring cities, which are fighting over as near as I can figure out a wedding. The cities are "red" and "blue," appropriately enough. They're populated by humans. He also meets the tharks, a bunch of 12 foot tall green martians who aren't on very good terms with either the reds or the blues. Also he meets the Therns, a groups of immortals who apparently love to hang out on a planet, cause chaos and overpopulation, then feed somehow off the death of the planet. They're on Mars 'cause mars is dying. With their help.

A whole bunch of running around and fighting ensues, which I was unable to follow. You can tell the good guys 'cause it's the pretty girl, the princess of Helium. Also they're the reds, so you know they're ok. The blues are lying scum, of course.

Disney spent somewhere around $350m - $400m on this film, and took a write-down for $200m on it. There won't be any sequels. I was told although a box office failure, it was actually pretty decent. I did not find it so. I have no trouble understanding why the movie failed to become the next Star Wars. Obtuse plot, senseless violence, no clear bad guy, and a weird culture that has some kind of very advanced flight and ray guns but still prefers to fight with swords.

You can skip this one without fear of regret.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 25, 2020, 08:15:52 PM
Steve Jobs - 2015

This was not a particularly easy movie for me to watch. It was, however, very compelling.

I have several friends who reported directly to Steve, so second hand I've heard a lot of stories. My friends, btw, have a lot more money than I do - I would have done a lot better financially in life had I worked for Jobs or Gates or Lucas. Oh well.

Steve was not a nice guy. He was a genius who would tolerate nothing less than excellence - his favorite saying was, "We're going to make something insanely great." Here's a couple of Jobs stories that were not in the movie. He would tell his software designers, "Rule #1, the user lost the manual. Rule #2, he didn't read it before he lost it." If you got a promotion to management at Apple, the second or third day on the job he would come into your office, sit on the corner of your desk, and say, "So, you're part of Apple management now. Congratulations. Let me tell you what that means. Suppose you came into work today and your trash can was full. So you go down the hall and ask the janitor, 'Why didn't you empty my trash can?' He says, 'Oh, when they gave you that office they changed the keys and I don't have a key yet.' He has a reason. Reasons are for janitors. You're part of Apple management. You don't get reasons. You get results."

This movie was about Steve the flawed human being. He was notoriously difficult with his daughter and we get to see a lot of that. He was hugely intolerant of people who didn't deliver (my friends all delivered, and reported that they never had a problem with Steve). He had a world view and was intolerant of people who didn't share his world view.

Frankly I'm a rather flawed human being - my son, a mechanical engineer, likes to say "If you over stress metal, it's never the same and it doesn't really work well ever again. As I see it, you're like that." This is why watching the movie was difficult for me.

The movie was excellent, the acting was top-notch, we get real insight into some facets of Steve. But I can't recommend it, 'cause I don't know how you'll react to it.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 26, 2020, 08:05:32 PM
Haywire - 2011

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, who also did Contagion,  Sex, Lies, and Videotape Traffic,  Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen

Starring Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton   

Gino Carano stars in this movie. She's a mixed marshall artist who was in the highest rated women's fight ever. She's also been in FAST AND FURIOUS 6, HEIST, DEADPOOL and THE MANDALORIAN.

So what we have here is a great director with an all-star cast. Making a movie. Which I never did quite figure out. Apparently I wasn't supposed to, as near the end Ewan McGregor is trapped and forced to explain what had happened.

The fight scenes are quite good. Gino knows how to fight, both real and for movies. The only unrealistic part is, as usual, people get hit fifteen times and keep coming back for more. You don't need to practice marshal arts for ten years so that you can hit someone fifteen times and they don't go down - a completely untrained person can do that.

Anyway, the plot was undecipherable, the dialog was forced, there was no time to develop any characters, the acting was unimportant, but the fights were good. The driving was ok too.

Overall, waste of an evening.

I'm working down a list of films which are highly recommended but many of which I've never heard of. Several have been very decent, a couple were excellent; this was one of the dogs.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 26, 2020, 08:20:51 PM
Star Girl

A new series on the CW. You can stream the first two episodes on CWTV.com.

Star Girl is struggling to find its footing. Ten years ago the Justice Society of America fought the Injustice Society. The bad guys won. The good guys got dead. Now Courtney is fifteen, her mom has remarried a dweeb with a son, and they packed everyone up from LA and moved to a little town in Nebraska. Seriously, Nebraska. I have previously written about Nebraska, "If you're driving along and the wind stops blowing or you see a tree, pull over immediately. That's a road hallucination." Anyway, turns out dweeb stepdad was Star Man's side kick and he's got the Cosmic Rod. The Rod refuses to work for anyone else until Courtney happens upon it; then it lights up and she's Star Girl with Powers and Stuff. And the Bad Guys find out the Rod is back and set out to kill her.

I dunno what's going on. In episode 2 one of the bad guys surfaces, he has mental powers - throwing large objects around, reading minds, causing strokes. He tells her if she doesn't hand over the Rod he'll kill her mother. At that point, if it's me, he's a dead man walking. But she's a teen hero so no one dies.

Her step dad suddenly shows up with a huge robot that he sits inside of, he's her sidekick, so they're buddies now.

I dunno if it's about teen angst or super powers or bad guys or weird si fi comedy or what. The show producers don't seem to know either. I guess we'll see. At least there's not a monkey bars full of gays and trans. It being Nebraska. Which, I think if you grow up gay in Nebraska, at 18 you take the first bus out.

Bat Woman meanwhile found some footing, it was getting pretty decent by the season ending. Then Ruby Rose, the star, quit the day after the last show. Too much work, apparently. She thought everyone on the show was bullies, they thought she was a whiner. The ratings were pretty good so I guess they'll replace her. I dunno how I feel about that. I was used to her; on the other hand, as Hermione once said of Ron, she had the emotional range of a teaspoon.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 27, 2020, 06:21:16 PM
Hell or High Water - 2016

Chris Pine (Capt. Kirk, Wonder Woman's Main Squeeze) and his low-life brother are robbing banks. Jeff Bridges is a Texas Ranger (One Ranger, One Riot) three weeks from retirement who's determined to catch the robbers. The movie seems to start out as a standard buddies-gone-bad film, like Butch Cassidy, but develops into a rather serious psycho-drama. The ending is simply amazing. There's kinda two endings, and actually both are amazing. The first amazing ending, that's not for young kids.

Acting, character development, dialog, drama, action, it's all here

Line of the movie: Jeff: "This will haunt you for the rest of your life. Just as it will haunt me." Chris: "I've got a house in town. Come by some time and I'll give you peace." Jeff: "Or maybe I'll give you peace."

Just see it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 27, 2020, 07:00:53 PM
Hell or High Water - 2016

Chris Pine (Capt. Kirk, Wonder Woman's Main Squeeze) and his low-life brother are robbing banks. Jeff Bridges is a Texas Ranger (One Ranger, One Riot) three weeks from retirement who's determined to catch the robbers. The movie seems to start out as a standard buddies-gone-bad film, like Butch Cassidy, but develops into a rather serious psycho-drama. The ending is simply amazing. There's kinda two endings, and actually both are amazing. The first amazing ending, that's not for young kids.

Acting, character development, dialog, drama, action, it's all here

Line of the movie: Jeff: "This will haunt you for the rest of your life. Just as it will haunt me." Chris: "I've got a house in town. Come by some time and I'll give you peace." Jeff: "Or maybe I'll give you peace."

Just see it.

Another excellent movie. The subtext of the bank foreclosure crisis, and it's effect on real people, is a key component of the plot. Ben Foster plays the brother- he does tough guy/bad guy roles very well. But underneath, he also has a certain charm that makes him hard to hate. This is part of Taylor Sheridan's "western trilogy of "Hell or High Water", "Sicario" and the excellent but generally unknown "Wind River". Rugged movies that don't pull any punches.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 27, 2020, 07:33:59 PM
This is part of Taylor Sheridan's "western trilogy of "Hell or High Water", "Sicario" and the excellent but generally unknown "Wind River". Rugged movies that don't pull any punches.

Surprisingly I find I haven't reviewed the other two. I will. Wind River was very affecting.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 27, 2020, 08:11:19 PM
The movies I've reviewed to date:

"-" - no.
" " - so-so, you won't regret it but you won't love it.
"+" - pretty good, go ahead and see it.
"++" - don't miss it.

+ 1917
+ A Quiet Place
+ A Simple Favor
  A Star Is Born, V4
- A Wrinkle in Time
- About Time 2013
- Ad Astra
- Adrift
- Aladdin (2019)
- alita battle angel
  Alpha
- American Animals
- Annihilation
+ Ant Man and the Wasp.
- Any Given Sunday - 1999
+ Aquaman
+ Arctic
+ Arrival - 2016
++ Avatar
++ Avengers Infinity War.
++ Avengers: Endgame
+ Bad Samaritan
  Batwoman & Supergirl: (The CW, a TV show)
- Beirut
- Birds of Prey
- Blade Runner - 1982
  Bohemian Rhapsody
+ Call of the wild.
  Captain Marvel
+ Chappaquiddick
- Christopher Robin
- Cold Pursuit
+ Contagion (2011)
- Crazy Rich Asians
- Dark Phoenix
  Deadpool 2
+ Death Wish
+ Destroyer
- Dog Days
- Downfall
+ Drive 2011
+ El Camino - Breaking Bad
- Enemy 2014
- Entebbe
- Equalizer 2
+ Fantastic Beasts & Crimes of Grindelwald
+ First man
+ Ford v. Ferrari
  Frozen II:
+ Game Night.
++ Girl, Interrupted
+ Glass
- Good Time - 2017
- Haywire - 2011
++ Hell or High Water - 2016
- Hereditary
  Hobbs and Shaw
- Hurricane Heist
+ I can only imagine
  Impostor - 2001
+ Inception - 2010
++ Incredibles 2
+ Inglourius Basterds
- John Carter - 2012
- John wick 3: parabellum
+ Joker
  Jumanji: The Next Level
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
- Kings
+ Knives Out
- Krypton
++ Life as a House
+ Little Women - 2019
+ Malificent ii
- Mary Poppins Returns
- Men in Black International
++ Minority Report 2002
++ Mission Impossible: Fallout
- Mission of Honor
- Mortal Engines
+ Mud 2012
+ Next - 2007
++ Nobody's Fool - 1994
  Ocean's 8
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
- Overboard
- Pacific Rim
+ Paycheck 2003
+ Professor Marston and the wonder women
- Radio Free Albemuth - 2010
- Rampage
+ Ready Player One
+ Real Genius (1985)
- Red Son
+ Red Sparrow
- Reprisal
  Rocketman
  Rookie
+ Searching
- Shazam
  Siberia
  Sicario 2
+ Skyscraper
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Speed Kills
+ Spider man: far from home
+ Spider-Man into the spider verse
  Star Girl
+ Steve Jobs - 2015
+ Tag
- Teen Titans Go!
++ The Accountant 2016
++ The Adjustment Bureau 2011
- The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  The catcher was a spy
- The Cloverfield Paradox
  The crimes of grindlewald.
- The Darkest Minds
- The Death of Stalin
  The Game Changers.
+ The Good Liar
+ The green book
- The Happytime Murders
- The Harley Quinn movie.
  The House with a Clock in the Walls
- The Humanity Bureau
+ The Man in the High Castle 2015-2019
++ The Man Without a Face
+ The Mandalorian
  The Meg
  The mule
++ The Place Beyond the Pines - 2012
- The Purge
+ The Rise of Skywalker
++ The Shipping News - 2001
  The Spy who Dumped Me
+ The Way Back.
- Tomb Raider
++ Total Recall - 1990
- Toy Story 4
- Tully
+ Upgrade
  Venom
+ Vertigo
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on May 28, 2020, 01:49:47 PM
Hell or High Water - 2016

Chris Pine (Capt. Kirk, Wonder Woman's Main Squeeze) and his low-life brother are robbing banks. Jeff Bridges is a Texas Ranger (One Ranger, One Riot) three weeks from retirement who's determined to catch the robbers. The movie seems to start out as a standard buddies-gone-bad film, like Butch Cassidy, but develops into a rather serious psycho-drama. The ending is simply amazing. There's kinda two endings, and actually both are amazing. The first amazing ending, that's not for young kids.

Acting, character development, dialog, drama, action, it's all here

Line of the movie: Jeff: "This will haunt you for the rest of your life. Just as it will haunt me." Chris: "I've got a house in town. Come by some time and I'll give you peace." Jeff: "Or maybe I'll give you peace."

Just see it.

I saw this one and totally agree.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 29, 2020, 05:48:15 PM
Wind River - 2017

by Taylor Sheridan, the guy who did Hell or High Water.

Jeremy Renner (Haweye) is out hunting on an indian reservation in Wyoming and comes across a girl frozen to death in a field, barefoot, 3 miles from the nearest house. Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch, sister of Mary Kate and Ashley) comes out from the Las Vegas FBI office to help out. The frozen woman was raped and beaten and apparently escaped, then ran until she died. And now the hunt is on. Two years earlier Renner's daughter died under similar and mysterious circumstances, and the frozen girl and Renner's daughter were best friends. Renner and the girl's father are also good friends. Renner is extremely motivated.

Lots of twists and turns in this movie. Excellent acting, character development, dialog, action, plot. This is a great movie.

Just see it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 29, 2020, 09:08:41 PM
Great Expectations - 2012

Based on the serialization by Charles Dickens.

There have been at least four versions of this. The 2012 version is pretty true to the book, but harder to follow.

Today we read Great Expectations as a novel; but originally it was released a few pages a week as a feature in a newspaper. This version follows that format in the sense that every 20 minutes or so in the movie some new major plot twist is revealed, just as you would write it if you wanted people to keep buying newspapers every week all year long.

We get Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix) as Miss Havershim, Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) as Magwitch, Robbie Coltraine (Hagrid) as Jaggers, and a bunch of other people filling in the other spots. As I've said before, there's a limited number of great british actors so we keep seeing them over and over.

Pip, a young boy, gets accosted by an escaped convict in chains, in a graveyard while visiting the graves of his dead parents. He's ordered to come back tomorrow with a file. Pip does come back the next day with a file, a pork pie and a small bottle of bourbon. The convict gets picked back up just a few hours later, but always remembers Pip as the only person who was ever nice to him.

A few weeks later Pip is brought to Miss Havershim's mansion to be a playmate for Estella. Miss Havershim is a complete wack job; many years earlier she was left at the alter by the love of her life, and she's stayed indoors, wearing her wedding dress, and keeping the bridal banquet table laid out for all the years since. Estella is an orphan Miss Havershim adopted to have someone around to love and turn into the next generation of wack job. Pip inevitably falls completely in love with Estella, who was born bred and trained to be an ice maiden.

Years later Pip is grown and contacted by a lawyer from London who has a bequest for him - he's given money and lessons and introductions and turned into a gentleman. With the stipulation that he's never to try to find out from where the money came. Pip jumps into his new life with great vigor, doing his best to become a gentleman, that is, a drunken party boy with money and no skills beyond being well dressed and charming.

Now it all gets complicated.

This version was done with relatively thick british accents, and I found it a bit difficult to follow. It was ok, not great - sorry, it didn't quite meet my expectations.

There was a 1998 version which was brought into the modern US - Florida and New York to be specific - I found that a lot easier to follow and a bit more entertaining, but without anything like the complexities of the book or of this 2012 version.

It's ok.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 29, 2020, 09:38:56 PM
Big Fish - 2003

Directed by Tim Burton

When Billy Crudup's (The blue guy in The Watchmen) father is on his death bed, Billy returns home with his new wife, the delicious Marion Cotillard. Dad (Albert Finney) loves telling stories, and Billy has heard them all dozens of times. Billy doesn't believe any of them, he figures Dad was a travelling salesman, he was never faithful to his wife Jessica Lange, and the stories are all made up crap to cover his tracks. Billy has daddy issues. Marion hasn't met him before and doesn't know any of the stories, and is completely fascinated. In the stories of course dad is much younger, and the younger dad is played by Obi-Wan. This is a combination fantasy - the stories are rather fantastic - mixed in with a son reconciling with his errant father. It's well acted, great plot, good dialog. Not so much action except when Danny DeVito turns out to be a werewolf.

A great diversion film. Good for a date night.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 30, 2020, 02:56:21 PM
Amelie - 2001

This is a french film, in french. You'll be reading sub-titles.

A young girl sets out to improve the lives of those around her, finds a mystery, and in solving the mystery finds romance.

The movie is exceedingly charming and funny; however, like any romantic comedy, nothing happens. The closest thing to a chase has her on foot and the guy on a moped. Those ads with the little garden gnome appearing in strange places - this film is where it started. Amelie steals her father's garden gnome and has a friend, who's an international stewardess, take pictures of it all over the world. The pictures are sent to her father in an attempt to motivate him to get out of the house and see the world - like his gnome is. Later, to his astonishment, the gnome re-appears back at home no worse for wear. This is one of Amelie's many plots.

I really loved it. I must admit a couple of my girlfriends hated it 'cause nothing happened - but then I decided quickly neither girlfriend was very female.

I consider this the perfect date night movie.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 31, 2020, 08:10:07 PM
Where the money is - 2000

One of Paul Newman's last films. Paul is a bank robber who got caught because of a freak power outage. Then he has a stroke, and winds up transferred to a nursing home, seeing as how he just sits immobile in his wheel chair. This plan works really well right up until his nurse, Linda Fiorentino, pushes his wheel chair into a reservoir. She was the homecoming queen and she's married to the homecoming king, who has made nothing of his life. She wants some excitement and success, so robbing a bank sounds just perfect to her.

It's a dark comedy, and it's good solid entertainment. A good date night movie.

The title comes from Willie Sutton's famous quote, "Why do you rob banks?" "'Cause that's where the money is."

Today I would update that to "'Cause bankers are all criminals and they deserve to get robbed."
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on May 31, 2020, 08:18:19 PM
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny - 2016

This is a romantic / kung fu action film. The simple story is there's a green sword that makes you invincible - The Eldar Sword, as it were. The owner of the sword dies and leaves it to a student, a woman, with instructions to protect it. There's a bad guy - a chinese martial arts voldemort - who wants it. He sends his son to get it for him. A young woman shows up out of nowhere and thwarts the son's plans, resulting in the son winding up in a small cage. Now it gets really complicated.

The woman with the sword has a lover whom she has sworn off as she's dedicating her life to being a martial artist and a recluse. The lover has a different plan. And the son and the mystery girl are also linked. Like any good romantic drama it all gets severely complicated, but also with lots of fight scenes.

The movie is extremely famous and highly rated. I liked it ok, but not like it's the best ever or nothin'. Recommended.




Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 31, 2020, 09:14:50 PM
Where the money is - 2000

One of Paul Newman's last films. Paul is a bank robber who got caught because of a freak power outage. Then he has a stroke, and winds up transferred to a nursing home, seeing as how he just sits immobile in his wheel chair. This plan works really well right up until his nurse, Linda Fiorentino, pushes his wheel chair into a reservoir. She was the homecoming queen and she's married to the homecoming king, who has made nothing of his life. She wants some excitement and success, so rubbing a bank sounds just perfect to her.

It's a dark comedy, and it's good solid entertainment. A good date night movie.

The title comes from Willie Sutton's famous quote, "Why do you rob banks?" "'Cause that's where the money is."

Today I would update that to "'Cause bankers are all criminals and they deserve to get robbed."

 clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap) clap)

And that would just be the start!
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on May 31, 2020, 09:17:25 PM
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - 2000

This is a romantic / kung fu action film. The simple story is there's a green sword that makes you invincible - The Eldar Sword, as it were. The owner of the sword dies and leaves it to a student, a woman, with instructions to protect it. There's a bad guy - a chinese martial arts voldemort - who wants it. He sends his son to get it for him. A young woman shows up out of nowhere and thwarts the son's plans, resulting in the son winding up in a small cage. Now it gets really complicated.

The woman with the sword has a lover whom she has sworn off as she's dedicating her life to being a martial artist and a recluse. The lover has a different plan. And the son and the mystery girl are also linked. Like any good romantic drama it all gets severely complicated, but also with lots of fight scenes.

The movie is extremely famous and highly rated. I liked it ok, but not like it's the best ever or nothin'. Recommanded.

Try "Hero". Gorgeous costuming; wonderful photography; epic love story; and a nagging question- who is the hero from the title? And is someone we see as a hero in retrospect seen as a hero at the time? 
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on June 01, 2020, 06:38:05 AM
My son is in the entertainment business and wanted me to see this with him. In fact he made a TV pilot semi-based on this but was never picked up by NBC or anyone else. The bottom line, it was just too gadget to me. A sword in the stone vibe with a good knight verses a bad knight with a strong women in the middle.
A movie that I recommend is Memento. I think it came out in 2000. Good cast and plot. The idea of losing your short term memory and tattooing every fact on your body so you can solve something while dealing with some unsavory people was very entertaining.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 01, 2020, 09:19:03 AM
My son is in the entertainment business and wanted me to see this with him. In fact he made a TV pilot semi-based on this but was never picked up by NBC or anyone else. The bottom line, it was just too gadget to me. A sword in the stone vibe with a good knight verses a bad knight with a strong women in the middle.
A movie that I recommend is Memento. I think it came out in 2000. Good cast and plot. The idea of losing your short term memory and tattooing every fact on your body so you can solve something while dealing with some unsavory people was very entertaining.

Excellent choice! But then again, I don't think Christopher Nolan has made a bad movie- maybe "Interstellar" (love being some sort of super force?), but even that was more thought provoking and intelligent than most of the stuff coming from the major studios. Indies are where it's at.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on June 01, 2020, 10:51:44 AM
My son is in the entertainment business and wanted me to see this with him. In fact he made a TV pilot semi-based on this but was never picked up by NBC or anyone else. The bottom line, it was just too gadget to me. A sword in the stone vibe with a good knight verses a bad knight with a strong women in the middle.
A movie that I recommend is Memento. I think it came out in 2000. Good cast and plot. The idea of losing your short term memory and tattooing every fact on your body so you can solve something while dealing with some unsavory people was very entertaining.

Excellent choice! But then again, I don't think Christopher Nolan has made a bad movie- maybe "Interstellar" (love being some sort of super force?), but even that was more thought provoking and intelligent than most of the stuff coming from the major studios. Indies are where it's at.
Oddly enough it comes down to underwriting and insurance on movies being made. Similar to the phrase of..."nobody ever got fired for buying IBM equipment"... now update it with nobody ever got fired for making a n Avenger movie. I don't want to see any prelude/remake/series movie unless it deals with some fresh topic. No more Star Wars/Avengers/Hobbit/Indiana Jones/ Spider Man/Superman/Wolverine/etc. I think you get my drift. Too many books that would make a great movie aren't being made. My son is now going through older books that don't have media rights in looking for projects.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 02, 2020, 07:53:52 PM
My son is now going through older books that don't have media rights in looking for projects.

Trying to introduce new original ideas to Hollywood?

I recommend you have your wife clean up his room. He's likely to be staying there soon.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on June 03, 2020, 05:49:06 AM
My son is now going through older books that don't have media rights in looking for projects.

Trying to introduce new original ideas to Hollywood?

I recommend you have your wife clean up his room. He's likely to be staying there soon.
He's been pretty successful, and doesn't fit the typical "player" that you see in Hollywood. He was one of a couple of guys that brought Mad Men/Breaking Bad/Walking Dead to AMC. I had no idea what he did until I went to Atlanta on business and he was shooting Halt and Catch Fire there. So one night I went to their old dog food factory right off I85 that had been made into a TV set. They had three rooms set-up and that captured probably 80% of that show's scenes. Most of the cast were people I had never seen before (AMC's thinking) and all were very nice. My son's job was like a project manager. He would stop the set if they said something they shouldn't (curse words) take notes and go over them with a director for re-shooting the scene. In Hell on Wheels, one character was asking for a lot more money. He explained that it was a cable show and they weren't going to pay what they wanted. This went on for a few weeks and he had the writers change the script and killed the character off at the year's end episode.
I find his work fascinating because he gets involved with every aspect from chosing location, directors, and initial set-ups to script/show quality and resources. He was a true Project Manger just in the entertainment business verses high tech. Now he's a VP with a studio so I hope he doesn't come home with wife and 4 kids!
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 03, 2020, 06:38:22 PM
Cider House Rules - 1999

I'm on a bit of a drama kick these days. Gotta balance out all that Philip K.Dick weirdness.

Directed by Lasse Halstrom, who never lets us down. Based on the book by John Irvine.

Homer (Toby McGuire) is a young man in an orphanage in the 1930s. The orphanage is run by doctor Wells, Micheal Caine, and three nurses. The doctor, in addition to running the orphanage, performs (illegal) abortions. He's also training Homer to be a doctor, which is not so complicated a profession in the 1930s as it is today. Homer says he doesn't have a problem with Dr.Wells performing abortions, but he doesn't want to be involved.

When Homer gets to be about 18 a young woman, Charlize Theron, and her boyfriend Paul Rudd come in for an abortion. When they leave Homer goes with them - it's time to leave the nest. Paul's parents have a large apple orchard and hire itinerant workers to pick the apples and make cider; Homer, the almost-doctor, becomes the world's best educated apple picker. And the drama ensues.

John Irvine also wrote the rather spectacular book The World According to Garp, which Robin Williams helped turn into a rather successful movie.

This is a great date-night movie. Obviously the themes (abortion, adultery, some other rather distasteful stuff) are inappropriate for kids under, I dunno, let's say 16.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 03, 2020, 06:50:01 PM
The Shipping News - 2002

Another great Lasse Halstrom movie

Kevin Spacey is Quoyle, 30ish, born and raised to be a failure. He runs into Cate Blanchette, a bar slut, and falls in love. 'Cause she says yes. Or more particularly, she makes him buy her pancakes for breakfast and announces that she'll take him to bed by 10am. Then they have a kid, but Kevin learns the hard way you can take the girl out of the bar, but you can't take the bar out of the girl.

After about five years of Cate bringing home drunk boyfriends-du-jour, she decides to leave with one of them; takes the little girl, and sells her for $10k drinking money. Then she rather conveniently drives off a bridge and drowns. At about the same time Kevin's obscenely judgmental and negative parents kill themselves. The police find the kid and return her to Kevin.

Kevin's estranged aunt Judi Dench stops in 'cause she's interested in stealing her brother's ashes; she quickly realizes Kevin is a complete mess and insists he accompany her back to their ancestral home in Newfoundland  - they're Newfies. Kevin gets a job working for the local fish rag, The Shipping News, as a reporter, a job for which he's completely incompetent and for which they cannot afford a real person, so a great match. Here Kevin and Judi and Kevin's new friend Julianne Moore must face their respective demons and try to get on with their lives. 90 more minutes of drama ensue.

Fun fact: the little girl is a key part of the movie, so they needed an 8 y/o girl who could work 10 hour days 6 days a week. So Lasse found some triplets and each of the girls put in like 3 hours a day.

This is a fantastic date night movie, and I believe you could even let your kids watch it. Recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 03, 2020, 06:59:41 PM
A Dog's Purpose - 2017

Directed by Lasse Halstrom. This was a simply fantastic book by Bruce Cameron.

We follow a dog who lives through several lives, reincarnating, meeting people, learning new skills. But the main thread is his relationship with his first owner, Ethan, a young boy at the start of the film. The book is very compelling; the movie a bit lighter and missing several sub-plots.

This movie had some serious pre-release problems; one of the set workers was fired, and he stole some film, edited it together to tell a rather disturbing story that was completely false, and put it all over youtube. In his version one of the stunt dogs was treated quite harshly, resulting in hundreds of thousands of women suddenly screaming that no one should ever see this film. In reality there was an issue with a stunt dog who simply did not want to jump into the turbulent pool water on a particular day, but he was never forced or treated harshly; they simply gave up and tried again the next day when he became cooperative. I have about 80 female friends on Facebook who I call "The Women's Shepherd Rescue Mafia," and they simply went nuts over this. I had read the book and knew Lasse's work and so I repeatedly said, "This doesn't make sense to me, let's all calm down and let this play out. I assure you, there has to be another side." There was, of course.

It's a doggy flick. The whole family will love it, especially women and kids and grandkids. Highly recommended. Make some popcorn and settle in. Major brownie points for setting up family flick night.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 03, 2020, 09:12:42 PM
Hachi: A Dog's Tale - 2009

By Lasse Halstrom, based on a true story.

In the 1920s a Japanese professor got a dog, an Akita. The dog followed him every morning to the train station, then went home. Then returned to the train station at 5pm to walk back home with the professor. About 3 years into this routine the professor died. The dog, "8" (Hachi in Japanese, a "lucky" number) kept going to the station at 5pm every day for 10 more years. There's now a bronze statue of the dog outside the train station.

But you can't sell a movie about Japan in America, so we move the story to Rhode Island in the 1990s, the Japanese prof turns into Richard Gere 'cause he's handsome, and there's other family members sorta involved.

Slow paced, but at the end everyone is crying. Women love a good cry - I don't understand it, I just know it's true. Out side of that, bare minimum dialog, I just wrote out the entire plot, good character development on the dog, everyone else is two-dimensional cutouts, action consists of the dog watching humans be humans.

Your wife will like it. It left me a little flat. It's kinda like a Honda - perfect, nothing to complain about, but it's like kissing your sister.

Fun fact: the first ever Akita in the US was a gift from the Emperor of Japan to Helen Keller.

(https://brit-petfood.com/file/nodes/product/akitainu.jpg)

And that's it for Lasse Halstrom movies.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 07, 2020, 12:06:04 PM
Superman - 1978

Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeves in a story written by Mario Puzo

Brando delivers as Jor-El, Superman's father. Gene Hackman is excellent as a witty Lex Luthor. And Christopher Reeve is the definitive Superman - polite, humble, unshakable, built like a pro-bowl tight end. Puzo (author of The Godfather) delivers a good story.

At one point in the movie Hackman is chastened by an officer, "You salute a Navy man!" This is funny because Hackman was a marine. Margot Kidder played Lois Lane - I never liked her in the role, she seems brittle. In real life she was in fact brittle, spending her entire life wrestling with manic depression and paranoia, attempting suicide several times and at one point running away from her husband, faking her death and living under a neighbor's bush, 'cause she thought he was trying to kill her. She was set off by her computer getting a virus.

Superman's real name is Kal-El, that is Kal of the house of El. El, of course, is the original name in the bible of God, more often represented as "God of gods," Elohim. The hebrew language only had consonants, no vowels, so God's name was more accurately "L," and could have been pronounced El or La. The name is still popular today as Al-Lah - Honorable God. Anyway, the originators of Superman were all jews and they wrote him as a proper messiah, a savior sent by God. Superman's mission as a messiah is obviously not yet complete, as he has not yet restored the throne of David and the jewish state, the main purpose of the messiah. To do this he's to marry the ranking female of the house of Bethany, known as the Magdaline; so the whole Lois Lane thing, that's all "shiksas are for practice."

Superman is sent to Earth by his father just moments before his home planet, "Krypton," explodes. Krypton has a red sun and is a very "dense" planet. Jor-El projects that Earth's yellow sun and lower density will give Kal super powers. In his interview with Lois Lane he's asked how much he weighs, and he answers, "Two, Two Twenty Five." It's ambiguous if this is 225 or 2225. But then if it's 2225 I think he can't ride in elevators or cars, and sex with him would be even more deadly. See the link in the next review for more details.

Once on Earth he grows up with Ma and Pa Kent, then wanders off to the north pole to make his Fortress of Solitude and spend the next 12 years learning all there is to know from the "28 known Galaxies." He comes to Metropolis at age 30 and becomes Clark Kent, and starts his career as Superman by doing various dumbish cleanup jobs - stopping jewel thieves, picking up crashing helicopters and airplanes, getting cats out of trees. Then he finds out about Lex Luthor or more importantly Lex finds out about him, and things take a more serious turn.

The movie follows the convention, but does not highlight it, that everyone in Superman's life that's important is "LL:" Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, etc.

It's interesting Krypton circles a red sun. Red stars are far more numerous in the universe than white suns like ours and it's far more likely we'll find life around red suns than around white suns. Stars are categorized as O-B-A-F-G-K-M-Q (Oh Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me Quick). O, B, A and F stars are very large and hot blue-white giants, and are unsuitable for life. Too many X-rays and such, and they all follow the precept "Live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse;" in the case of these stars the corpse being a neutron star or a black hole. Our sun is a G, it's right on the edge of where you could have life. We're not well adapted to this type of star - sunburns and skin cancer from walking around in direct sunlight, blindness if we look at it. We'd be much happier orbiting a K type star, smaller, cooler, yellowish to orangeish light, fewer UV rays. To be in the life zone of such a star (liquid water, not ice locked, not steam) our planet would have to be closer and our year would be more like a couple months long. We could also live around the larger of the M type stars - red dwarfs. We would live in reddish light, not much in the way of UV or blue light at all. The planet would have to orbit very close with a year that was between a couple weeks and a month or so. If the star were on the smallish side of M types we could not live there; the orbit would be so close that the planet would be tidally locked, with one side facing the star at all times; and the solar wind of protons and electrons would blow our atmosphere away. Vulcan, Spock's world, is often depicted as orbiting a K or M type star, being a coolish desert, and as Vulcan is larger than Earth Spock finds himself being relatively powerful in Earth's lower gravity due to his stronger muscles forged in the higher gravity. Sortof Superman light. But Spock should be wearing sunglasses at all times. Perhaps he has blue-blocker contact lenses.

The original Superman in the 1938 comics was more like Spock - leaping buildings, faster than bullets. The flying, invulnerability, ability to live in outer space, and fast enough to travel in time are all later add-ons. Also the comics were inconsistent about superman's intellect - in Action or Superman comics he worked alone and was depicted as fairly smart. But in World's Finest comics where he teamed up with Batman he was depicted as easily the dumber of the two, the muscle end of the operation. The idea that he had spent 12 years learning "the accumulated knowledge of the 28 known galaxies" never appeared in the comics, at least not before 1980 when I quit reading comics.

Anyway, this movie is light, entertaining, and easily the best of all the Superman movies made to date. I'll be reviewing several, but by no means all of the followup superman movies.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 07, 2020, 06:40:58 PM
Man of Steel - 2013

by Zack Snyder

Marvel was making a fortune, so DC comics just had to try to make a (new) splash. They hired Zack Snyder for an all new approach - darker, grittier, more "realistic." This superman is willing to kill. Yah, well, Zack is now out looking for work. Man of Steel was his first and best, it was all downhill from this. DC is still plotting their recovery from Zack's disappointing $$$$ masterwork, Justice League.

We get a new take on Kal-El's background, where Jor-El and Lara are played by Russell Crowe    and Ayelet Zurer. I really like Ayelet, she's like an all-grown-up Gal Gadot. We last saw her as Vanessa Fisk, Kingpin's wife, in Daredevil, and before that in Angels and Demons as a CERN nuclear physicist chasing down anti-matter at the side of Tom Hanks. Gal and Ayelet are both Israeli actresses and, as the Ashkenazi are a bit inbred, probably something like 4th or 5th cousins.

This is a more engaging story than Superman 1978, with, of course, wildly better CGI, but Henry Cavill is simply no Christopher Reeves. No big surprise there: Cavill is yet another Hollywood narcissist and incapable of the humility and quiet confidence that Reeves manages to convey. Cavill does project a fair amount of anger, and as we all know from no less an authority than Yoda, fear leads to anger; fear is the path to the dark side. The indestructable Superman with no less than two sets of extremely good parents should have no fear and no anger. (Curious factoid: Narcissists have thick eyebrows https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-new-home/201805/narcissistic-eyebrows (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-new-home/201805/narcissistic-eyebrows). That's how we recognize them.) Cavill was better in MI:6, where he was a badish guy. Reeves, by contrast, stayed married to one woman for most of his life, and they died nearly within a year of each other. By all accounts Reeves was a model human, nearly unprecedented in Hollywood.

Amy Adams makes a better Lois Lane than Margot did. Diane Lane is much better as Clark's mother. Kevin Costner is good as Clark's dad, but he's simply not got the emotional connection of Glenn Ford. In fact, that's what's missing from this film that makes it #4 on our list: you're entertained, but there's no emotional connection.

Well, I expect you're already seen it and made your own assessment. If you're one of the 35 Americans who hasn't, go ahead, it makes for an entertaining evening, but no lasting impression.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 08, 2020, 09:17:35 AM
Superman II - 1980

Christopher Reeves is back as the best Superman. Gene Hackman is back as an excellent Lex Luthor - although, stunningly, John Cryer of Two and a Half Men is giving him a serious run for his money. Cryer is suave, smooth, and despicable as Supergirl's Lex Luthor. Hackman always looks like he wants to ditch the suit and get into a fist fight - unsurprising for a marine. Cryer is very comfortable in the suit and has no interest in getting his hands dirty.

A nuclear detonation in space breaks open the Phantom Zone and General Zod is released. This general Zod is a psychopath who simply lusts for power, then when he gets it he just sits around with no clue what to use it for. Order pizza delivery and refuse to pay? Get a 120" flat screen installed in the oval office and rot your brain on daytime TV? It seems contradictory that Krypton, a race that was civilized for a hundred thousand years, would produce mindless psychopaths. The General Zod in Man of Steel was a out of control patriot, who was willing to wipe out humanity to restore Krypton - that I get. As a human I don't approve, but I get it.

Also we see Superman willingly give up his powers and do Lois Lane - this little factoid will prove key in our next movie review. It's not clear that giving up his powers is enough for him to spawn a kid - see the rather excellent essay, "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" by the irrefutable Larry Niven. http://www.rawbw.com/~svw/superman.html (http://www.rawbw.com/~svw/superman.html)

This movie did not quite have the quality of the first Superman, which is rather curious as both were filmed at the same time. None the less, I would still rank it just a bit higher than Man of Steel 2013. Mostly because Christopher Reeves simply is Superman.

There were two followup movies, the uncreatively named Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. In Superman III Richard Pryor is a programmer who gets the idea that in every bank transfer he will route any fractional cents to his own bank account, which winds up stealing millions of dollars from the bank. Superman catches wind of this and puts a stop to it. The amazing thing about this idea is that it's more or less active today in something called High Speed Trading, which nets the people who do it billions of dollars for inserting themselves in between you and the other party when you buy and sell stocks. Other than that little factoid the movie is completely forgettable. And Superman IV, where Lex Luthor steals a hair off Superman's head and turns it into Nuclear Man, a superman clone who's an idiot and wants to kill Superman. Meanwhile, Superman steals all the nukes on the planet and throws them into the sun, 'cause daddy decides to take our toys away. Neglecting entirely Henry Kissenger's observation, "In the absence of nuclear weapons, the US would still be a super power due to her economy. The USSR would not." So his little liberal parental action throws the balance of power in the world off entirely, but liberals aren't interested in unintended consequences. I'd like to say Superman IV is forgettable but, unfortunately, 30 years later, I still remember the insipid plot. I will not be watching them again and I will not be reviewing them further. Skip these two.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 08, 2020, 12:17:14 PM
Mark, comic book movie geeks are drooling now that the "Snyder cut" of "Justice League" is on it's way, allegedly next year. Apparently there were additional scenes added, and some new CGI. Whatever. Like "Suicide Squad", JL was simply unwatchable to me. Boring, stupid and not engaging on any level. And your analysis of the major failing of "MoS" is excellent- no heart. Which is why I liked "Shazam" so much. It tried really hard to be as inclusive as possible (which is fine, as long as there is no "shoehorning"), but it also really showed what a kid getting super powers would probably be like. The more I think about this movie, the more I like it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 08, 2020, 08:49:23 PM
Superman Returns - 2006

Brandon Routh steps in for Christopher Reeve, and is perhaps just as good while wearing the cape. However, Reeve was trained at Juliard and his portrayal of Clark / Superman was superlative - everything about him changed in seconds, posture, voice, confidence, facial expressions. Routh can't come close to matching that.

This movie takes up where Superman II leaves off - Superman II and IV never happened, Lois is pregnant, astronomers find evidence of Krypton, and Superman leaves for five years to investigate. Without ever saying goodbye, as Lois frequently reminds him. He gets back;  his kid is now like 6 and Luthor has gotten out of his double life sentences due to Superman's failure to read him his miranda rights etc. Luther (Kevin Spacy, an evil guy playing an evil guy, it works) has a plan to steal superman's crystals from his fortress of solitude, drop them in the atlantic, and make a new continent; which would unfortunately drown a couple billion people. Luthor also has a bunch of money 'cause he took up with a dying widow and made her happy for her last couple of years.

The last fight scene with Luthor seems low-budget and thinly written, but the rest of the movie shines. I've always liked it, and was disappointed when Superman Returns II was canceled. This movie was more enjoyable and engaging than Man of Steel; I think the switch-over to Zack's vision was a big mistake. hint: so does most everyone else.

At this point I could watch then review Batman v. Superman, but I'm really just not ready to see that "martha" scene again. Or those bizarre nightmare / visions / Flash visitation things. Maybe in a couple years.

Superman Returns is good for a fun evening.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 09, 2020, 08:12:13 PM
Star Girl - CW, Current

We just finished episode 4. This show is, surprisingly, gaining traction. Star Girl is the 16 y/o daughter of the dead Star Man; she finds his Cosmic Staff and she's a super hero. Now she's running into the Injustice Society of America, one guy at a time. Finding herself somewhat outgunned, she's collected the artifacts of the dead Justice Society of America, of which her father was a member, and she's recruiting at her high school to make a new group of teen age super heroes to help her face down the 40-something super villains. The young heroes have a monopoly on energy and enthusiasm and the ability to bend their backs and hips fully; the old guys have a monopoly on treachery and amorality. It looks to continue to be interesting and fun.

It's not just silly, and the high school drama is a part, but not central. The powers are limited and the heroes seem to be more vulnerable than the villains. I'm finding it more entertaining than Bat Woman was, and it's just a show, it's not trying to change my mind on social issues like Supergirl. (Daniel Radcliff tweeted today, "Trans women are women too." If I had a way to communicate with him, I'd tweet back, "Put your cajones where your mouth is: date one. And not just once. For at least a few months.")

I'm not a fan of her step-father who whines and tells her everything is impossible and dangerous. Which of course is a stupid position to take with teens, who don't believe in their own limitations, ignorance or mortality. You don't put walls in front of teens, you help them and apply the brakes a little at appropriate times.

We see more than any of the characters do. For example, we know that Star Girls mom doesn't know her daughter is Star Girl, and also works for the head bad guy who's quite charming as a boss. This looks to turn interesting. The first recruited new hero is, um, let's call her cat woman; she was dating the son of Star Girls first opponent and he turned loose some nude selfies of her to the whole school. The bad boyfriend's dad is currently in the hospital in a coma; Star Girl and step dad managed to handle him.

All four episodes are available to stream free on CWTV.com.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 10, 2020, 08:58:38 PM
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 2009

Based on the book by Stieg Larsson

This is part one in a three part series. Mikael Blomquist wrote a story about an industrialist breaking laws, but it turns out he was set up and winds up sued for liable. He's sentenced to six months in prison. Starting in six months. Meanwhile we meet Lizbeth Salandar, who's hired to do a massive background check on Mikael for a lawyer. She reports he's clean and she thinks he was set up. On that basis Mikael is hired by another swedish industrialist to find out who killed his favorite cousin 40 years ago. Mikael sets to work, and we're into a murder mystery, which only gets better when Lizbeth emails him a huge hint, based on information she hacked out of Mikael's laptop.

This is a very curious movie. The book was originally titled "Men who Hate Women," and the story is filled with those. There's a pretty high level of male bashing in Sweden. Anyways, as a mystery it holds up really well. The 2009 version was made in Sweden, in Swedish, so there's subtitles unless you happen to speak Swedish. There's a US version made in 2011; Lizbeth is played by Rooney Mara, as in Art Rooney and George Mara, her two grandfathers. The US version is not nearly as good. Also, if you get sucked in (you will), you'll be wanting to see the two follow up movies, The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. After the first movie you'll have absolutely no problem imagining Lizbeth playing with fire or kicking pretty much anything.

There's a fair bit of sex in this, and it's european style meaning no holds barred. I have no problem imagining someone with an extremely troubled background having an intense reaction to this movie, so I can't make a blanket recommendation. Lisbeth is a very troubled person and we see a lot of why that is. In the next two movies we'll see the rest of why. But I really like it. Recommended (if you can handle it.)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 11, 2020, 08:27:07 PM
Kill Bill Vol 1 & Vol 2 - 2003

By Quentin Tarantino

As our movie starts, Uma Thurmon is lying on her back, pregnant, wearing a bridal gown, in pretty severely bad shape and covered with blood. She says, "Bill, it's your child," and gets shot in the head. Uma, known in part 1 as "the bride," spends four years in a coma then wakes up. Her baby is gone. She has one over-riding thought, "Kill Bill."

In 2004 a movie came out, "The Passion of the Christ" by Mel Gibson. I saw it and thought, "This is the bloodiest movie I've ever seen." A couple months later another movie came out, "The Hunted." I saw it and thought "ok, now that's the bloodiest movie I've ever seen." then I saw Kill Bill, which had, I would estimate, a hundred gallons of movie blood, and I thought, "This has to be it. The bloodiest ever."

The Bride (Uma, the girl without a name) was an elite assassin, part of a group of assassins for hire. The whole group participated in the killing at her wedding, so now she's out for revenge - a dish best served cold, you may recall. Vol. 1 is about her time in the hospital and her hunt for the first two assassins, Vernita Green and O-Ren Ishii. When she gets to O-Ren Ishii, now a Yakuza boss, she finds her in a restaurant with about 80 body guards (seriously, her body guards call themselves 'the crazy 88s'). She has to wade through them first. Everyone has a katana - a samurai sword. Lotsa limbs and blood go flying. Finally she gets to O-ren, who is better than any of her guards, and there's a very kewl sword fight.

In Vol.2 she goes after the remaining two assassins, Bill's brother and Elle Driver. Elle puts up a good fight, but not as good as she promises and not as good as O-Ren. Not a lot of blood in Vol 2. Now, the field clear, she goes after Bill, the leader and master assassin.

The movies are very good and made in good fun - they're a story on their own, but also pay huge homage to all previous samurai movies. Any famous scene you've ever seen in a samurai movie, there's a good chance it's repeated here.

Not for kids under, I dunno, 13 or something. They'll have nightmares forever about the arms and legs going flying and blood spurting eight feet or more.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on June 12, 2020, 03:04:07 AM
Love those movies. I think Hateful Eight was the only one of his movies that I was just kind of meh about.

Curious have you watched any anime movies/series?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 12, 2020, 06:55:25 AM
Never watched anime. I don't know much about it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 12, 2020, 07:44:01 AM
Animation, not exactly anime, but "Kubo and the Two Strings" is an outstanding work of art. Beautifully done, wonderful story, and if you don't have a lump in your throat at the end, you're not human.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 12, 2020, 09:05:23 PM
The Talented Mr.Ripley - 1999

from the book by Patricia Highsmith

Starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport. You really couldn't ask for a better cast.

(spoilers) This is a study of sociopaths and psychopaths. As such it's really quite intense, and in many ways disturbing. Ms.Highsmith wrote a series of books about Ripley, no matter what he does he gets away with it and lands on his feet. Much like Hannibal Lector, save for a brief period in jail.

I enjoyed it. If you like the type of movie where it's all neatly tied up with a bow at the end, and the bad guys all get what's coming to them, perhaps not so much for you. It's extremely highly rated. It's a great (if disturbing) story, very well acted, very well scripted and directed. There's everything to like here and nothing not to like, except evil wins in the end. (my girlfriend didn't like it for just that reason.)

Ms.Highsmith died in 1995 and I certainly never knew her. None the less, it seems clear to me from skimming her biography that she was, as Sherlock says, "a high functioning sociopath." She was a committed atheist and did not believe in any innate or independent morality. It's clear she identified with the Ripley character and would have liked to live his life, if she thought she could get away with it. Her morality was "jail is no fun."

You of course have your own beliefs. Here's a few things I believe:

Electrons cannot be destroyed. Protons do not decay. Your soul is no more fragile than an elementary particle.

This universe is a created artifact. This can be shown quite easily with some simple math. None of what we see when we look around has a probability of existence that's in any way essentially different from zero compared to the life of the universe (~14 billion years) and the total number of particles in the universe (~10^80). And we see a lot of it.

I believe when you die, you will not be disappointed. If you think you'll be met by Angels or Jesus or St.Whoever, you will be. If you think you're issued a gown and a place on a grassy hill between a lion and a lamb to spend the rest of eternity singing hosanna, you will be.  If you believe in Odin or Krishna or whoever, you will be met accordingly in Valhalla or at the wheel of karma or wherever. If you think death is like a light switch, when you die you'll wake up to a black, featureless, empty universe with nothing in it but you and your thoughts - the ultimate sensory deprivation tank. None of this is for all eternity - you put yourself there, you can later change your mind. Personally, I would last about 12 minutes on the hill singing hosanna, and I like to sing. Ms.Highsmith, being a dead atheist, is, imho, in a disturbingly empty place, unless she's already chosen to reject her atheist perspective. When she does reject it, she will remember that there are some eternal truths, some morality that cannot be dismissed, especially the golden rule. Killing people for personal gain is generally bad policy.

jmo, ymmv.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on June 13, 2020, 01:58:49 AM
Animation, not exactly anime, but "Kubo and the Two Strings" is an outstanding work of art. Beautifully done, wonderful story, and if you don't have a lump in your throat at the end, you're not human.

Very good movie! loved it. For the life of me I don't understand why it didn't get more hype?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on June 13, 2020, 02:27:56 AM
Never watched anime. I don't know much about it.

you should look into it. Some really great films. Theres not much you need to know about it. Its just like regular movies but animated. They run the gamut. There are super deep thought provoking movies that you have to watch a couple times to really get them, and of course there are silly funny ones for kids and everything in-between.

For movies you should look into Ghost in the Shell(its like the Matrix before the Matrix. No blue pill red pill stuff though), Princess Mononoke(directed by  Hayao Miyazaki who is like the Japanese Christopher Nolan), Akira (must watch, amayzing visuals and great thought provoking story, another movie the wachowski's got ideas from), Your Name(Gotta watch it a couple times, character study), Spirited Away(Another Miyazaki master piece)

shows:
 Neon Genesis Evangalion(awesome show about child soldiers and what it does to their psyche. The ending is pretty out there), Tokyo Ghoul(Vampires but very human at the same time), Code Geass(power to control people and what it does to a person), Attack on Titan (Steam punk-ish future. fighting giants, but there is so much more to it, awsome show), Death Note(what the power of death does to a teenager), Gantz(very gory, nudity and sex as well. Aliens that can't be seen. Delves into how messed up and selfish we all kind of are). Seven Deadly Sins(kind of kiddy but some adult themes, pretty funny as well.)


Some you can find on netflix, some on crunchy roll(an app/website), youtube, other places, etc...
There are plenty more those are just off the top of my head.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 13, 2020, 05:34:00 AM
I watched ghost in the shell, both the japanese version and the stupid johannson version. It really didn't resonate with me. As usual, when we remade the film we watered it down until the flavor was all but lost.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on June 13, 2020, 06:45:05 AM
Both didnt? Or just American version?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 13, 2020, 08:32:52 AM
both didn't resonate with me.

At least the japanese version was entertaining. In a confusing sort of way.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on June 13, 2020, 06:44:11 PM
I think scarjo was just bad casting for the part. The major is supposed to be pretty emotionless due to the fact that there is nothing left of her origionals body and shes been in this machine body for so long. They also should have used an Asian or Asian mixed actress. The guy that played Batou was fine. The movie is kind of about how we will lose our humanity if we integrate with technology too much, and also that the world won't magically be a better place. There will still be evil people. They also did a ghost in the shell series that kind of expands on that stuff. It's on Netflix. I would say check out different types of anime to see what you like. All the ones I listed are all "adult" anime.

Full Metal Panic is another good one. Has adult themes about war and child soldiers and PTSD, but also some good comedy.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 14, 2020, 08:09:47 AM
Professor Marsden and the Wonder Woman - 2017

This is a *very* weird movie. And it's mostly true.

William Moulton Marston was a professor of psychology at Radcliff. At the time Harvard was for men only, and Radcliff was the associated women's school. He was married to Elizabeth Halloway, a PhD candidate at, depending on who you believed, Radcliff or Harvard. The two of them developed the lie detector together - but they simply published an article on how it worked, so they never made a dime off of it.

A young student in William's class, Olive Byrne, gets hired by the two to be a lab assistant. Olive is the daughter of very famous feminist Ethel Byrne and the niece of Ethel's sister Margaret Sanger, famous NAZI and racist. Margaret believed the blacks and jews were inferior races and were over-running the white race with their out of control breeding, so Margaret and Ethel opened the country's first abortion clinic where blacks and jews got free abortions. That clinic is still around today; it's now called Planned Parenthood, and they have performed about 10 million abortions, about 4 million of them for black women. Blacks are nearly 5 times as likely to get an abortion as whites. Hispanics are about 4 times as likely to get abortions as whites. Jews no longer have large families so their abortion numbers are way down.

William and Elizabeth, his wife, fall in love with Olive and the three of them start living together and having kids. This quickly gets them all thrown out of Radcliff, so now they have kids to raise and no money coming in. Elizabeth becomes a secretary. William kicks around writing self-help books which are not notably successful - he has a theory that the only way to be happy is to be submissive to a loving authority. Eventually William hits on the idea to present his beliefs about domination and such to children, so he invents the comic book Wonder Woman, who runs around tying up bad guys with her lasso of truth, and spanking them, and getting tied up and spanked herself. The comic book is a huge hit. And runs into trouble with the self-appointed moral authorities of the day. Still today most comics have a seal on them, "approved by the comics code authority," a left over from the fight between DC comics and the people who wanted Wonder Woman shut down. I wonder what the 1940s comic book authority would have made of gay, lesbian and transexual superheroes. . . Meanwhile the Marsdens are getting into trouble in their suburban neighborhood for their, um, alternative lifestyle.

As I said, the story is basically historically true, all these things more or less actually happened. Marsden died in '47 at age 54 of lung cancer; Olive and Elizabeth continued living together until Olive's death in '85 at age 81; Elizabeth made it to 100, dying in '93. One of their sons opened the Wonder Woman museum in Connecticut. http://www.wonderwomanmuseum.com/ (http://www.wonderwomanmuseum.com/)

The movie is very strange, but if you're in a strange mood it might suit you. Whatever your personal reaction, these people changed the world - abortion clinics, female superheroes, radical feminism, now it's all main stream. Back then it could easily get you arrested.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 14, 2020, 12:34:33 PM
https://time.com/4081760/margaret-sanger-history-eugenics/

https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll/opinion/cc-op-sprinkle-010420-20200104-opc3c76o4na47mtdtun4nvqw3y-story.html

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/margaret-sanger-weeds/
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 14, 2020, 01:20:55 PM
Really? You think to convince me with snopes? the guy who ran around on his wife with a las vegas stripper, then hired the stripper as an investigator?

Sanger was a eugenicist. I don't care about your liberal apologies that it was always about "empowering women." It wasn't.

https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=129037.xml
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 14, 2020, 07:04:00 PM
Really? You think to convince me with snopes? the guy who ran around on his wife with a las vegas stripper, then hired the stripper as an investigator?

Sanger was a eugenicist. I don't care about your liberal apologies that it was always about "empowering women." It wasn't.

https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=129037.xml

Was Sanger a eugenicist? Yes. The Snopes article was about your claim she was anti-Semitic. She wasn't. She wanted to limit the reproduction of those with lower IQ's. Would you agree or disagree with that idea? And, yes, she did want to empower women. But she also had some very unsavory ideas. But reading the article you linked to, I noticed that she was supportive of restricting immigration, especially to those who could somehow be shown to be less than desirable:

(c) keep the doors of Immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race, such as feeble-minded, idiots, morons, insane, syphiletic, epileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes, and others in this class barred from entrance by the Immigration Laws of 1924.

It seems that someone started his presidential race by condemning immigrants from Mexico, calling them rapists and criminals, but allowing that some of them might be decent people. And as far as Snopes founder running around with a stripper... well, at least she (allegedly) got hired as an investigator, rather than signing a non-disclosure agreement. I looked for something about Snopes and Las Vegas strippers, but didn't find anything. If you could link to the article, it would be appreciated. Also, Snopes regularly gets a very high rating for accuracy at RealClearPolitics, a conservative website that I visit daily.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 15, 2020, 08:28:07 AM
The whole thing has been white washed off google. 'Cause "fake news," no doubt.

DuckDuckGo has it at #2.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4730092/Snopes-brink-founder-accused-fraud-lying.html

https://truepundit.com/fact-check-snopes-founder-busted-globetrotting-asia-with-porn-star-on-soros-funded-honeymoon/

Now, do me a favor: never mention snopes again.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 15, 2020, 09:07:33 AM
The whole thing has been white washed off google. 'Cause "fake news," no doubt.

DuckDuckGo has it at #2.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4730092/Snopes-brink-founder-accused-fraud-lying.html

https://truepundit.com/fact-check-snopes-founder-busted-globetrotting-asia-with-porn-star-on-soros-funded-honeymoon/

Now, do me a favor: never mention snopes again.

Thank you for the citations. However, I looked up your sources, and found them totally lacking in credibility. Yes, the guy divorced his wife and took up with another woman. And he went to Asia on their honeymoon, because he married said woman. Does that now make her an "honest woman"? And the repeated use of "allegedly" with no source for these allegations is troublesome. The True Pundit seems to be a smear sight; and using the Daily Caller as a source doubles down on their lack of credibility. The Daily Mail is a Rupert Murdoch paper.

This remains the problem, Mark. We don't read the same sources or listen to the same radio or watch the same TV news. On the internet, we have our favorite sites, but we choose those sites because they bolster our preconceptions. Please notice the "we" here- this is not exclusive. But the internet also makes it easy to fact check things using more than one source, and understand what bias a site may have. For example, when checking on the Daily Mail, I found a site called mediabiasfactcheck.com, which called the Mail's coverage "questionable". So I checked the reliability of mediabias, and found them be unreliable. Further checking brought up other sites that gave me a more nuanced answer, but the gist is, no, it's not reliable. Do I do the same with the more liberal/progressive sites I prefer. Yes. I always like to check sources to see if the stand up to scrutiny, and always try to make see the difference between fact and opinion. Or selectively using facts to bolster an opinion. Do I have a bias? Of course, we all do.

Also, please notice I didn't mention the  site that shall not be named. Kind of like Vo... he who shall not be named.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 15, 2020, 09:34:02 AM
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.folklore.urban/4NtXWAcw7_k

Learn to use search engines.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on June 15, 2020, 09:35:01 AM
Ricky, of course there are different sources...but hasn't there always been several ways of looking at something?
One of my favorite movies were done by Clint Eastwood on the the 2 different views of a battle...one by the US side and one by the Japanese perspective.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 15, 2020, 10:53:06 AM
Ricky, of course there are different sources...but hasn't there always been several ways of looking at something?
One of my favorite movies were done by Clint Eastwood on the the 2 different views of a battle...one by the US side and one by the Japanese perspective.

Different perspectives, sure. But there is no disagreement as to who won the battle for Iwo, or who won WWII. Similar to people claiming the Civil War (or whatever you want to call it) wasn't about slavery.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 15, 2020, 11:07:28 AM
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.folklore.urban/4NtXWAcw7_k

Learn to use search engines.

You're citing a message board? Because I'm having a hard time getting it to download. OK, got it. So, they once again cite True Pundit as a reliable source; I disagree. So, here we go again: google "True Pundit bias" and choose among the dozen or so sites that call it out for posting conspiracy theories and misinformation. Or, here:

https://www.google.com/search?q=true+pundit+bias&rlz=1CABRFU_enUS809&oq=true+pundit+bias&aqs=chrome.0.69i59.4471j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 26, 2020, 11:23:04 PM
The Right Stuff - 1983

From the book by Tom Wolfe.

Starring a very young Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Dennis Quaid, Ed Harris, Jeff Goldblum, and a somewhat old Chuck Yeager.

This is the story of breaking the sound barrier, then mach 2, then recruiting for the Mercury astronaut program and following the training of the first seven astronauts. It's quite historically accurate and pretty entertaining. If you recently watched Captain Marvel, perhaps you recall the bar, Panchos, where the pilots all hung out. There really was such a bar and it's where the Edwards AFB test pilots hung out.

One of the things you're supposed to notice is that the test pilots took real risks, betting on their skill as a pilot to make aircraft do things they really couldn't quite do. 1 in 4 of the Edwards test pilots died. If you got dead, you got your picture up on the wall at Ponchos. But when the astronaut program started no one cared about test pilots anymore. The baton had been passed from the Air Force to NASA. The test pilots took a while to figure this out - their favorite line for a couple years was "A monkey flew the first one." None the less, the spotlight turned away and even Poncho's burned to the ground.

The movie was quite good. The book was even better, but then Tom Wolfe is a great author. Perhaps next I'll do his other great book / movie, Bonfire of the Vanities.

There's a scene where an old guy hangs out in Ponchos and winds up telling a couple NASA types they should get some whiskey. That part is played by Chuck Yeager, the first guy to break the sound barrier, the first guy to go mach 2.5, the first guy to zoom climb to over 120,000 feet. And also a kindof a prick; that doesn't come out in the move so much, but I knew him. He thought he was Moses and the seas should part for him. Oh well, you don't set multiple world records and firsts by being a self-effacing nice guy. I imagine Chuck was on set as an advisor, and they dressed him up and gave him a small part.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 27, 2020, 03:56:50 AM
A very good trifecta of (American) astronaut movies would be "The Right Stuff"; "Apollo 13", and "First Man". All very good, and they give very different perspectives on the race to land on the Moon. And, what the heck, for some good sci-fi directed by David Bowie's son, see "Moon". Terrific performance (as usual) by Sam Rockwell.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 27, 2020, 06:44:22 PM
The Bonfire of the Vanities - 1990

From the excellent book by Tom Wolfe

Starring a very young Tom Hanks, Melanie Griffiths, Bruce Willis, and Kim Cattrall, who steals every scene she's in.

This is kinda sorta a rewrite / remake of The Great Gatsby, except it ends the right way. The line from the movie is Melanie Griffiths, wearing only a lacy black bra and matching panties, grabs Tom Hanks by the tie, pulls him in to a distance of about 4 inchs, and says, "Sherman, you know I am a sucker for a limp d*ck."


Sherman McCoy is a Master of the Universe - a Wall Street bond trader. He's married to Kim Cattrall and is having an affair with Melanie Griffiths. Everything is just perfect. Then it all comes apart in the worst possible way. In one short day, he's fired, his wife takes the kid and everything and leaves him, Melanie flies off to Italy to be with her other boyfriend, and Sherman is being investigated for murder.

This is black comedy and it's simply hilarious. A fantastic date night movie. Not so much for kids - there's a fair bit if s*xual innuendo. Highly recommended. Just see it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 29, 2020, 08:51:26 PM
Apollo 13 - 1995

By Ron Howard, who only makes good movies.

With Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris, and Gary Sinise.

The story of Apollo 13, a moon mission cursed. An oxygen tank blew up for no particular reason and took out so many systems that it seemed death for all the astronauts was inevitable. There was serious questions about if we would get our men back from day 1 until 1 minute before splashdown. But neither the astronauts nor the engineers at NASA ever gave up, they figured out workarounds that were just, just barely, enough. This is a great look at what happened, and what it was like. Recommended.


Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on June 29, 2020, 09:05:23 PM
Hostiles - 2017

With Rosamund Pike, Christian Bale, Wes Studi

Christian Bale is an army captain in 1892 who has spent the last 20 years fighting and killing indians. He's killed many, and had many of his men killed. He's charged with bringing a captured and dying Cheyenne chief, Yellow Hawk - his most despised enemy - from New Mexico to his ancestral home in Montana's Valley of the Bears. Along the way he runs into Rosamund Pike, whose husband and three children were killed just the day before in an indian raid on her farm. The story is pretty good. Rosamund Pike, imho, gives the performance of her life. She brings this pain to life. It's Rosamund who makes this movie. Christian gives his usual excellent performance, but it's all Rosamund in this flick. It's a redemption movie, where we see clearly there's plenty of blame to go around. Of course we're supposed to see this conflict in terms of good and bad, colonialist v. aborigine. That's certainly the modern view, but no one in those decades would have even known those words. This was an evolutionary expansion, and one culture proved enormously more powerful than the other.

Recommended.

A bit bloody.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on June 29, 2020, 10:50:55 PM
I saw "Hostiles", and  the acting was great. But I simply didn't buy the narrative that two people who were so damaged by the natives could become so accepting and actually form an alliance with them so quickly. In brief, I didn't buy the main premise of the movie. Still worth seeing, and others might disagree, because this is, of course, JMO.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 01, 2020, 09:04:49 PM
Bridge of Spies

Written by the Coen bros, directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Tom Hanks. Based on real stuff.

In the mid 50s we capture a russian spy who's getting nuclear secrets to the soviets. An american lawyer, Hanks, is drafted to represent him at his trial, forgone conclusion or no. Everyone deserves a good defense, right? The russian is convicted - it's the 50s, after all. But Hanks talks the judge into a long prison sentence instead of the electric chair - 'cause alive, he just might come in handy one day, why burn your playing cards when the poker game is still running. Dead he's just a day or two of headlines.

A couple years later Francis Gary Powers is shot down flying over russia in his U2 spy plane. At 70,000 feet. This was the end of U2 overflights, the russians had proven they could take the plane down. Of course this quickly led to the CIA ordering up the SR-71 mach 3 spy plane, but that's not a part of this story. And we still fly U2s, but not over russian airspace, but that's also not a part of this story. Powers is duly convicted in a soviet court and sentenced to lots of years - we didn't kill their spy, so they're not gonna kill ours. Tom Hanks gets a letter from the russian spy's "family," which seems to indicate that the russians would like to talk swap. Hanks is enlisted by John Foster Dulles, head of the CIA and namesake of Washington's airport, to handle the negotiations. These talks are wildly complicated because the east germans have grabbed an american student, who they wish to trade for recognition as an independent country. Our stance is that germany is one country and the russians have walled off a quarter as a puppet regime. Hanks is determined that no man should be left behind, so against orders he's working on a 2 for 1 swap. The americans are mad at him, the germans are mad at him, the russians think he's a pain in the butt, he doesn't care, he's gonna bring everyone home.

My girlfriend was lost by the complications and ever-changing faces. I had to pause the movie a couple times to tell her what was going on. "This is a boy movie," she said.

The movie is simply excellent - how else could it be, Coen, Spielberg, Hanks. But based on my singular experience I can't recommend it as a date night movie. I did mention to her that if the movie had been about one woman juggling two suitors she would have had no trouble keeping up. In fact a few nights ago we watched Prof.Marsden, who juggled two women, and she had no trouble keeping up with that with that. But the diplomacy thing, she just can't relate.

Anyways, highly recommended, but it's not obvious you'll be able to find anyone to watch it with you. Maybe your worthless brother-in-law. You never know, maybe he's got a garage full of tools that will come in handy some day. Don't burn your poker cards early.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 04, 2020, 09:42:21 AM
Breaking Bad - 2008 - 2013

Walter White is a Caltech PhD chemist who was on a nobel prize winning team in Los Alimos, but somehow (we never find out how) leaves the team and becomes a high school chemistry teacher. He's also instrumental in building a milti-billion dollar company, Gray Matter, but leaves that company early and gets nothing out of it. Now, at age 50, he's all but broke, has a demanding wife, a teenage son with cerebral palsy, and another kid on the way. And he finds out he has stage 3 lung cancer. He goes on a ride along with his brother-in-law, a DEA agent, to a meth lab bust, and finds out meth labs are run completely incompetently, the product is complete crap, and they make hundreds of thousands of dollars. He decides he'll brew up some meth, make $750,000, and leave his family enough money to get by. This is all in the first episode of a total of 62.

Breaking Bad is the story of Walter, a meek, mild-mannered guy who's pushed around by his wife and students and principal, and winds up a major drug lord with a mean streak and a lot of blood on his hands. It echos Star Wars, the story of the fall and redemption of Anikin Skywalker, except Walter never gets his redemption. Breaking Bad set new records for awards for a TV series and is widely considered the best TV show ever made.

The creator, Vince Gilligan, had previously worked as a writer on The X-Files, and says he woke up one morning and discovered everyone was watching something else. He didn't want Breaking Bad to go too long, he wanted to end with everyone wanting more, so he pulled the plug after 6 seasons. Personally I question this decision: it's considered that a show has to run 7 seasons to make it into syndication, and Breaking Bad would be a great choice for syndication. In any case, the show was wrapped up after six seasons and binge watching it takes a total of about 48 hours. You can buy the entire set of DVDs for $13 - $50, just search on EBay or Amazon or buy it here for the best price: http://www.vidstorehd.com/Breaking-Bad-The-Complete-Series-_p_295.html (http://www.vidstorehd.com/Breaking-Bad-The-Complete-Series-_p_295.html)

I think it's obvious Breaking Bad is better than Game of Thrones, and BB doesn't have a last season that everyone hates.

(http://calsci.com/football/images/PollosHermanos.jpg)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on July 15, 2020, 07:32:21 PM
Christian Bale
Ford vs Ferrari is pretty good, which has Christian Bale in it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on July 19, 2020, 04:04:33 AM
Better Call Saul - 2015 - current

Saul Goodman is Walter White's attorney. In this show, a spin-off of breaking bad, we see Jimmy McGill (Saul) start out as a small time grifter, then get "rescued" by his brother and brought to work in a law office in Albuquerque as a mail clerk. While a mail clerk he takes correspondent law classes from the University of American Samoa, then passes the bar (interestingly, to be an attorney all you have to do is pass the bar. You don't need a single law class, much less a law degree.) He then sets off to have a law career with lots of fits and starts. We meed an earlier version of Mike Ehrmantraut, Gus Fring's fixer. We learn Mike's backstory, which is interesting. We watch Mike get shocked into crossing the line, then having once crossed the line find himself drawn to it like a moth to a bug zapper. We learn how Saul came up with his name - "Saul. . . 'S'all good, man."

Much like Walter, Saul has a family full of frenemies and a girlfriend who's not completely comfortable with him.

I didn't particularly like Saul the first time I watched breaking bad, and I was surprised he got a show. The second time I watched BB, just a couple weeks ago, I found my reaction to the various characters was quite different - Walter, for example, was a serious drama junkie, and I found myself really despising Marie. And I found Saul a lot less objectionable. I just finished season 2 of Saul and I like it. Not quite as well as BB - perhaps the best TV series ever made - but it's as good as Cheers and better than Frasier, for example. I don't mostly like TV - friends and seinfeld left me flat. Except, although I've never watched a single full episode of friends, I was deeply amused at the "alternative" ending - Phoebe starts out living in a cardboard box on the streets, and then winds up in the apartment with everyone else having a life. The alternative ending of friends is that she wakes up in her box and she's dreamt the entire series. Not unlike the alternative ending of BB where whimpy Walter wakes up and he's dreamt the entire drug thing.

You can stream the first 5 seasons of Saul, for example here: https://www1.moviesjoy.net/watch-tv/better-call-saul-39372.2371448 (https://www1.moviesjoy.net/watch-tv/better-call-saul-39372.2371448). There's a 6th season which isn't out yet, so we're not sure how it all ends. But of course it ends more or less where BB begins, so there can't be any huge surprises.

Recommended. Especially now that 80% of the US population is back under quarantine. You gotta do something or you'll go stir crazy. Although I guess you could drink margaritas and practice your putting. . .
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on July 22, 2020, 08:55:29 PM
Star Girl
I've been watching Star Girl, it's a lot of fun.  It's a silly show, but it doesn't try to be more than it is. 
I'm an old comic book fan, so I thought I would give it a watch and quickly give up on it, like I have most CW shows.
But one thing this has going for it is it has such a rich history of superheroes behind it like the Justice Society that dates back to the 40s.
In fact, the show has kind of a 50s feel to it, even though it's set in present day.

The only bad thing is next season it's moving to TV exclusively (as opposed to CW's streaming network), so the budget may go down.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on July 23, 2020, 04:20:01 AM
has anyone else watched 'The Boys"?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 01, 2020, 11:35:13 AM
X-Men, X2, X-men: The Last Stand - 2000, 2003 2006

I expect everyone here has seen these. Marvel Comics went through bankruptcy several times until suddenly they're very rich. After their last bankruptcy they sold off the movie rights for x-men to Fox. Disney has recently bought fox so the x-men will appear in the MCU sooner or later. If they ever start making movies again. And we're allowed to go see them. One must consider the possibility that big screen movies are over.

These three movies tell the story of a three-way battle. Prof. Picard and his stunningly well-equipped x-men want to find some middle ground where humans and mutants live in peace. Magneto-Gandalf was once in a holocaust camp, he thinks mutants will be rounded up and killed, starting with "the mutant registration act." The government is split, importantly with Col.Striker determined to control and kill all mutants. Then a "cure" is found, resulting in many mutants with inconvenient mutations voluntarily taking the cure, other mutants demonstrating with Mutant Lives Matter, and the government developing all-plastic "cure weapons." Big superhero fights ensue. Many deaths.

These are the first and best of the (now) 12 X-men films. Logan ranks up there too. The special effects stand the test of time, the plot is complex and engaging, the characters well developed to where you view most of them sympathetically. These films are not black and white, good v. evil. All of the characters have a perspective, and all act reasonably and rationally from the position of their perspective.

The X-Men have an airplane, and like all super hero airplanes it travels at about mach 6 and, like a harry potter tent, is bigger inside than outside. Also Wolverine has a Harley that gets him from NY state to British Columbia and back in a couple of days, implying that it cruises at about 400 mph - comfortably faster than any Harley I've ever owned.

They're quite enjoyable. Not must-see, but recommended.

(https://i.pinimg.com/236x/6a/fb/b8/6afbb82cc6a7977cdcc027efc218ac9b--speed-limit-signs-funny-signs.jpg)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 01, 2020, 12:30:15 PM
Must Love Dogs - 2005

Diane Lane and John Cusack

Diane and John are both coming off divorces which have burned them out on relationships. Both get registered on on-line dating sites by well-meaning friends, they go on a date. Lotsa starts and stops - it's a rom-com, so there must be the suspense of "but they're perfect together, how do they get past this screwup?" And of course, unlike real-world divorces where I assure you, there's plenty of blame to spread around, these two were blameless in their divorces and are actually just attractive well-adjusted people who got blindsided.

Mildly entertaining for us neanderthals, the wife will like it. A good date night movie.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 01, 2020, 12:53:47 PM
Spider-Man 1, 2, 3 - 2002, 2004, 2007.

The "first" spider-man movies with Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, William Dafoe, JK Simons, Alfred Molina and James Franco.

1 gives us spider-man's origin, introduces us to mary-jane and the insufferable J.Jomah Jameson, and gives us the short life of the Green Goblet. It's a bit busy with all the introductions but it"s a pretty good film. Toby never quite makes it as a young teenager, but in "real-life" spider-man gets bit while 14 or so.

2 gives us the back-story on Dr.Octopus, who turns insane and becomes the bad guy. Molino is a great actor and does an excellent job. This movie is better that the first.

3 Things are unraveling fast. Toby has turned into a real pain in the butt on the set, and the plot is way too complicated and busy, giving us green goblin 2, sandman, venom, dark spider-man, trouble with mary jane, etc. This is nearly the worst of the 8 spider man movies.

You could watch the first two and skip the third, I guess - I've never been good at that, not unlike Sheldon I sorta need to finish things.

These movies are ok. The special effects are down a notch from the current state of the art, and Toby does not hold up as a great spider man, merely a pretty good spider man. Kinda sorta recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 09, 2020, 09:23:26 AM
Oblivion - 2013

Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman

Aliens attacked the earth, we beaten off, but the earth is more or less ruined as a result. Tom is one of a few thousand left protecting the earth from attacks from the few remaining aliens while everyone else on earth moves to Titan, a moon of Saturn (n.b. - Titan is nothing like human habitable, with surface temperatures that average -290 degrees).

Then Tom gets captured by the aliens, who turn out to be humans. Things get progressively more weird from there. Very minor spoiler: turns out the humans didn't actually win.

An entertaining sci-fi romp, recommended.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 09, 2020, 09:33:42 AM
Source Code - 2011

Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga

Jake wakes up from a nap on a commuter train heading into Chicago. Michelle smiles her very pretty smile at him and starts talking to him like they're best friends, but he has no clue who she is. Then it quickly comes out that he also has no clue who he is - for example, he look into a mirror and he's no himself. A couple more minutes of confusion, then the train blows up killing everyone, including Jake and the delicious Michelle. Kindof a bad start to a sci-fi romance, we're 8 minutes into the movie and everyone is dead.

But Jake wakes up again, this time it seems he's himself, in a pilot's suit, in a pod, talking to Vera who's trying to talk him down from severe disorientation and confusion. He's to go back into the train and try to figure out who blew it up and how they did it. And, Groundhog's Day style, he's back in the train waking up with Michelle having the exact same conversation with him.

There's a military project that can project his consciousness into the past for 8 minutes at a time. There's a terrorist who blew up the train and now says he's got a nuke and he's taking out Chicago. And there's Jake, their best hope to figure this out. But (who coulda predicted) Jake falls for Michelle and he's gonna save her, even though she died several hours ago with everyone else when the train blew up. Weird time travel / parallel universe things happen.

Very entertaining, if perhaps a touch hard to follow. Recommended.

I was not a big Gyllenhall fan after brokeback mountain, but it turns out I was mistaken - he's quite good and grows on you. I had the same experience with Nicholas Cage, not liking him at first but now I find him quite entertaining.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 09, 2020, 10:01:34 AM
I had a motorcycle wreck last week - two cracked ribs and the same collarbone break Aaron had a couple years ago. I must lay around and heal for a couple weeks, hence the rash of movies. Four days after my crash I could pull up my own pants, the next day I could get myself out of bed. I'm a big boy now.

The Bourne collection -
The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Jason Bourne (2016)

Matt Damon gets fished out of the mediterranean, two gunshots in the back, no memory, but a little laser pointer implanted in his hip that projects a swiss bank account number. Matt goes on a quest to find out who he is. Turns out he's a trained CIA assassin. Lotsa fight scenes, tension, etc. In subsequent movies he's out but dragged back in by various nefarious persons, all of whom universally want him dead. The first guy to come after him is Dr.Leonard McCoy, apparently beamed down by Scotty.

The plots are perhaps a bit on the thin side. Dialog? Yah, here's a cute statistic: in Jason Bourne (the 4th movie), Matt was paid $25m and spoke exactly 25 lines - $1m per line. Good work if you can get it. Character development is excellent, as the entire four movies are spent figuring out who Matt is and where he came from. And the fight scenes are sublime, this is as good as action gets, right up there with Bruce Lee (who was one of the top martial artists alive until he was brought down by a ball of cotton) and much better than Steven Segal, who is actually a pretty good martial artist but a crummy actor who insists on very unrealistic fight scenes that mostly highlight him doing flashy but stupid stuff. He also could lose 30 pounds and the universe would not tip over as a result. Oh, and Steven - the long black coats don't have any of us fooled. Anyways the Bourne fights are always superbly choreographed and Matt's preparation was excellent. Lots of elbow work. Helpful hint: you need to put someone down, an elbow to the jaw is one great way. Also in Matt's fights when he gets someone down he jumps on them - in most movie fight scenes the guy steps back to see if he's finished the other guy off. He never has. This is very stupid - you get someone down, you jump in and hit them a few more times or they're likely to get back up and try to hurt you.

Your wife will be indifferent at best to these films, but maintaining your guy card requires you watch them. And they're excellent. And the babes are decently cute.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 09, 2020, 10:16:41 AM
Finding Neverland - 2004

Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman, Julie Christie

Johnny Depp, a fantastic actor and a somewhat less than marginal human being, is a brit who writes plays, bored with his marriage. He hangs out at the park for inspiration. There he meets Kate Winslet, a widow, and her three young boys. A big romance ensues and he likes the boys too. He winds up writing a play about the boys - Peter Pan.

This is one of the all time great date night movies, and it's actually kinda fun to watch. There's a great plot with four different plot lines, the acting is sublime, the dialog is great, the character development will make your wife cry, which is always a good thing.

Highly recommended for date night.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 09, 2020, 10:24:55 AM
Elizabethtown - 2005

Kirsten Dunst, Orlando Bloom, Susan Sarandon

Orlando Bloom has just screwed the pooch rather historically badly. He's a designer at a huge shoe company and his newest shoe, "the Spasmodica" loses his boss Alec Baldwin $972 million and is "a failure of mythic proportions, a folk tale that makes other people feel better because it didn't happen to them."  His suicide attempt is interrupted by a trip to Elizabethtown, KY where his father has just died. On the flight down he meets Kirsten Dunst, who decides she is going to have him, in as much as he's both a pirate and the elf Legolas - seriously, what young woman can resist this? Weird rom-com stuff happens in a plot that's as far-fetched as it is contrived.

Your wife will like it ok. You can have a nice nap.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 09, 2020, 10:46:30 AM


Mark, a swift and complete recovery. Yes, the Bourne movies are very good- a lot of "shaky cam" gets you right in on the action. Not as good as "John Wick", but then Bourne uses whatever is around, and, as noted, never retreats. As far as Seagal goes, from what everyone has said he's a world class douche. Literally throws other actors around to show them "who's boss" in the early days, and got banned from SNL and called the worst host ever- for throwing other cast members around to show them who's boss. And, to top off, he runs really, really funny.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQrRRkz1P_4

As far as Depp goes, a vastly wasted talent. Watch "Donnie Brasco", where he has wonderful chemistry with Al Pacino, and the movie itself shows the seamier side of wise dumb guys trying to hustle for bucks. And as far as being a terrible human being, Amber Heard is now being seen for what she apparently always was: a manipulative, abusive, lying POS excuse for a human being.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 10, 2020, 07:17:29 PM
Vanilla Sky - 2001

Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Jason Lee, Cameron Diaz

Based on Abre Los Ojos (open your eyes) - 1997, which, curiously, stars Penelope Cruz in the same role.

Tom is a creature of white privilege - born filthy rich, 51% owner of a publishing company since his parents died. He's got a friend with benefits - Cameron Diaz. Then he meets Penelope Cruz, falls instantly in love, and everything comes crashing down. Hard. Very hard.

Much confusion ensues - he's severely maimed in a car crash beyond repair, then he's repaired, people are in and out of his life, things you knew to be facts suddenly aren't. Phillip K.Dick would have been proud to have written this story, but it wasn't him.

It's not easy to keep up, but in the end all makes sense, all is revealed.

It's a good movie for an evening; not great, no huge human insights (actually there is one rather interesting speech by Cameron), but a curious and interesting film. Lightly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 10, 2020, 07:22:43 PM
Beverly Hills Cop - 1984

Eddie Murphy

If you haven't seen this, then, like, dude, were you on that island with Tom Hanks?

Eddie is a detroit cop who's constantly getting into trouble, but also the best detective they have. His friend gets out of jail, gets a job in LA for a few months, appears at Eddie's apartment, and two hours later gets shot dead. In front of Eddie. Now we're in for a murder mystery which is one of the most hilarious movies ever made. Heck, Eddie Murphy keeps making movies, he's up to, I dunno, 30, and we keep watching to see if he catches fire again. He doesn't. But if you're gonna peak and decline, Beverly Hills Cop is a hell of a peak.

Great for watching with the guys, great for date night, great for watching alone. Just great.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on August 10, 2020, 07:26:08 PM
I'm a big fan of Robert Ludlum. I try to write like him, by weaving ploy lines together but not as successful as he was. I really liked his Bourne books, but my favorite was Matarese Circle. Almost became a movie with Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise but was terminated before production.
I was bored by the second Bourne movie, but liked the Bourne Legacy. It's like the Star Wars movies...I liked Rouge One the best. For the Avengers...Captain Marvel.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on August 10, 2020, 07:29:15 PM
Mark, also pray for a quick recovery. The collarbone is the worst. Usually can wrap a rib and keep trucking to a point, but not that collarbone.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 10, 2020, 08:01:41 PM
Highlander - 1986

Christopher Lambert, Clancy Brown, Sean Connery

"There can be only one"

Earth harbors a dozen or so immortals, except you can kill them by cutting their heads off. If you do you pick up their "power." Lambert is born dirty and stupid in about 1500 in the scottish highlands, discovers he can't be killed, and gets thrown out of his village for being in league with the devil. 'Cause all seriously good stuff comes from the devil, right? James Bond is also immortal, but has been hit on the head and thinks he's a spanish conquistador. Who lived in Japan 2500 years ago, and got a samurai sword 1000 years before samurai swords were made. 'Cause M give it to him with a watch and a car. No gas, so the car is gone, and the watch didn't make the 2000 year mark, sorry. Also, immortal or not, he's old. What's up with that? I mean, seriously, if you ever get a wish, make sure you say "immortal and 30 forever."

Dialog, character development, plot, intrigue, romance - this film has next to nothing. But Clancy Brown makes a good Immortal Hell's Angel, and there are a bunch of incompetent sword fights. 'Cause the cut off the head thing.

This movie does not stand the test of time well. I understand they're remaking it - the remake could hardly be worse. 'Cept, aren't movies over? Certainly theaters are. They say Fantastic Beasts 4 and 5 will be HBO movies. Dear JKR: yah, we all love you, but you still have to write decent stuff.

Not recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 11, 2020, 09:56:42 AM
I was bored by the second Bourne movie, but liked the Bourne Legacy. It's like the Star Wars movies...I liked Rouge One the best. For the Avengers...Captain Marvel.

You think Rogue One and Captain Marvel are the best of the Star Wars and Marvel universe movies? Wow. To me the former was a mess with a decent third act, but poor character development and gaping plot holes. Captain Marvel was more like "Captain Meh", a forgettable movie, similar to "Antman and The Wasp". "Wonder Woman", though largely lacking in side character development (what did all those guys who were along with her and Steve do? The actor didn't act, the sharpshooter never shot, the native American was there but did nothing, and I think there was someone else. A movie of some very good scenes, but again, huge plot holes and a poor third act. JMO
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on August 11, 2020, 04:07:33 PM
A movie of some very good scenes, but again, huge plot holes and a poor third act. JMO
I thought Wonder Woman was 2/3 of a good movie.  They should have just ended it at that point, like you say the last act dragged it down.
Captain Marvel is the only Marvel movie I haven't seen - yet. 

Anyone see JoJo Rabbit?  That was pretty good.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on August 12, 2020, 07:54:52 AM
I was bored by the second Bourne movie, but liked the Bourne Legacy. It's like the Star Wars movies...I liked Rouge One the best. For the Avengers...Captain Marvel.

You think Rogue One and Captain Marvel are the best of the Star Wars and Marvel universe movies? Wow. To me the former was a mess with a decent third act, but poor character development and gaping plot holes. Captain Marvel was more like "Captain Meh", a forgettable movie, similar to "Antman and The Wasp". "Wonder Woman", though largely lacking in side character development (what did all those guys who were along with her and Steve do? The actor didn't act, the sharpshooter never shot, the native American was there but did nothing, and I think there was someone else. A movie of some very good scenes, but again, huge plot holes and a poor third act. JMO
Every Star War movie is the same...IMHO, I liked Rouge One because it was different. I liked the back story of the Kree in Capt. Marvel. Frankly don't care to watch any Avenger movies...again same story just different characters.
The problem with both brands is consistency and making sure the history is carried forward to the next movie and characters.

I also realized that Guardians of the Galaxy was also an Avenger movie...so that was my favorite.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on August 12, 2020, 03:06:12 PM
Oblivion - 2013

Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman

Aliens attacked the earth, we beaten off, but the earth is more or less ruined as a result. Tom is one of a few thousand left protecting the earth from attacks from the few remaining aliens while everyone else on earth moves to Titan, a moon of Saturn (n.b. - Titan is nothing like human habitable, with surface temperatures that average -290 degrees).

Then Tom gets captured by the aliens, who turn out to be humans. Things get progressively more weird from there. Very minor spoiler: turns out the humans didn't actually win.

An entertaining sci-fi romp, recommended.

Critics hated it. I thought it was ok
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 12, 2020, 04:43:37 PM
Oblivion - 2013

Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman

Aliens attacked the earth, we beaten off, but the earth is more or less ruined as a result. Tom is one of a few thousand left protecting the earth from attacks from the few remaining aliens while everyone else on earth moves to Titan, a moon of Saturn (n.b. - Titan is nothing like human habitable, with surface temperatures that average -290 degrees).

Then Tom gets captured by the aliens, who turn out to be humans. Things get progressively more weird from there. Very minor spoiler: turns out the humans didn't actually win.

An entertaining sci-fi romp, recommended.

Critics hated it. I thought it was ok

Much better, by far, is "Live, Die, Repeat" (AKA "Edge of Tomorrow"). It's like "Groundhog Day", only the stakes are much higher. You'll have to pay close attention, but it's worthwhile.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on August 12, 2020, 06:27:41 PM
I liked Edge of Tomorrow, its a see it one time and maybe once more to make sure you didn't miss anything.
The last two movies I watch at a theater were Midway, really enjoyed and accurate, and Ford verses Ferrari....
Know a man with with a first name of Carroll that was good friends with Shelby. Great stories!
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 12, 2020, 06:29:15 PM
V for Vendetta - 2005

Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, John Hurt

Written by the Wachowski, um, persons. Famed for making The Matrix.

Hugo is the man in the mask - we never see his face. Britain has become a heavily policed and monitored country run as a Orwellian dictatorship by John Hurt. Natalie is out after curfew and about to be raped, Hugo steps in and saves her, then takes her home Hugo has a plot to blow up parliament building, just as Guy Fawkes tried in the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Hugo wear a Guy Fawkes mask. He's going to free Britain. It's a very weird movie, perhaps a bit difficult to follow. It continues the oft repeated belief that if you kill the dictator and his top five lieutenants, then suddenly all the entrenched power structures like police and fascist industrialists will suddenly turn into nice democrats. Right. Hugo is going to overthrow this government with some karate, quick knife work, and a steel plate so that mostly bullets bounce off. Mostly.

Anyway, the movie is quite weird and kinda good. Your wife is unlikely to like it I think. Sorta lightly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 12, 2020, 09:04:33 PM
V for Vendetta - 2005

Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, John Hurt

Written by the Wachowski, um, persons. Famed for making The Matrix.

Hugo is the man in the mask - we never see his face. Britain has become a heavily policed and monitored country run as a Orwellian dictatorship by John Hurt. Natalie is out after curfew and about to be raped, Hugo steps in and saves her, then takes her home Hugo has a plot to blow up parliament building, just as Guy Fawkes tried in the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Hugo wear a Guy Fawkes mask. He's going to free Britain. It's a very weird movie, perhaps a bit difficult to follow. It continues the oft repeated belief that if you kill the dictator and his top five lieutenants, then suddenly all the entrenched power structures like police and fascist industrialists will suddenly turn into nice democrats. Right. Hugo is going to overthrow this government with some karate, quick knife work, and a steel plate so that mostly bullets bounce off. Mostly.

Anyway, the movie is quite weird and kinda good. Your wife is unlikely to like it I think. Sorta lightly recommended.

Definitely not a date night movie- especially the torture scenes with Portman. But a fascinating movie nonetheless. Highly recommended. And if you've ever seen "Mr. Robot" (and everyone should), they "borrow" the idea of the Guy Fawkes mask to be used by the anarchistic "F Society."
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on August 12, 2020, 10:21:23 PM
Oblivion - 2013

Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman

Aliens attacked the earth, we beaten off, but the earth is more or less ruined as a result. Tom is one of a few thousand left protecting the earth from attacks from the few remaining aliens while everyone else on earth moves to Titan, a moon of Saturn (n.b. - Titan is nothing like human habitable, with surface temperatures that average -290 degrees).

Then Tom gets captured by the aliens, who turn out to be humans. Things get progressively more weird from there. Very minor spoiler: turns out the humans didn't actually win.

An entertaining sci-fi romp, recommended.

Critics hated it. I thought it was ok

Much better, by far, is "Live, Die, Repeat" (AKA "Edge of Tomorrow"). It's like "Groundhog Day", only the stakes are much higher. You'll have to pay close attention, but it's worthwhile.

Saw that one too. I agree I liked it a lot more as well. Terrible origional first title, probably would have done better had it came out as live, die, repeat.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on August 12, 2020, 10:24:07 PM
I liked Edge of Tomorrow, its a see it one time and maybe once more to make sure you didn't miss anything.
The last two movies I watch at a theater were Midway, really enjoyed and accurate, and Ford verses Ferrari....
Know a man with with a first name of Carroll that was good friends with Shelby. Great stories!

Saw Midway, I liked it. Glad I didn't pay money to see it in theaters but was a good movie. Greyhound with T.Hanks was good. Not as good as Midway but a decent WW2 movie. Probably a good idea that it never came out in theateres, I don't think it would have made much.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 14, 2020, 03:35:09 PM
Donnie Darko - 2001.

Jake & Maggie Gyllenhaal

Jake is a young man who appears to have schizophrenia. He sees a gigantic rabbit that no one else sees. Weird stuff happens - he floods the school, makes fun of a motivational speaker, calling him spawn of the devil, and burns down the speaker's house, which reveals the speaker is into child porn - turns out Jake called it. Then he finds out "grandma death," a 101 year old woman down the street, wrote a book: "the philosophy of time travel." His life is echoing the book.

Later we find out essentially all of the movie takes place in a "tangent universe," a copy of our universe that can only exist for a short time. If Donnie and his helpers (which include the rabbit) don't fix things, both universes will be destroyed.

I found this movie difficult to follow - it's the kind of movie you're supposed to watch three or four times, then I guess it starts to fall into place. It was a curious film, the acting and character development were good, but I'm not gonna watch it three more times. It wasn't that good. Surprisingly, at least to me, it has a pretty high audience score. I think I'm neutral on it.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 14, 2020, 05:45:54 PM
Donnie Darko is a complicated, involved, weird and challenging movie. Indeed, you do need multiple viewings to get the hang of what is going on. Or, you could just hop over to YouTube and ask them for opinions. Here are two:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nAL2Afgprc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xksMpeMHbTE

IF YOU ARE PLANNING IN SEEING THE MOVIE, WATCH IT FIRST, THEN READ THE EXPLANATIONS, because SPOILERS.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 14, 2020, 06:48:47 PM
To Wong Foo, Thanks for everything! Julie Newmar - 1995

Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo, Julie Newmar

It's hard to describe this movie.

I rented it in 1995, when it first came out. I saw Swayze and Snipes on the cover and that was enough for me. I was expecting a thin plot involving bad guys and weapons and fights, lotsa fights. I put the movie on. Patrick Swayze is stepping out of the shower, then he sits down and proceeds with makeup and various appendages to transform himself into a drag queen. You switch between Swayze and Snipes, who is also transforming himself. Leguizamo turns up a bit later, he's a "drag princess." A contrived story follows which is surprisingly funny, after you get over being shocked. The plot isn't important; however Swayze and Snipes make stunningly convincing drag queens. Apparently neither are (were) gay, so I guess this is just very good acting.

Lightly recommended. If you're in the mood. Your wife likely will like it, perhaps it's a good date night movie.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 14, 2020, 10:03:31 PM
Memento -2000

Guy Pearce, Carrie‑Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan of Batman, Interstellar, Inception.

A murder mystery told in reverse. Some time ago Guy's wife was raped and killed and he was attacked, with the result that he can't form short term memories. As the movie starts, he's killing a guy to get his revenge. We then see the story unfold except in reverse, finding out who the characters are and how he came to his conclusion that this is the guy to kill.

We're left with several unanswered key questions: who killed his wife and why? He shot his wife's killer, but then a 2nd guy hit him from behind, resulting in the injury that means he can't form memories. Who hit him from behind? Why was his wife killed? What we find out is Guy is satisfied, but we know he's killed the wrong guy. The guy he killed needs killing, but that's not the point.

I didn't care for it. In the movie's defense it's quite highly rated, but I don't know why. I don't recommend it.



Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 15, 2020, 08:59:16 PM
her - 2013

Joaquin Phoenix, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams

Joaquin is going through a divorce and gets a new computer with an AI operating system. He winds up falling in love with his computer, which, in turn, says it's falling in love with him. Sex is, um, weird. Inevitably (spoiler) the AI gets in touch with other AIs on the internet and grows - grows beyond Joaquin, and indeed grown beyond needing a physical computer to run.

I'm not sure what exactly this story was about - you couldn't say it's about the human condition, in as much as in this movie more and more humans are completely disappearing into their computers, with only minimal actual human interactions. Indeed, Amy Adams has her husband leave her, join a Buddhist monastery, and take a vow of no sex and no talking, which you have to think would be something of a blow to a nice girl's ego.

I'm pretty sure this is a chick flick, in as much as it's about relationships and emotions and no one fights anyone. I can't predict if your particular chick will like it. I guess it's ok as a date night movie, not great, not terrible. 'Cause afterwards you would talk about how everyone felt and how that worked out for them.

ps: "Rooney Mara" as in Art Rooney and Wellington Mara, owners of the Steelers and Giants, her two grandfathers.


Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 15, 2020, 09:05:03 PM
Solitary Man - 2009.

Michael Douglass, Mary-Louise Parker, Danny DeVito, Susan Sarandon, Jesse Eisenberg

Michael has a bunch of car dealerships, he's rich, famous, powerful - then he has his doctor tell him he doesn't love his EKG and wants him back for more advanced heart tests. Michael goes kinda mid-life crises nuts, pretty soon he's done a bunch of young girls, screwed a bunch of customers and the auto companies, he's lost his dealerships, his marriage, his money, even his kids are sick of him. He gets a girlfriend, the delicious Mary-Louise Parker, but that relationship goes south when he sleeps with her daughter.

This is another "I guess it's a chick flick, 'cause it's all about relationships and feelings and there are no fight scenes." Well, one fight scene, but it's really just a hired security guy beating the crap out of Michael and telling him tomorrow morning would be a good time to leave town.

Again, I can't predict how your chick will respond to it. I guess it's a date night movie.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on August 17, 2020, 04:28:07 PM
To Wong Foo, Thanks for everything! Julie Newmar - 1995

Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo, Julie Newmar

It's hard to describe this movie.

I rented it in 1995, when it first came out. I saw Swayze and Snipes on the cover and that was enough for me. I was expecting a thin plot involving bad guys and weapons and fights, lotsa fights. I put the movie on. Patrick Swayze is stepping out of the shower, then he sits down and proceeds with makeup and various appendages to transform himself into a drag queen. You switch between Swayze and Snipes, who is also transforming himself. Leguizamo turns up a bit later, he's a "drag princess." A contrived story follows which is surprisingly funny, after you get over being shocked. The plot isn't important; however Swayze and Snipes make stunningly convincing drag queens. Apparently neither are (were) gay, so I guess this is just very good acting.

Lightly recommended. If you're in the mood. Your wife likely will like it, perhaps it's a good date night movie.

Ha! Funny story about that movie. Me and some friends went to see it in theaters when we were in high school. We went to try and sneak into another R rated movie that was playing. Long story short we wernt able to sneak in so we sat through most of the movie.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 17, 2020, 05:15:16 PM
Bad Boys - 1995

Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Joe Pantoliano, Téa Leoni   

Will and Martin are cops who, before the movie, had made a huge heroin bust - $100m worth or something like that. Clever crooks steal the heroin out of the evidence lockup, and the chase is on.

Martin and Will take pot shots at each other constantly, it quickly gets old 'cause it's out of hand. And it's not funny after the first few. The plot is pretty predictable, and revolves around Will and Martin lying to Martin's wife and their prime witness about who is who. And who's on first. That gets old pretty quick too. Lotsa gun fights, lotsa carnage, big explosions, and a big chase scene in an airport between a custom porsche and a shelby cobra. The cobra gets wrecked, but not to worry - in the wreckage there's torn up fiberglass. It's a fake - a kit car. Easy to replace. Not like that 160 year old Martin guitar destroyed in the Hateful Eight where they simply entirely screwed the pooch. Bad Quentin. Bad, bad, bad.

This is another film that doesn't stand the test of time very well. I dunno, maybe it would be more fun in a black theater, where there's lotsa audience participation.

Not recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 17, 2020, 05:26:29 PM
Up - 2009.

Yet another money making Pixar film.

I'd never seen this, there's just too many of these films to keep up anymore. Buy it's highly rated so we gave it a go.

The plot ranges from highly improbably to statistically impossible. There's a cute big colorful bird who's at the center of the plot - the bad guy wants it dead and stuffed, the good guys want it back with its cute little colorful babies. Aerial warfare between a Hindenburg class blimp and a house with balloons. Biplanes with machine guns piloted by trained dogs. How do you beat them? Point in a random direction and yell "Squirrel!" The dogs go for it every time.

I was unimpressed. But the girlfriend liked it, and had there been grandkids I'm sure they would have liked it too. But why? You got the little mermaid, the princess bride, second hand lions, frozen, toy story, ice age, the incredibles; why would you go here?

not particularly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 18, 2020, 05:57:53 AM
Gladiator - 2000

Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Richard Harris

by Ridley Scott

Richard is the Caesar, but he's old and dying. (btw, everyone pronounces this wrong, including everyone in this movie. "Julius Caesar" is pronounced "Yoolius Kaiser", which is why Germany had a Kaiser and Russia had a Czar.) He decides to pass over his son Joaquin and hand power over to his favorite general Russell. Joaquin gets told this, kills his father, and proclaims himself caesar. Then he orders Russell and his wife and son all murdered. Which is ok, I guess, as these things go, except Russell gets free, kills his four would be executioners, and takes off for home. He gets there too late, wife and son are already dead. He gets captured and sold into slavery, where he becomes a gladiator who fights and kills for entertainment. Kinda like the NFL except you need a new QB every week, last week's is used up. Now he's on a mission to kill the Caesar, the emperor of a quarter of the world's population. Connie Nielsen is on loan from being Queen of the Amazons to be the Caesar's sister.

Acting, dialog, character development, plot, action, romance, this movie is the complete package. Highly recommended.

All the chicks like Russell, at least this young and thin version of him, so this is a very good date night movie. Highly entertaining. Of course these days Russell weighs about 100 pounds more than he did, so the eye candy coefficient is much lower. In these covid days putting on major weight is perhaps not your best choice for a number of reasons. Nor is smoking.

(https://www.nme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/gladiator-2-696x442.jpg) (https://i2-prod.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article18780187.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/0_PAY-EXCLUSIVE-From-Bulging-Biceps-to-Bulging-Belly-Russell-Crowe-Looks-Unrecognizable-as-He-Films-New.jpg)

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on August 18, 2020, 07:02:22 AM
OMG...that picture of Crowe is awful. Maybe the last movie I saw him in was Nice Guys with Ryan Gosling. It's a fun movie to watch, and I noticed that Crowe was heavier than I remembered. I can't say I'm any slim jim myself, but that kind of weight will kill him.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 18, 2020, 09:14:09 PM
Saving Private Ryan - 1998

Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Ted Danson, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Vin Diesel

By Steven Spielberg   

There are four Ryan brothers in the war, but three are killed in the Normandy invasion. Tom Hanks is sent to collect up the fourth, Matt Damon, and return him to home. Of course no one has a clue where Matt is.

The film starts with the Normandy invasion. When this film came out I went to the theater to see something else. I was a bit early. There was a woman standing outside the room, next to the door, crying. I asked what was up - she choked out that it was too intense. I popped in for the first 15 minutes of the film, the landing on the beach. The ocean is red with blood, dead bodies everywhere, body parts everywhere. I walked out and said to her, "You aren't kidding."

Then we're sent off on our quest to find, and save, private Ryan.

It's a quite realistic war movie - no one has a clue what's going on, they have only vague ideas of where they are, and no plan survives more than a minute or so into battle.

It's a great movie, of course, highly recommended. Has Steven ever let us down? (Ans: As a director, no. As a producer, um, well, Men In Black International had best keep away from N.Korea, they're rounding up and eating dogs this month.)

You'll be wanting to encourage your S.O. to pop out of the room for the first 15 minutes. After that the gore level is bearable.



Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on August 19, 2020, 01:20:42 AM
Gladiator - 2000

Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Richard Harris

by Ridley Scott

Richard is the Caesar, but he's old and dying. (btw, everyone pronounces this wrong, including everyone in this movie. "Julius Caesar" is pronounced "Yoolius Kaiser", which is why Germany had a Kaiser and Russia had a Czar.) He decides to pass over his son Joaquin and hand power over to his favorite general Russell. Joaquin gets told this, kills his father, and proclaims himself caesar. Then he orders Russell and his wife and son all murdered. Which is ok, I guess, as these things go, except Russell gets free, kills his four would be executioners, and takes off for home. He gets there too late, wife and son are already dead. He gets captured and sold into slavery, where he becomes a gladiator who fights and kills for entertainment. Kinda like the NFL except you need a new QB every week, last week's is used up. Now he's on a mission to kill the Caesar, the emperor of a quarter of the world's population. Connie Nielsen is on loan from being Queen of the Amazons to be the Caesar's sister.

Acting, dialog, character development, plot, action, romance, this movie is the complete package. Highly recommended.

All the chicks like Russell, at least this young and thin version of him, so this is a very good date night movie. Highly entertaining. Of course these days Russell weighs about 100 pounds more than he did, so the eye candy coefficient is much lower. In these covid days putting on major weight is perhaps not your best choice for a number of reasons. Nor is smoking.

(https://www.nme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/gladiator-2-696x442.jpg) (https://i2-prod.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article18780187.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/0_PAY-EXCLUSIVE-From-Bulging-Biceps-to-Bulging-Belly-Russell-Crowe-Looks-Unrecognizable-as-He-Films-New.jpg)


Those pics are both funny and scary.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on August 19, 2020, 03:24:42 PM
Those pics are both funny and scary.
I was thinking it was kind of sad.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 19, 2020, 05:53:40 PM
The Shawshank Redemption - 1994

Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins

Written by Steven King

Tim is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. Morgan Freeman is already in the prison and becomes Tim's friend. This is a story of a justice and prison system gone very bad, of friendship under the most unlikely circumstances, and the redemption of our hero. Not before he gets scarred up a bit, however.

Acting, dialog, character development, plot, drama, action - all we're missing is romance. This is a great movie, definitely see it. Good for date night too.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 20, 2020, 09:18:48 PM
Collateral - 2004

Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith

Tom is an assassin. Jamie is a cab driver who happens to pick him up, and finds out now he's driving him to five kills. (Fun fact: Tom was Katie Holmes main squeeze, then he dumped her 'cause she refused to "get clear," now Jamie is her main squeeze.) They drive around LA killing people and having adventures.

It's a fun mindless ride. Not a huge amount of acting. A bit of clever dialog (guy falls through a 4th story window, hits the cab. Jamie: You Killed That Guy!" Cruise: I didn't kill him. I shot him. The bullet and the fall killed him.) Lotsa action. The romance consists of Jamie saving Jada's live, which, while that will definitely get you laid, I'm not sure it's up there with sunset canoe trips and cabin in the woods in the rain and a room full of flowers.

Recommended if you're looking for a semi-mindless shoot-em-up.

A friend's daughter once asked me if she should marry Matt. I said, "Well, he's never going to win the Nobel prize in physics." "No. No he's not." "But he will run into a burning building three times to save you and your babies, and that counts too." "Yah, that does count." They're married now, about ten years, two little boys and a doggie and a green subaru outback. Matt fights forest fires in California. He wouldn't hesitate to run into a burning building. (he probably couldn't even spell quantum).
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: OneTwoSixFive on August 21, 2020, 02:10:51 PM
I thought the quality of the film 'Collateral' was much higher than Mark valued it, far too good to be called semi-mindless.

Great film imo, and Cruise is very good as a stone killer.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 22, 2020, 09:32:02 AM
Inside Man - 2006

Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christopher Plummer

By Spike Lee

This is a mystery movie. Clive determines to rob a manhattan bank. He walks in with his team, waves around a bunch of guns and starts shouting for everyone to get on the floor. Denzel is sent to the bank to negotiate. Jody Foster is called in by the bank president to protect the only thing in the bank he cares about, the content of one particular safety deposit box.

Lots of drama and confusion ensue, topped off when the robbers release everyone. A million police come into the bank, there's no robbers and nothing was taken.

An excellent movie, and good for date night 'cause chicks like mysteries too. Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on August 22, 2020, 12:51:29 PM
Saving Pvt. Ryan is one of my favorite movies.
Inside Man, Man on Fire, Equalizer, I'm not sure Denzel has made a movie I didn't like. I think he's America's Sean Connery...action movies but much better acting. Inside Man was a really intriguing movie. Saw an European version of it and was good as well. Sorry I can't remember the name. Old age you know....
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 22, 2020, 06:23:12 PM
Mystic River - 2003

Kevin Bacon, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins

By Clint Eastwood, who never lets us down.

Based on Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

20 years ago Sean, Kevin and Tim are 11 y/o boys, playing in the street in Boston. A couple guys drive up, flash a badge, harass the boys and drive off with Tim. They're child molesters, Tim spends four days getting worked over then escapes.

Modern time, Kevin's pregnant wife has left him. She calls every day but says nothing. Kevin has no clue what to do to fix it. Sean is a neighborhood mob boss, he's got a few brainless thugs working for him and they do small jobs. Tim is married with a kid but he considers himself one of the walking dead - he never really came back from the abduction, now he thinks himself a vampire, just going through the motions of being alive. This is, of course, very realistic - children who are molested pretty much never get over it.

Then Sean's 19 y/o daughter gets dead. Now it's a murder mystery and the three childhood friends are all twisted up in it. Sean lost a daughter and means to avenge her; Kevin is the detective working the case; Tim is a prime suspect.

But it's also a story about marriage and loyalty. Some of the women are really good wives and mothers, their families hold together through this stress and make it out the other side. Kevin is committed to his wife and his family makes it through in the end. Some of the women are, by contrast, immature and uncommitted to their families. Those women's families don't come out of the stress so well. Not well at all.

Clint only makes good movies, and this is perhaps his best - nominated for best picture. And deservedly so. It's excellent. A great date night movie. Maybe not so great for kids, there's adult themes here, but your wife will love it and so will you. Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 23, 2020, 05:38:32 PM
Shutter Island - 2010

Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

By Martin Scorsese

Based on Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

DiCaprio is a US marshall, called out in 1954 to this island to investigate the disappearance of a dangerous inmate from a locked cell. The escape is clearly impossible. Ruffalo is his partner. DiCaprio and Ruffalo muck about the island looking for clues, while DiCaprio has flashbacks to his actions in WWII and to his wife and kids, now apparently dead. The flashbacks get longer and weirder until we start being unclear on what is reality and what is a psychotic break. There's a twist in the end which seems both inevitable and unpredictable. So it's a psycho-drama mystery with murder involved somewhere.

The acting, dialog, directing is good, but the plot is difficult to follow. Especially because, as noted, we start to lose track of reality, which in fact is part of the point of the film.

If you want a complicated movie where afterwards you and your SO can spent 45 minutes dissecting it over coffee to try to figure out what you just watched, this is your beautiful movie. If you just want to be entertained, maybe not so much.

It's too well put together for me to pan it - Martin Scorsese is pretty good. But it's just too bizarre and difficult for me to recommend.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 23, 2020, 07:21:05 PM
Kids Movies:

I watch these when kids come over. They're all excellent and highly recommended. Highly. This is not so much a review as a statement of position: you need to entertain kids, these are your go to movies.

The Princess Bride - 1987.  "This word, 'impossible', I do not think it means what you think it means." Westley, a stable boy, falls in love with Buttercup, the owner's daughter. He goes off to make his fortune so that they can marry. Buttercup meanwhile gets noticed by the local scumbag prince who abducts her to marry her. Westley returns just in time, now The Dread Pirate Roberts, and he must go on a convoluted and highly improbably quest to rescue his love. With cameos from Billie Crystal and Carol Kane who steal their scenes. For kids 8 - 80.

Secondhand Lions - 2003. More or less the boy's version of The Princess Bride. 10 y/o Walter has a mom who's an unreliable slut. He gets dumped on his two uncles whom he has never met, deep in the heart of Texas, while Mom pursues her latest beau who will rescue her. The uncles are grumpy old men with no experience with kids. But they have a great story - war, love, princes, treasure, a beautiful princess, non-stop adventure. And at some point they buy a second hand lion. This movie is positively spell binding. For kids 8-80.

Toy Story - 1995 (1, 2, 3, 4). Tim Allen and Tom Hanks are a Buzz Lightyear and Woody, a couple of toys. Andy has a bunch of toys, and when no one is looking they come to life and have adventures, getting Andy and each other out of trouble. While no one is looking. Personally I thought #4 was a bit of a let down, but even then it was pretty good. For kids 4-80. Possibly the best cartoon series ever made. Possibly.

The Incredibles - 2004 (1, 2). A cartoon about a pair of superheros who get married, retire from superheroing, and have some kids. Things aren't going well for Mr.Incredible - he craves the action and adventure he used to know, and now he's an insurance adjuster with the boss from hell. Then a super villain conveniently appears. This movie is simply hilarious and possibly the best cartoon series ever made. Possibly. Incredibles #2 is just as good, maybe even a little better. For kids 6-80.

Ice Age - 2002. 20,000 years ago animals deal with glaciers. At the time of this writing there are 6 in the series. These are fantastic cartoons, good for kids 4-80. They quality slips a bit in the later movies, but that's ok: you can just watch the first one 45 times.

The Little Mermaid - 1989 and Frozen - 2013. Princesses get into trouble. But trouble in the Jane Austin sense: "My characters shall have, after a little trouble, all that they desire." The Little Mermaid is fixated on leaving the ocean for land, then she sees a handsome prince and she's in love. Magic, mean witches, problems with love and a great soundtrack. Great for little girls 4-80. Frozen, the princesses live in, I dunno, Norway, and their world is coming apart. They have to go on a trek into the frozen wilderness and find a way to save their village. (n.b. - their absent parents are secretly on a ship to Africa, the ship goes down, they make it to shore, have a son then die. The son gets raised by apes and you can guess who he is. None of this is part of the movie, but it's cannon so when Frozen 3 comes out expect to meet the long lost brother.) The older princess turns out to have ice powers. The singing is incredible. For little girls 4-80. Boys won't like these movies as well. 'Cause, you know, girls have cooties and they just want to talk about feelings and hug and kiss all the time. Ugh.

Your grandkids come over, these are what you need.



Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 23, 2020, 08:16:32 PM
I had read the book "Shutter Island", and found it interesting. Saw the movie, and was bored. Mainly because I already knew what was going to happen. Sometimes Scorcese doesn't deliver- see "Color of Money" or "After Hours" or even "Cape Fear". Good movies, lots of stars, but they just don't deliver. IMO
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 24, 2020, 05:46:11 AM
Gone baby, gone - 2007

Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris

By Ben Affleck

Based on Gone baby, gone by Dennis Lehane

A 5/yo little girl disappears from her house. The entire community wants her back. In child abductions if you don't get then within 24 hours, you're not going to get them. 3 days after she disappears the girl's aunt hires Casey and Michelle, two private eyes, to find her. Ed Harris is the rough and skeptical cop they are assigned to work with. Casey gets some leads - mom is a drug runner and drug whore and she stole $130k on a drug deal gone bad. They make a deal with the drug lord to trade the $130k for the little girl, but the deal goes south, drug lord and little girl are both dead now. Or maybe not. . .

Ben does a great job of directing, and has a good cast of actors to work with. The book and the screenplay are also both pretty good. Acting, dialog, plot, drama, character development, action, it's all here. The plot gets a little hard to follow at one key point - you have to be listening very carefully. Unfortunately the superhero movies have trained us to just lay back and watch everything blow up.

A good date night picture. Recommended.

Remember when date night involved babysitters and leaving your house? Yah, well, we're all scared to do that now, aren't we? Pucking foliticians.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 24, 2020, 10:04:27 AM
Mark, don't know what is up in your part of the country, but here the restaurants are open with some restrictions (masks, gloves provided at buffets, social distancing), and the movie theater just opened. For those afraid to go out, fine. If you want to take the risk, fine. We've also been going to South Padre Island for two day stays the last few months, since the hotel we prefer re-opened in May. Life isn't totally normal, but we refuse to live in fear. Being careful, not fearful is the mantra in our household.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 24, 2020, 10:18:08 AM
restaurants are open here with half seating. Theaters are not. No symphony yet. Chiefs will play for 20,000 - I guess that's better than the Packers 0.

But we're out of the habit of going out now. We go to Costco and Sam's club with the doggies every saturday, that's our big outing. And I've been in motorcycle shops designing windshield a couple times a week for the last couple of months. And Walmart. Where they gave us non-stop crap for my girlfriend standing in the lobby with the dogs (90+ outside), so now we put the dog's vests on and bring them in.

I feel very badly for all those honest, hard working restaurant owners with whom the government is having involuntary sex. And the theater owners - I'm not sure they're ever coming back.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on August 24, 2020, 12:01:47 PM
In North Texas (30 miles north of Dallas) where we live, 50-70% of the independent restaurants in the area will close. A couple of guys in that business get on a conference call with Chamber and discuss the issues. It was there that they determined the closure rate. It's sad, because we are a city of 200k and the best places to eat are those family owned restaurants.
I have taken our grandson, 5 years old, to see a movie but remember Hollywood has been in hibernation since Feb. so not missing a lot. Frankly not sure we ever miss a lot. Mark might have reviewed the best movies compared to those that will be made in the foreseeable future.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 24, 2020, 01:02:14 PM
Us baby boomers aren't coming off very well here, are we? We were born into a country of hope and optimism, where work was rewarded and a decent retirement was assured to those who kept their nose reasonably clean.

Now we have sociopaths running hollywood, wall street and DC, hoarding all the money and power. No one retires. College degrees are mostly next to worthless. Those under 25 can't get a job with a future for love or money. Our country is the world leader in sex trafficking. We have military troupes in 174 countries, and we've completely destroyed the middle east. The debt based economy we've invented has infected most of the world and, I believe, will bring about its economic downfall, thrusting billions into unlivable poverty. All the promise of Woodstock and the summer of love has turned into unbridled culture-destroying greed.

We did, however, make the best music. We still got that.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 24, 2020, 04:02:48 PM

OK, now let's talk about movies before this thread gets bogged down in politics. Please.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on August 24, 2020, 04:46:08 PM
We did, however, make the best music. We still got that.
No doubt about that.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 24, 2020, 06:26:05 PM
Live by Night - 2017

Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper   

by Ben Affleck

Based on Live by Night by Dennis Lehane

Ben gets out of WW I and he's had enough of following orders, and enough of killing people. He becomes a small time bank robber with a babe - the incredibly delicious Sienna Miller, who also happens to be the main squeeze of the local Irish mob boss. That ends badly, of course.

Ben winds up in Florida making and moving rum during prohibition, but winds up on the wrong side of the KKK, the law, and other mobsters. Since it's florida there's cubans everywhere, and he winds up in love with the equally delicious Zoe Saldana. These mob guys, they get the best looking girls, you gotta give them that.

It's a story of a guy trying to make his own way in the world at a time when it's nearly impossible to make an honest buck. And, being a Lehane story, these undercurrents of loyalty are present - those who fail their loyalty test are treated harshly.

Helpful hint: Elle Fanning winds up in LA, addicted to heroin, whoring for drugs. Her father, Chris Cooper, the local chief of police, is rather beside himself when Ben shows him some unsubtle pictures. Teenage girls don't just accidentally become a drug whore. The root cause of this behavior always goes back much further into their childhood, and always involves some form of abuse from a trusted person.

Ben is a good director, the acting is quite good, dialog is good. The plot is a bit, I dunno, forced? artificial? It's an enjoyable movie for an evening, and my girlfriend liked it too so I guess it's good for date night. There's modern themes of white privilege v. brown skin stuff, they're not overpowering but they're not exactly buried either.

Anyway, lightly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 24, 2020, 08:33:48 PM
The Drop - 2014

Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace

Based on Animal Rescue by Dennis Lehane

Tom Hardy is a bar tender. Gandolfini used to own the bar, but he got into the mob with gambling debts, and now they own the bar. The bar is used as a drop - bookies handle a lot of cash, they can't just go carrying it around, so the mob has "drops" where they drop off the cash.

Tom finds a puppy in a trash can, beat up rather badly. It's Noomi's trash can. A weird, convoluted plot follows. The plot is hard to describe, because, as I see it, the plot is just unconnected thoughts of the author. The acting is below average, the dialog is thin, there's no romance - Noomi is damaged goods, and the guys are all crooks on some level or other. Basically I can't see a reason to watch this movie.

Not recommended.

And that's it for Dennis Lehane.  We had Mystic River, which is quite good. Gone baby gone and Live by Night, which were so-so. Shutter Island, which was an excellently made forgettable movie. And The Drop, which was a poorly made forgettable movie.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 25, 2020, 07:56:50 PM
Mulholland Drive - 2001

Naomi Watts, Laura Harring

By Peter Lynch

Critics loved this film; audiences a bit less so. It's not easy to understand. Spoilers alert: The first two-thirds of the film are a dream of Naomi, her image of what happened to her. She meets Laura, the two have an affair, Naomi falls in love, Laura leaves her. Late in the film we fall into a blue box - this is the transition from dream to reality. Laura is now engaged to a director and apparently simultaneously having an affair with yet another actress, and invited Naomi to her engagement party - an act of torture of which the narcissistic Laura is unaware. It ends with Naomi putting out a hit on Laura and then, consumed by guilt, killing herself. And that's what happened here.

I like it, but I can't recommend it because it's just too weird and complicated. It's yet another of those films that wants you to watch it three or four times.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 27, 2020, 07:20:22 PM
Forest Gump - 1994

Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

by Robert Zemeckas

Based on Forest Gump by Winston Groom

Winner of best film, best actor, best screenplay, best director.

Tom Hanks is a moderately retarded man who happens to be everywhere worth being and lucks into the congressional medal of honor and a medium sized fortune. Based on the books by Winston Groom, which are surprisingly bad - this really did deserve best screenplay, I have no idea how you read these books and get this movie out of them. I expect everyone here has already seen this movie, and if you haven't, see it straight away. Excellent for date night, family night, whatever.

And the soundtrack is fantastic. We really did have the best music.

Just see it. Or see it again.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on August 27, 2020, 10:11:21 PM
Based on the books by Winston Groom, which are surprisingly bad - this really did deserve best screenplay, I have no idea how you read these books and get this movie out of them..
Ha, I was going to say the same thing.  This is one of those rare cases where the movie is far superior to the book.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 28, 2020, 09:35:17 AM
Not to be argumentative, but what is wrong with the books? Bad writing? Poor plot? Bad character development? I haven't read them, so I'm curious as to why they are bad.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 28, 2020, 10:22:16 AM
Each and every sentence includes a four letter word, most commonly the f word.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 28, 2020, 11:29:00 AM
Each and every sentence includes a four letter word, most commonly the f word.

Thanks. That is enough for me to skip it. By the way, have you seen "Big Fish"? Terrific date night movie, we're planning on re-viewing it tonight.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 28, 2020, 12:50:12 PM
I gave it one +.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on August 28, 2020, 12:52:31 PM
Thanks. That is enough for me to skip it.
I almost think you should read it just so you can experience it for yourself.  The contrast between it and the movie is pretty shocking, the book is much more lowbrow, the movie seems much more ambitious.  At least it's a light read.

Apparently someone enjoyed it enough that they decided it would make a good movie, which I find very surprising.  Maybe they just liked the idea of the concept and thought they could turn it into something else. 
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 28, 2020, 06:25:32 PM
Lethal Weapon - 1987

Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey

By Shane Black

One of the best buddy / shoot 'em up films. A very young Mel Gibson stars as the suicidally depressed Martin Riggs; his wife just died and he'd just as soon join her. Riggs was special forces in Vietnam, and so were the bad guys, who are now bringing in major amounts of heroin. This movie has great action and dialog. Acting and character development are so-so, romance and drama are kinda absent. Jackie Swanson has a small role at the beginning of the film, getting loaded and dropping off a balcony. She was Kelly in Cheers (The Kelly Song), and had this 3 minute role, and that's pretty much her entire career. (Sam, as Woody and Kelly, both virgins, head off to a hotel, "*sniff* it just kinda gets you, doesn't it? He's leaving here a boy, and he's going to come back. . . a happy boy.")

There were four of these films. As is typical they decline gradually in quality. Joe Pesci is added for 2,3,4, and I've never been a fan of his character. Shane Black, who continues to have a good career in Hollywood, dropped out during 2 and had nothing to do with 3 and 4, which is a big hint. Shane Black movies include Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Last Action Hero, The Last Boy Scout, Lethal Weapon.

Lethal Weapon 1 is recommended, 2 sorta recommended, 3&4 are strictly optional.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 28, 2020, 09:24:12 PM
Million Dollar Baby - 2004

Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman

by Clint Eastwood

Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director

Probably Eastwood's best. This is the story of a 31 y/o woman, white trash from Joplin MO, who's determined to be a boxer. She'll let nothing stand in her way. She decides Clint will be her trainer and manager even though he's adamant that he won't train girls. Hillary perseveres and starts training and fighting. She wants nothing more than a shot at the title. She winds up in Europe fighting all over the continent, mostly winning fights in one round by knockout. And gets her shot.

It's a very moving story. Drama, acting, action, dialog, character development - everything but romance, and there's even a touch of that at the very end. Mo Chuisle. Spoiler: it means "my pulse," a term of endearment from the phrase A chuisle mo chroí, pulse of my heart.

Highly recommended, meaning don't miss this one. Great for date night - a little rough, but it's about a woman literally fighting through incredible odds, and that makes up for the blood. Clint never lets us down, and this is far more than just not disappointing.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on August 29, 2020, 11:18:47 AM
 sarcasm
Each and every sentence includes a four letter word, most commonly the f word.

Guess you won’t be reviewing “ Trailer Park Boys”? 😁😁😁😁 sarcasm sarcasm sarcasm
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 29, 2020, 11:28:52 AM
sarcasm
Each and every sentence includes a four letter word, most commonly the f word.

Guess you won’t be reviewing “ Trailer Park Boys”? 😁😁😁😁 sarcasm sarcasm sarcasm

Or any Richard Pryor live performance. And though I HATE swearing, Pryor is still one of the funniest/talented comedians I've ever seen. Go figure.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on August 29, 2020, 08:25:16 PM
Million Dollar Baby - 2004
I've been trying to get my girlfriend to watch this movie for what seems like forever, but she has absolutely no interest in seeing it.  Not sure why.
It's a good one, but my favorite Clint Eastwood movie is Pale Rider.

Quote from: Bignutz link=topic=7181.msg203980#msg203980 date=1598725127Guess you won’t be reviewing “ Trailer Park Boys”? 😁😁😁😁 sarcasm sarcasm sarcasm[/quote
I actually like Trailer Park Boys, I think it's funny and it has some heart behind the irreverence.
I'm likely dropping my Netflix next year, and that's one of the few things I'm going to miss.
Even though I don't really enjoy the profanity, and I think they take it way too far sometimes. 
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 30, 2020, 02:51:42 PM
No Country for Old Men - 2007

Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson.

by the Coen bros.

Awards: Best picture, supporting actor, writer, director.

The Coen Bros are up and down - Fargo is excellent, but they've put out some real dogs too. This is probably their best and it's must-see.

Thanos, sorry, Bolin is out hunting in west texas and finds a drug deal gone bad - bodies and shells all over the place, couple million worth of cocaine sitting in the back of a truck. He hunts around and finds a guy a couple miles away, dead now, holding a satchel with a couple million dollars. So far, it's tooth fairy time, him and the wifey can disappear and retire. But Bolin goes back that night and gets spotted by people coming to find out where their drugs / money are. Bardem is a psychopathic killer who's sent out to track Bolin down; now the chase is on. Bolin makes several mistakes, starting as noted above with going back instead of cutting out - tell the neighbors he's headed to Albuquerque for a job cooking meth for some weird bald guy, then head to Montana instead. Whatever. Anything but go back.

It's an amazing movie and deserved all the awards. Don't miss it.

Rather graphic, you'll have to judge if your wife will tolerate it for date night. Three dead pit bulls - never a good sign for date night when the doggies get shot.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on August 30, 2020, 07:30:39 PM
Deadpool - 2016

Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin

The first R rated superhero movie, and a huge success. It's a farce - Ryan is constantly talking to the audience. There's hundreds of references to other movies. There's a plot, but it's not the most important part of the story. It's also a love story. . .  um, sortof. Lots of blood, lots of swearing, lots of sex references. Definitely not for your grandchildren.

Recommended. Use with caution.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on August 30, 2020, 09:59:10 PM
Watched Gemini man the other day. It was OK. action scenes were ok. You can really tell the scenes where they use a CGI Will Smith. Story is eh...ending is eh...Mary Elizabeth Winstead is hot and I still remember her from 'The Fappening' lol. Not sure if I believed her as a government agent though.





Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on August 31, 2020, 09:54:41 AM
Deadpool - 2016

Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin

The first R rated superhero movie, and a huge success. It's a farce - Ryan is constantly talking to the audience. There's hundreds of references to other movies. There's a plot, but it's not the most important part of the story. It's also a love story. . .  um, sortof. Lots of blood, lots of swearing, lots of sex references. Definitely not for your grandchildren.

Recommended. Use with caution.

My wife and I watched this together. Usually she's not into action/adventure, but she thought the movie was hilarious. Go figure.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 02, 2020, 05:35:01 PM
The Departed - 2006

Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin   

By Martin Scorsese

Best picture, best director.

Jack Nicholson is a hood. He befriends Matt Damon as a young kid. Later Matt and Leonardo graduate the police academy. Matt winds up working for the state police, but an inside man for Jack. Leonardo ostensibly doesn't get hired by the state police, but secretly works for them on the inside of Jack's organization. Vera is a confused shrink who's sleeping with both of them. Everyone is looking for the moles, including the moles themselves. A somewhat complicated plot as everyone has a secret agenda.

Acting, writing, plot, dialog, character development, drama, romance, it's all here. I recommend this movie. It's good for date night too.

I don't see this movie as a must-see, just a really good film. Obviously the academy disagrees with me.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 02, 2020, 05:46:27 PM
Titanic - 1997

Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio

by James Cameron

Awards: Best picture, director, music

Kate is upped class, riding the Titanic to New York to marry into serious money. Leonardo is a drifter who won a ticket in a poker game, he's in steerage. They fall in love just in time for (spoiler?) the ship to hit an ice berg.

Acting, sets, drama, character development, plot, it's all here. This is the ultimate date night movie, I can't imagine something better. It made more money than anything until Cameron's Avatar come along with the first immersive 3D and bumped it down to #2; then Avengers cheated with a second theater release to bump it down to #3. In ten years Avatar and Avengers will be forgotten; women will still want to watch Titanic and have a good cry.

Must see. With the wife, of course.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 02, 2020, 05:54:44 PM
ps: Chadwick Boseman died this week of colon cancer. He was 43. He played the Black Panther and was a seriously compelling actor in that role. I have no idea how he'll be replaced. He must be replaced, but there's just no way the next guy will be as good. Like Heath Ledger and the Joker, his was a performance for a generation. If they offered the role to me (impossible for any number of reasons, but let that go. . .) I'd say, "ok, I don't wanna replace him. I want to be his son or cousin or something, forced into a role as Black Panther because of Chadwick's untimely death, and struggling with the superhero thing, struggling to live up to Chadwick's standard, 'cause frankly I will be."

(https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/chadwick-boseman-black-panther.jpg)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 02, 2020, 06:17:13 PM
A Beautiful Mind - 2001

Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Ed Harris

by Ron Howard

awards: Best picture, supporting actor, director

More or less the true story of John Nash, a mathematician who invented a new field in economics and won a nobel prize. Russell does a great job of depicting John, who has autism and schizophrenia - he heard voices that only he could hear which compelled him to do rather unusual things. It turns out there are two features of the human mind that are considered hard to fit into any theory of the mind - hypnosis and schizophrenia. John Nash attended Princeton, and another Princeton guy, Julian Jaynes, later wrote a book, "The Bicameral Mind and the Emergence of Consciousness." A difficult to read book with the rather interesting theory that we were all schizophrenic until about 2500 years ago, then we became conscious. But the book can't account for hypnosis. Well, back to our movie - Nash refuses to take classes or work for a professor - next to unheard of for a graduate student - and almost gets thrown out of Princeton. Then he publishes his fantastic world-shaking paper. Then he really, seriously loses it. Jennifer Connelly does a fantastic job as his wife, trying to balance her love for him against the safety of her child. Which really happened. Must later John is visited by a guy from the Nobel committee to check out if he would embarrass them if they awarded him the prize - rather ironic as the Nobel committee has embarrassed themselves quite deeply something like a dozen times. (Einstein was refused the award for 16 years in a row as one member of the committee insisted relativity wasn't science, it was jewish science. And the member of the swedish academy of science who denied Einstein, what kind of scientist was he? A dentist. Much later and several other embarrassments later we get the peace prize awarded to the terrorist Yassar Arafat who gave cash awards to the families of suicide bombers and then later to Obama for not being Bush.)

Anyway it's a great movie, I consider it must see. And great for date nights. The writers manage to make rather obscure mathematics seem plain and simple - after the movie you have the illusion that you understand what Nash did. You don't.

This thing of going to grad school and ignoring everyone and everything, with the belief you will change the world. Nash did it. Einstein did it. Louis le Duc de Broglie did it, Arthur Rubin did it (actually, he dropped out of high school and never finished college, but has a PhD - zero backup plan), Steven Wolfram did it. And several others, no doubt. But it's a rather risky path, it's get famous or go down in flames, there's no middle ground.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 02, 2020, 06:43:02 PM
Out of Africa - 1985

Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer

by Sydney Pollack

Based on the books by  Isak Dinesen

Awards: Best Picture, Best director, best writer

A more or less true story. Meryl is a young danish Danish girl, unlucky in love, who decides to start a new life in Kenya. She marries in haste and starts a coffee plantation in Kenya, where she has a lot of adventures. Her husband proves famously unfaithful so he gets replaced with Redford, a true romantic who refuses to be tied down. ("Let me tell you a story about Dennis. We had a friend, Hopworth, he'd got a book from Denys and didn't return it. Denys was furious. I said to Denys, "You wouldn't lose a friend for the sake of a book." He said, "No, but he has, hasn't he?") Meanwhile, forced to depend only on herself, Meryl becomes a true self-sufficient feminist, unstoppable and implacable.

One of the best romances ever written, just a paper's thickness behind Titanic. Fantastic scenery - it makes you want to go on safari. Wonderful music. The best date night movie ever, except Titanic and Gone with the Wind exist. A must see.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 02, 2020, 10:33:49 PM
Chicago - 2002

Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah

Awards: Best picture, best supporting actress

Zeta-Jones is a vaudeville entertainer; Zellweger dreams of being an entertainer. Jones shoots her husband and sister when she finds them in bed; Zellweger shoots her lover when she finds out he can't help her become an entertainer. Both are arrested and wind up on death row. They hire Gere to get them off, which he does by being a crooked lawyer. Of course the movie isn't really about the plot, it's about the singing and dancing, which is supposed to make this the greatest date night movie ever. I fell asleep. So did my girlfriend.

A lot of people like this movie; it always left me a little flat. I guess it's recommended on general principles.

Me and the academy most definitely don't see eye to eye on the best picture every year. I dunno how they're gonna give awards this year - best actor who hates trump? Best movie that wasn't marketed? Best dress at the awards ceremony? Miss congeniality? Most actresses groped without being #metoo'd? I can't imagine they cancel the awards, but I have no idea what they can do. It's like having no regular season and going straight to the championship games.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 03, 2020, 11:40:19 AM
Personally, I thought "Titanic" was one of the dumbest movies I'd ever not watched all the way through. Tried several times, but always found myself going, "That is so DUMB!" Meanwhile, "The Departed", which was based on a Japanese film, was fascinating. DeCaprio, Nicholson and Damon were all at the top of their games. Especially the first two.

I was also shocked and saddened by the death of Boseman. But I still think "Black Panther" was an overrated movie, and that his part was the second most interesting in the movie (Killmonger was much more compelling).

I also agree that the Oscars will be having a hard time putting together a lineup of films. Too many delayed, straight to streaming or, now, finally, being released to theaters. Expect the Academy to have to tweak their rules a lot to compensate for the troubled times we live in.

"Tenet" just opened at our local multiplex, and I'm eager to see it. Though I've heard that Nolan might finally be going overboard on this one. Something that seems to be an occupational hazard for some directors, who end up putting plot before people. This video was posted before "Tenet" was available for screening, but from the reviews, seems to be very perceptive and prescient:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGdwy5sYmKw&t=88s&ab_channel=TheRoyalOceanFilmSociety

 
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 04, 2020, 07:40:08 PM
American Beauty - 1999

Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Allison Janney, Chris Cooper, Scott Bakula   

by Sam Mendes

Awards: Best picture, best actor, best director

This is a movie more about mood than plot, and the mood is glum hopelessness. Love, marriage, commitment, affection, sex; it's all ridiculous and fair game to use to get ahead. Several times in the movie I thought they were right on the edge of pornography; the bad type involving children. Of course we now understand that this is right up Kevin's alley. So to speak. There are also strong homosexual themes in the movie where the point is that suppressing such urges leads to an ugly, destructive life. The movie is well made, I get why it got all those awards - especially as the oscar committee is a bunch of godless minions of baalzebub - but it's a well made message that I find a bit more than mildly offensive.

As I get older I find I'm less and less tolerant of the sexual propaganda put out by hollywood. I saw Dangerous Liaisons when it first came out and thought it was entertaining; a few years later I decided it was perverse and disgusting. I'd grown up a bit.

This movie is not as bad as Dangerous Liaisons, but it just can't quit clear my bar for disgusting films.

Not recommended. I don't care how many awards it got.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 04, 2020, 10:40:36 PM
Slumdog Millionaire - 2008

A bunch of actors that are pretty famous in India, but you've never heard of them.

By some english director you've also never heard of.

Awards: Best picture, director, writing, music

18 y/o Jamal Malik was orphaned at about age 7, and has spent several eventful years scrounging a living and barely surviving in the slums of Mumbai. And when I say "barely surviving," keep in mind that 70% of Indians live on $2 per day, 30% live on $1.25 / day. Jamal has spent much of his youth trying to track down the love of his live, Latika, who unfortunately for her, is also an orphan but quite attractive. This combination leads her to food and a nice place to live, but no control over her life, cause. . .  Jamal gets himself onto the indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, where he's playing for 2 crore, 20 million rupees, about a quarter million dollars. A quarter million dollars puts you rather high up in a country where the median income is $1.50 per day, about $550 per year, and the middle class makes about $7,500 to $15,000 per year. He does quite well on the show, and we see his memories of growing up, where the particular answers happen in his young life scrabbling for food.

It's a very entertaining movie, and quite eye-opening about what life is like in India.

Several decades ago I took a class in population control, and one day we had a guest lecturer, the population minister of India. He spoke for a while, then took questions. We had a lot of quite pointed questions, and he had calm, intelligent and compelling answers to all of them. For example, "Why don't you just get a billion IUDs and drop them out of helicopters?" answer: "We basically did that in the early 60s, with inadequate training. Everyone in India knows someone who got a punctured uterus from a badly inserted IUD. You can't give them away now." Or, "How about diaphragms, just air drop a billion of those." answer: "Let me tell you a story. The population control offices in India are very happy to supply diaphragms to anyone who will have one. One woman came back six weeks later, very pregnant and very upset. "Did you use the diaphragm every time?" "Yes, every time." "You never missed, not even once?" "Not even once, we were very careful." ten minutes of questions later, "How did you use it?" "We pinned it up on our headboard to ward off the pregnancy demons."

Very different place, India. Your intuition is all but worthless there.

The movie ends with our two young lovers reunited; they meet in a train station, embrace, then kiss. This plays great in an american movie, but it's absolutely impossible in an Indian movie. 1) any movie with a kiss is banned, it's pornography. 2) In 2007 Richard Gere attended an Aids awareness event in India. He took the stage with Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, and on stage gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. That night his manager hustled him onto his jet and out of there; the next day an arrest warrant was issued for Gere for public obscenity. Really, your intuition is worse than useless in India.

About 20 years ago I was taking some classes and a fellow student Chathan, an Indian, and I did our homework together. In high school he was quite religious and in college he couldn't decide if he wanted to be a physicist or a Hindu priest; he was quite well studied in both fields. One day, conversationally, I said to him, "Americans don't understand your culture." "That's right, you don't understand my culture." "And we hate things we don't understand, so we're going to destroy your culture." Shocked, offended, he said, "You, you, my culture is 5,000 years old, you cannot destroy my culture, you can't make the slightest change in my culture!" I said, "We will destroy it within 20 years. And I'll tell you exactly how we're going to do it. And you can fly home to India, you can write editorials, get on TV, you can tell everyone. It doesn't matter, we'll still destroy it." Dismissively he said, "Fine. How?" "We'll get the Taiwanese to make little 8" TV sets and sell them in India for $75. Then we'll put a satellite in geo-synchronous orbit over India, and 24/7 we'll beam down reruns of Sex in the City and Desperate Housewives. We'll corrupt your women. And when women of the family are corrupted, then chaos is born in society." Chathan looked shocked, stunned, he even turned a bit white which, given his complexion, was not easy for him to do. He said quietly, "The satellite is already up." As Chathan knew very well, the line "When women of the family are corrupted, then chaos is born in society" is a quote from the Bhagavad-Gita; Arjuna says it to Krishna. He found a stupid american quoting his holy book very disturbing.

by the way, in the last 40 years you've watched american women get corrupted too. Our society is also doomed.

Anyway, the movie is quite enjoyable and a good date night movie - lots of shocking events, lots of laughs. I can't say I see this as the best movie of the year or an all-time great, but it's a quite good movie, entertaining, culturally educational. Recommended.

Obviously I would be thrown off the academy board in about 4 minutes, perhaps less.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 05, 2020, 07:50:55 AM
Slumdog Millionaire" starred Dev Patel, directed by the terrific director Danny Boyle. I didn't have to look it up. Patel has gone on to make several high profile movies, inclluding "Life of PI" and the recently released David Copperfield PC movie, which I'll never watch. Boyle has done "Sunshine", "Trainspotters" and "Twenty Eight Days Later" among others. One of the most overlooked and underappreciated directors working today. Someday, hopefully he'll be re-evaluated, similar to Hitchcock.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 05, 2020, 04:41:24 PM
Argo - 2012

Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman

By Ben Affleck

Awards: Best picture, best writer

A true story. Iran takes our embassy in 1979. Six Americans manage to sneak out and get to the Canadian embassy. Several months later a plan is formed to get them out. A fake film is set up in hollywood, then a CIA guy goes scouting locations in Iran. The six americans turn into his director, screen writer, photographer, etc. Of course there's no record of them entering Iran, certainly not two days earlier, but he gets them out anyway. The rest of the hostages have to wait for Reagan to get elected and cut a deal, the Iran-contra deal.

The movie starts with giving some of the background of our relationship with Iran; particularly that they had a democratically elected government that nationalized their oil, and we engineered a coup and put the Shah of Iran back in power to get "our" oil back. Pahlavi was, by all accounts, something of a real SOB. He was big on westernizing a country that was not in any big hurry to westernize; he was big on sending their best kids out of country for western educations; he was big on living a lavish lifestyle on his country's oil profits; and he was big on arresting and torturing his political opposition. Now, of course, they have a religious government. No one gets educated, nothing gets westernized, and there's still some torturing and such going on. And they have bombs. Which, I'm quite certain, will end badly for them, and possibly badly for Saudi Arabia and Israel too. That history is yet to be written.

Personally I've always found our relationship with Iran perplexing. Were I president one of my first acts would be to meet with them in Geneva and say, "Look before I was born we did some real dirt to your country. I'm really sorry for that, there's no excuse. But today, as I see it, we should be buddies. You hate Saudi Arabia and they're the guys who are behind all the terrorism. We have a lot of interests in common, seems like we should be able to find a way to be friends."

But then if I were president "they" would shoot me. Right quick.

Ben makes a tight film, I like him both as an actor and as a director. This is a very good movie, lots of drama and tension. I'm not sure it was the best picture of 2012, but 2012 had no block buster that was obviously better. Recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 05, 2020, 11:40:12 PM
The Bridge on the River Kwai - 1957

Alec Guinness, William Holden

by David Lean, who also brought us Lawrence of Arabia and Dr.Zhivago

Awards: Best picture, best actor, best director, best writer.

Obi-Wan is ordered to surrender his men from Singapore in WW II, and brought to a Japanese camp in Thailand to build a bridge. After lots of struggles the bridge gets built and is a rather amazing job. Too amazing. Special forces are sent in to blow it up. Alex loses track of which side of the war he's on - he gets a bit wrapped up in the morale of his men and doing an excellent job and forgets he's helping the enemy.

There really is a river kwai in thailand, and POWs really were forced to build a bridge so that trains could run from bangkok to burma. The bridge still stands today, it was never blown up.

Movie bridge:

(https://coffeeordie.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/KwaiCOVER.jpg)

Actual bridge:

(https://storage.googleapis.com/checkfront-rogue.appspot.com/accounts/cf-94884/images/2020/large-lk94000935-4-1587037986239.jpg)

As you can see, blowing up the real bridge would have been quite a feat, much harder than taking down a bunch of bamboo and wood.

It's a great movie, of course. A bit slow paced by modern standards - us boomers have the attention span of a rabbit, and the next generation is like fruit flies on meth. The movie is about loyalty to your men and to your work, ideas that are less visceral to women, so the themes in this movie won't resonate with your wife like they do with you. Perhaps not a great date night movie, but ok. It's not a rom-com or a drama, after all.

Recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 07, 2020, 09:57:46 AM
Braveheart - 1995

Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan

by Mel Gibson

Awards: Best Picture, director

More or less a true story, at least from the Scottish point of view. Mel is William Wallace, a scotsman who's wife is murdered in a rape attempt. That's it for him, he's on the war path. The english were occupying scotland at the time and practicing prima noctus - the local lord get first shot at your new wife. Wallace is fighting the english king, who's a consumate politician - the scottish lords are all bought off with land, titles, etc. So Wallace is also effectively fighting the scottish nobles. Wallace is credited with inventing the pike - a very long spear used to stop a cavalry charge. Before the pike horse mounted knights cleaned up on foot soldiers.

The move gives you a fair bit of insight into how wars are really fought - the foot soldiers are fighting for their families and their freedom; the kings and nobles are fighting for power, land, money, and don't give a rat's ass how many peasants get dead along the way. Not unlike, say, Viet Nam. It's also fun to consider what a dozen guys with AR-15s could do. Or a Puff the Magic Dragon.

(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f3/c2/fa/f3c2fa530ea72ffee3d101c964a189f4.jpg)

There's an irish guy in the movie who's quite amusing. I have an irish joke that fits him well:

Pat is down at the pub, knocking back pints, and he gets a little carried away. He calls the president of France, "Mr.President? This is Pat down at the pub. Well, sir, I'm just calling to tell you we've talked it over, and we're declaring war on France. The pub sir." president: "Indeed? Your pub? You know I have an air force with 400 fighter jets?" Pat: "Oh. oh. We'll - we'll get back to you sir."

Half an hour later, "Mr.President? This is Pat down at the pub. Michael down the road, he's got a crop duster and he's in, so the war's still on sir!" president: "You know I also have 250 tanks in my army?"  Pat: "Oh. oh. We'll - we'll get back to you sir."

Another half hour, "Mr.President, sir? Aiden up the highway has a tractor and he's in, so the war's still on!" president: "You know, I also have a standing army of 500,000 men?"  Pat: "Oh. oh. We'll - we'll get back to you sir."

two hours later, "Mr.president sir, this is Pat down at the pub. I'm very sorry, sir, the war's off. We've talked this all around, we've looked at it from every angle, and well sir, there's just no fookin' way we can feed 500,000 prisoners."

Highly recommended.

Your wife won't be deeply impressed - it's a bunch of men in war paint simply exuding testosterone, and then power politics behind the scenes. Not girl stuff.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 07, 2020, 11:53:48 AM
Some stuff they got right- Edward I (Longshanks) was a very able king. And his son was indeed gay. And died a horrible death. Anyone interested can look it up. Wallace says he was fighting for "Freedom". Not really, just the right of Scottish lords to control the peasants of Scotland rather than the English lords having control. And Gibson himself has some notoriously anti-Semitic views. Still, well done movie for all of that- just don't take it too literally.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/movies/a25018061/outlaw-king-braveheart/#:~:text=Braveheart%20has%20been%20called%20one,actually%20was%20in%20the%201300s.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 07, 2020, 07:53:18 PM
Gandhi - 1982

Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Martin Sheen

by Richard Attenborough

Awards: Best picture, actor, director

Mohandas Gandi was born in India in 1869. He was trained as a lawyer in London, and then moved to South Africa where he fought, non-violently, for equal rights for Indians. He returned to India in 1914 and spent a year touring his country of birth. He then dedicated the rest of his life to making India free from British rule, non-violently. This movie is his story.

Gandhi preached not to tolerate injustice, to be provocative at all times, but to be strictly non-violent. A great qustion of history is do the times make the man, or does the man make the times? The british empire was nearly bankrupt by the turn of the century (just as America is approaching bankruptcy now) and was going to come apart. There could have been someone like Gandhi 30 years earlier, but he would have gotten no traction and history would not record his deeds. So Gandhi was fated to succeed. However, his message of non-violence was unique; on several occasions he fasted to protest violence done by Indians and in all cases he got 350 million people to lay down their arms. So, as I see it, Gandhi was the poster boy for both points of view. The independence of India was inevitable, but the peaceful way it was achieved was not at all inevitable.

You will often see his name written as Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma is a sanskrit word meaning great-souled; it is a title, as the Greek word Christ or the Hebrew word Messiah is a title.

When India did become independent the British of course left an ungovernable mess on purpose, resulting in two nations: hindu india and muslim pakistan. Pakistan as the british drew it up was unworkable and later broke into pakistan and bangladesh. Not unlike the unworkable mess they left behind in the middle east. Very little is said about this split in the movie, and essentially nothing is said about the Sikhs, who were not granted a home land just as the Kurds were not granted a homeland in the middle east. But unlike the kurds, which have been massacred by the turks just as the armenians were 100 years ago, the Sikhs are perfectly able to defend themselves and there has been no general massacre.

This movie will appeal to those with a certain taste, which I happen to have. I consider it must-see, a great movie. Not great as in the most entertaining movie ever made, but great in the sense of opening our minds and hearts to other perspectives, other cultures. In fairness, my girlfriend has no interest in this sort of thing and felt she was watching a documentary about a strange guy in a strange country; it held minimal interest for her.

If you care, muslim is an offshoot of judiasm and christianity. Muslims consider jesus the second greatest prophet behind mohammed and ahead of moses. The original name of the hebrew god is El, or Elohim; hebrew has no vowels so this is recorded as just the letter L. The muslims worship Lah, always given the honorific Al at the start for Al-Lah. Hinduism dates back 3,000 years; the word Hindu is the same as the word Indus as in the Indus river and the Indus valley; Hindu is the religion of the Indus valley. Hindus worship one god, creator of all, Krishna; and many demi-gods, more or less equivalent to the catholic arch-angels or Greek demi-gods, including Brahma, Vishnu, Agni, Kali, Yama, Rama. Hindus can name 50 of these guys; I'm lost at about six or eight. Hindus believe in reincarnation and are perhaps not as motivated to accomplish things as us protestants who think we have one life only to prove our worth. Sikh is a relatively new religion, about 500 years old. Sikhs are the guys who wear the turbans; when the British ruled India it was Sikhs who were the police and civil servants as they get things done. Sikhs believe in reincarnation and one god; they consider themselves a compromise religion between the muslims to the east of them and the hindus to their west. Of course muslims are not interested in compromise. The Sikhs come from the very fertile but very hot Punjab region which spans the Pakistan-India border. In the US they like Sacramento - hot climate, fertile land. The Punjab tops out at 120 degrees, Sacramento never gets over about 102, so a very moderate climate. Kind of like what the Russians think of Minneapolis.

Gandhi's great quotes:

"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."

When asked, "What do you think of western civilization?" Gandhi answered, "I think it would be an excellent idea."
 
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 08, 2020, 07:33:19 PM
Driving Miss Daisy - 1989

Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd

Awards: Best picture, actor (Jessica), writer.

Miss Daisy is Dan Aykroyd's aging mama; she gets confused, hits the accelerator instead of the brake and crashes her car. Dan hires Morgan as her new driver, which she resists of course: losing your driver's license is just as huge a change of life as getting your driver's license. Jessica and Morgan have their power struggles as they establish their 20+ year relationship, but finally become best friends.

A wonderful movie, touching acting, crisp dialog, a fantastic plot. A great date night movie. Must see. Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 08, 2020, 07:35:54 PM
I must say, I have no idea what y'all see in these reviews of mine, but somehow, to my utter astonishment, they're quite popular. 40,000 views of this thread to date. I feel quite honored, and I'll continue doing them indefinitely.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on September 08, 2020, 07:59:22 PM
Mark, I enjoy them but I'm afraid you'll run out of movies! :)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: bmaafi on September 08, 2020, 08:25:14 PM
Watched Mulan last night.

Not bad. No songs and no dragon.  Characters were meh. Action scenes were good. Nothing really new but still pretty good. More adult than the original. The romance side story isn't really there. Same basic story beats though.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on September 09, 2020, 01:47:23 PM
I must say, I have no idea what y'all see in these reviews of mine, but somehow, to my utter astonishment, they're quite popular. 40,000 views of this thread to date. I feel quite honored, and I'll continue doing them indefinitely.

Enjoy your reviews. Agree with most.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 09, 2020, 05:57:58 PM
The Sting - 1973

A young Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Robert Shaw

Awards: best picture, director, writer.

Robert Redford is a small time grifter who gets himself in trouble early by ripping off the mob for $11k. Paul Newman is a big time grifter who wants to make a last big score. Robert Shaw is a somewhat crooked banker, he's the mark. This is Chicago 1936, times are lean and rough. The score, the "sting," is a fairly complicated setup with the audience guessing right up until the end how it works.

Good acting, great plot, good dialog, and your wife will think there's plenty of eye candy to keep her attention. She won't admit to that, of course. It's the blue eyes. And there's snappy period-correct music by Scott Joplin.

I was in college shortly after this came out and everyone was playing the entertainer on the piano. Everyone. Tout le monde. It got to where playing the entertainer was a ponding offense - you played it, you got picked up, carried to a pond, and thrown in. These were not particularly clean ponds.

Highly recommended. Don't miss it. And you haven't seen it in thirty years or more, so you've forgotten some of the plot twists.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Premontre1969 on September 09, 2020, 06:36:31 PM
I went to see Annihilation.

As the movie ended, a guy in the front row stood up and said, "And we paid money to see this!" A guy next to me said "Worst movie I've ever seen." I replied, "That's a bold statement." His friend said, "Yah, what about American Psycho 2?" He then said, "Ok, it's the second worst movie I've ever seen."

I didn't hate it, but I've not seen an audience reaction like this before.

Mark,
I happened to see Midnight in Paris at a theater on the Champs de elysee in Paris, shortly after it came out. The audience all stood and clapped for minutes. I suppose that was the same local effect that ricky references with our fan base rooting for Kumerow, Janis, Schroeder..
But I liked Annihilation OK. My daughter loved it and insisted we all watch it again when she was visiting us this summer. Probably appeals more to a younger audience.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 09, 2020, 08:16:25 PM
Mark,
I happened to see Midnight in Paris at a theater on the Champs de elysee in Paris, shortly after it came out. The audience all stood and clapped for minutes. I suppose that was the same local effect that ricky references with our fan base rooting for Kumerow, Janis, Schroeder..
But I liked Annihilation OK. My daughter loved it and insisted we all watch it again when she was visiting us this summer. Probably appeals more to a younger audience.

First, "The Sting" is terrific, but I've gotten a lot of feedback from younger viewers (20's. 30's) that it's too confusing and difficult to follow. "Midnight in Paris" is also a terrific movie- as always, the past is always preferable to the present, until you actually live it. And "Annihilation" was so good, I went back to the theater to see it again. And I'm 70. Kudos to your daughter for seeing that it's a truly good film. You should be proud of her- the big knock on the film was that it was considered "too smart" for most audiences by the studio. But then again, when the Transformers franchise makes billions, their point is hard to argue with.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 09, 2020, 08:19:50 PM
On The Waterfront - 1954

Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Fred Gwynne

Awards: Best picture, actor, supporting actress,  director

Black and white.

This is a movie about the mobs controlling the longshoremen unions. It starts with a friend of Brando's being thrown off a roof, and then we follow Brando's difficult evolution from "deaf and dumb" to deciding to help the police take on the mobsters. The themes of the movie don't resonate so well with modern people; I dunno, maybe garbage collectors in New Jersey, but the mob has never been a presence in my life. The special effects are, um, "quaint." They consist of mannequin thrown off the roof and a piece of silly putty over Brando's right eye, I guess to highlight that he was a boxer and has scars. Towards the end about five 50-something and 60-something mobsters take on Brando, who is about a 28 y/o boxer. They beat him up. I'm yelling at the screen through this whole fight scene, any kind of decent boxer at all would have put these overweight cardio-deficient geezers out in about two seconds each, call it ten seconds for the whole fight. And there's zero chance they would have landed even one punch. I guess this modern thing where movie karate experts punch and kick you 50 times and you keep coming, I guess it has a long and storied history. All I can say is any untrained person can land 50 ineffective punches, you don't need to train to get that skill.

Slow pacing, unconvincing romance, I dunno how Brando got best actor, I thought he stumbled through a bunch of it. When you're Paul Newman you can sweep a girl off her feet with your blue eyes and winning smile, but Brando looks and acts like a young sicilian soon-to-be mob boss. I guess it's historically interesting, but I found it tedious and boring. My girlfriend got out her tablet and played candy crush, which I guess tells you what she thought. She was hoping for a tornado and a switch to color, but about a third into the movie gave up all hope. She found Brando neither a nice piece of eye candy nor a convincing suitor.

I can't recommend this unless you're in college and have to write a paper about it. (Is college still a thing?)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 10, 2020, 05:19:57 PM
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white%20nationalist
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on September 10, 2020, 07:38:17 PM
First, "The Sting" is terrific, but I've gotten a lot of feedback from younger viewers (20's. 30's) that it's too confusing and difficult to follow.
Maybe they should condense it down into a 10 minute YouTube video for them.

Good movie, but I prefer Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for a Newman/Redford film.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 10, 2020, 08:16:38 PM
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white%20nationalist

I'm very aware that liberals are trying to change this definition to a negative one. That, in fact, is precisely my point: I'm white, I'm a patriot, I'm against open borders, I'm against globalism, I'm against global government. That makes me a white nationalist.

Show me these violent, dangerous white nationalist. Cause I have no problem showing you examples of violent, dangerous progressives: blm and antifa are lighting our cities on fire.

I'm also proud to be an ignorant anti-science deplorable, clinging to my guns and bible.

Your side has reduced their argument to name calling, throwing bricks and looting. This is the most intellectually bankrupt I've ever seen a political party.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 11, 2020, 07:37:17 PM
Shakespeare in Love - 1998

Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth

Awards: Best picture, actress, supporting actress, music, writing, costumes

Gwyneth is a young girl, about to be married off for money and then shipped off to Virginia to grow tobacco. She yearns above all else for poetry and drama. Then she meets Shakesphere (Feinnes, brother of Lord Voldemort), falls in love, and becomes his muse. While juggling her impatient fiance and, eventually, the queen. Huge drama follows. Huge. Really Big.

This is a simply sublime movie - acting, dialog, drama, romance, one of the best date night movies ever. I love it personally.

Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 11, 2020, 07:47:58 PM
The King's Speech - 2010

Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce

Awards: Best picture, actor, director, writer

A true story. King George V is a demanding and critical man who forces his left-handed second son Albert to write with his right hand. Predictably, stuttering results. When George V dies he's succeeded by his eldest son, Edward; he has no taste for being king, and abdicates so that he can marry his main squeeze, a twice-divorced social climber with certain talents from Baltimore, Wallace Simpson. Wallace's contribution to history is her famous quote, "You can never be too rich or too thin." This leave Albert, the stuttering second son, to succeed him right as Hitler is coming to power and starting to invade countries; Albert becomes king George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth. Albert seeks help with his stuttering and gets it from Geoffrey Rush. George VI and Elizabeth become the perfect leaders of England's war effort. It's not in this film, but at one point Hitler was starting the V2 campaign against London, which most found extremely disheartening. In the midst of this a rumor started that the royal family would relocate to Montreal - such a move would have doomed the English. Elizabeth chose to address this situation and said, on camera, ""The children will not leave unless I do. I shall not leave unless their father does, and the king will not leave the country in any circumstances, whatever." And that was that, stiff upper lips all around.

This is a fantastic movie, great acting, great dialog, great plot. Excellent for date night, your wife will love it. Especially because Elizabeth was the stronger in that marriage.

Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on September 11, 2020, 10:08:36 PM
Shakespeare in Love - 1998

Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth

Awards: Best picture, actress, supporting actress, music, writing, costumes

Gwyneth is a young girl, about to be married off for money and then shipped off to Virginia to grow tobacco. She yearns above all else for poetry and drama. Then she meets Shakesphere (Feinnes, brother of Lord Voldemort), falls in love, and becomes his muse. While juggling her impatient fiance and, eventually, the queen. Huge drama follows. Huge. Really Big.

This is a simply sublime movie - acting, dialog, drama, romance, one of the best date night movies ever. I love it personally.

Highly recommended.


Great movie and Paltrow is beautiful. But Saving Private Ryan should have won best picture. IMHO.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 12, 2020, 07:30:22 PM
Taking Lives - 2004

Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland

Based on the novel by Michael Pye, screen play by Jon Bokencamp

A serial murderer is loose in Canada, currently thought to be active in Quebec. It seems this guy kills someone about his size and age then assumes their identity for a few months, then repeats. Angelina Jolie, an FBI profiler, is brought in to help the Quebec police track the guy and stop him. Lots of twists and turns.

Good for an entertaining evening of suspense and murder.

Recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 12, 2020, 07:45:54 PM
Perfect Stranger - 2007

Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi

Story by Jon Bokencamp

A murder mystery. Halle Berry is a journalist who has a childhood friend, Grace, who lives a troubled life then turns up dead. Grace indicates she had an affair with Bruce Willis, a powerful advertising exec with a  highly suspicious and very rich wife. Grace got dumped, threatened to go to the wife, then turns up dead and pregnant. Halle uses all her skills to flesh out this story and bring Grace's killer to justice. Like all of Bokencamp's stories, lots of unexpected turns and twists and at the end you find out you were completely wrong about everything. There is a completely gratuitous small plot about her exposing a gay senator who is very vocal christian promoting family values - this has nothing to do with the main story and is there just to remind us that republicans are liars and hypocrites. So nice that the hollywood rapists and pedophiles help me keep track of who the lying hypocrites are.

I found it reasonably entertaining. Moderately Recommended.

If I had one wish, it would be that anyone who had sex while over the age of 17 with someone under the age of 14 would die tonight at midnight, local time. There would be a lot of dead hollywood producers, a lot of dead arabs, and a lot of dead ex-presidents and other politicians and world leaders. There's a reason the Lord does not let us have superpowers - I would use them very, very badly.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 13, 2020, 07:57:22 PM
The Call - 2013

Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Michael Eklund, Morris Chestnut

Story by Jon Bokencamp

Halle Berry is a 911 operator. She takes a call from a panicked teenager whose house is being broken into. She screws up, the girl gets taken and is found dead a couple days later.

Six months later another call, another girl getting kidnapped. The girl is taken at a mall, cloroformed, dumped into a trunk, and wakes up somewhere. She's got a prepaid phone, no GPS. She calls 911 and gets, who woulda thought it, Halle Berry. Now the hunt is on. At some point we realize that it's the same guy as six months ago. Now it's personal.

A lot of tension and the plot goes along pretty well until the last 15 minutes, then it runs into such stupidity that even my girlfriend is yelling at the screen, "Get out of there and call the police!"

My girlfriend has clearly learned one thing from me from watching all these movies: If you hit a guy, hit him again. And again. And again, until he falls down. Then hit him a few more times, 'cause otherwise sometimes he gets up. Preferably hit him repeatedly with a large heavy object. At this point duct tape or rope is a good idea if you have any. Ankles and wrists behind his back. If you have any rope tie up the ankles, bend them back, and attach them to the neck from behind. Now he's not getting up. If you must fight, fight to win.

Stupid ending aside, it's a pretty enjoyable movie. Recommended.

And that's it for Jon Bokencamp movies. In case you wonder, Jon is the creator and producer of the Blacklist. Which is clearly his best work.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 14, 2020, 08:39:12 PM
The Hurt Locker - 2009

Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes

by Kathryn Bigelow

Awards: Best picture, director, writer

Jeremy Renner is a bomb disposal guy in Iraq. Mackie works with him, keeping him safe. They run around Iraq getting in trouble, 'cause they only get called when there's a bomb or something. People get blown up - you know, the bomb thing.

I didn't really understand what this movie was about. Iraq is this place that used to have, for example, the hanging gardens of Babylon - one of the seven wonders. In this movie iraq is all bombed to shit, I dunno how the people stay alive, and everywhere you turn there's an American pointing a gun at you, he's there to save you. If my city was all bombed to shit and there were Chinese everywhere telling me they would teach me how to live better, I'd want to blow them up.

Anyway, I guess the acting was good - there was a lot of tension. The dialog is typical men at war stuff, I can't tell you what the plot was, you can completely forget about romance, there is a big mystery which is what the hell are we sending our men over there for. I know why we're in Afghanistan - that's to keep the chinese bottled up -  but the only reason I can see to be in Iraq is to keep Iran out, which if we had not bombed the crap out of them they would do that themselves. On the other hand, since syria now looks like this too, it makes it really obvious why half the breeders in syria and iraq have packed up and walked to europe. Free apartment, free food, free clothes, and no one shooting back at you while you sell drugs or grenades or rape the kafirs.

I have no clue how this movie got best picture - I mean, yah, technically it's well put together, but if you've been to war this probably gives you nightmares for a couple days, and if you haven't been to war it's kinda disgusting. And you can forget about this for date night, your woman is not going to stay in the room.

Not recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 16, 2020, 01:28:25 PM
Point Break - 1991

Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey

by Kathryn Bigelow

Keanu is a brand new shiny FBI agent assigned to LA's bank robbery division. Patrick is a surfer / bank robber. Busey is an old-timer FBI agent. Keanu takes up surfing to try to figure out who's robbing the banks.

One of the best action films ever made. Even the women folk like it, but I suspect that's because of all the eye candy in the swimsuits. I could be wrong. . . In the Avengers when Iron Man and Thor have their fight, afterwards Tony slaps Thor on the arm and says, "Nice punch Point Break." This movie is in the national sub-conscience. I consider it a must-see. You can't really be sure you're doing the guy thing correctly unless you've watched a bit of Dirty Harry and Keanu and Patrick.

Well put together, mostly well acted (We all love Keanu, but he has a touch of autism and before the Matrix I have no clue how he ever got hired), fantastically put together - the photography is superb, the timing also great. Kathryn just makes good movies.

Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 16, 2020, 07:04:11 PM
Blue Steel - 1989

Jamie Lee Curtis, Ron Silver, Clancy Brown

by Kathryn Bigelow

Jamie Lee is fresh out of the academy on her first day as a NYC cop. She sees an armed robbery in progress in a grocery store. In she goes, tells the guy to drop it. He turns and aims at her and she blows him away. He drops his gun as he's busy dying, and a customer sees it, grabs it, and takes off in all the confusion. Jamie Lee is in trouble now 'cause no gun, so not a legit shooting.

But the guy who grabbed the gun, turns out he's a psycho. He scratches her name on a bullet casing and goes and kills a random stranger. Now Jamie Lee is in far deeper.

The psycho is fixated on Jamie Lee so he stalks her and wines and dines her. Now he's killing random strangers and dating the cop who got him his gun.

A big cat and mouse ensues.

Kathryn makes a tight movie, but the plot is pretty thin. The guy gets picked up for murder a couple times but sprung by his attorney, meanwhile the cops are totally keystone. It's satisfying in a chase the bad guy sorta way, but flawed due to the complete lack of any kind of normal police protocall. Fun for a mindless evening, I guess, if you suspend all belief that NYC cops are actually trained.

They could have had the film in, say, Rochester, where the entire police force just quit earlier this week, and then maybe we could have believed the cops were that dumb. Or maybe in Hoboken.

Also Jamie is a complete slut, but then if you believe Hollywood all female cops are. Guns = penis envy? (btw, the whole penis envy thing, there was a woman psychiatrist who thought that up but she couldn't get published. Freud called his publisher and demanded it get published, 'cause he thought she should have her shot. It was never his theory and he was never a proponent.)

Just barely recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 17, 2020, 07:31:09 PM
K-19: The Widowmaker - 2002

Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson

by Kathryn Bigelow

Another submarine story. This one says the story is mostly true. The Soviets made their first nuclear sub, launched in 1961. Poor quality control was critical. The central committee was more focused on Kennedy getting spy photos of a nuclear sub launching missiles than in having a boat that actually worked. Liam Neesom is the captain preparing her for sea trials, but says it can't be done on time. He's right. Ten men die building the boat. Seven die keeping it from sinking to the bottom. 20 more die of radiation in the next couple of years. And when they get the boat home, I promise you, people mostly aren't allowed on board, not then, not ever.

Harrison is assigned to take over and make the schedule, no matter what. He puts to sea in a very questionable boat. He actually finishes his first mission, but then instead of going home to safety he's ordered to patrol the US coast. That's when the reactor fails in a rather dramatic and unrepairable fashion. Now he's stuck in the middle of the Atlantic with no radio communications, a boat which is rapidly turning deadly radioactive, and a crew on the edge of rebellion.

Like all Kathryn's work, it's a tight movie - no wasting time, no side line plots that have nothing to do with getting us to the ending. The acting is excellent, the tension is tangible. Kathryn is obsessed with police / military stuff, and she does it pretty well.

Recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 19, 2020, 04:31:12 AM
Ice Station Zebra - 1968

Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown

Based on the book by Alistair MacLean

A soviet satellite drops a film canister, which lands near Ice Station Zebra, a weather station near the north pole. A US submarine carrying a couple British secret agents is dispatched to get the film. Russians are also on the way. Lots of cold war action and trouble ensue. These days it's hard to remember that in the 60s Russians and americans were always seemingly on the brink. Of course the USSR has been dead and gone for nearly 30 years, and these days the cold wars are all fought out of sight on the internet with hackers, stolen secrets, implanted viruses.

It's a good movie, well acted and plotted. Tension is high and the action realistic. My only gripe is the ending, which was considerably dumbed down from the book. In the book the spy, McGoohan here, is juggling plots within plots and it's fun to try to keep up with him, figure out what's the truth and what's a lie. The movie, apparently made for a less literate crowd, is much more straight forward.

Good for an evening movie. Recommended.

ps: my signature is already out of date - Ruth Bader Ginsberg died yesterday. Ms.Ginsberg was appointed 27 years ago by Clinton. She was an extremely intelligent, competent and liberal juror. She died of pancreatic cancer, the same thing that brought down Steve Jobs. She will almost certainly be replaced in the next couple of months by someone far more conservative. I expected her replacement to be Amy Barrett, but Trump released a list of supreme court candidates a couple weeks ago and Ms.Barrett wasn't on it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 19, 2020, 08:02:16 AM
"Ice Station Zebra" was Howard Hughes' favorite movie. When living in Las Vegas, he even bought a local television station so they could run the movie multiple times a day. This was before the era of VCR's, Laser Discs or Betamax. Why was he so drawn to this movie? Good question.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on September 19, 2020, 03:21:29 PM
Yeah, I can't think of Ice Station Zebra without thinking of Howard Hughes.  I can see him liking it, but why it became an obsession for him who knows?  He had that obsessive complusive behavior, and watching the same thing over and over reminds me of how children like to watch the same things repeatedly.  I've seen the movie once, can't remember much about it, except that I liked it and it had a glossy, polished look to it.  It seemed very much of its time, movies of certain periods have a certain look to them.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 19, 2020, 06:02:24 PM
Howard Hughes was almost certainly autistic. Autistics love repetition. Like Sheldon.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 19, 2020, 06:22:25 PM
The Hunt for Red October - 1990

Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones, Tim Curry, Stellan Skarsgård, Jeffrey Jones, Fred Thompson   

Based on the book by Tom Clancy

This book has a story not unlike Harry Potter. Tom Clancy was an insurance salesman with no military or engineering experience. But a complete fascination with the military. He wrote this book and shopped it around. He was turned down by everybody. Finally, a tiny publisher - the US Naval Institute, which normally published technical books by navy officers that sold a few hundred copies, picked it up. And sold 10m copies as fast as they could print them. Clancy wrote 14 fiction novels and another half dozen or so technical books; some of the technical books are used at various military academies. The Hunt for Red October had stuff in it that was thought to be secret; Tom got interviewed by several agencies as they tried to find their leaks.

The Soviets invent a new silent submarine drive, "the caterpillar," a magneto-hydrodynamic drive. The idea is you have a magnetic field so intense that you rip the electrons off water atoms; you can then use electric fields to drive the water molecules directly, no moving parts. To make the magnetic field you need superconductors, just like physicists use in their atom-smashers. That means the submarine must be prepared to keep helium cooled to -455 degrees. This is not so easy to do. If you fail, if the liquid helium heats up even a couple degrees, the magnets melt down into a puddle of aluminum and tin and you have no silent drive until you limp back to port and replace everything.

The Ruskies make a missile boat, the Red October, with this technology, a first strike weapon - such a sub, in principle, can sneak up to within a hundred miles of the US coast, meaning they can take out our eastern cities in well under 15 minutes. When they're that close there's almost no defense.

One of our hunter/killer subs finds they can track the boat. Meanwhile, Sean Connery, the captain of the Red October has decided he and his officers will defect to the US, offering the Red October as a prize. Sean also tells the minister of the navy his plan. Now the hunt is on - the entire Russian navy is tasked with finding and sinking the Red October; after a couple days of failure they tell the US that Sean means to launch his missiles and now the US navy is after him too. But Alec Baldwin, our hero, figures out what's going on and he means to get the boat and save the ruskies.

The movie is extremely technically accurate. Just for example, there's a scene where Alec drops into the N.Atlantic, very close to where the Titanic lost it. Alec is told if he hits the water he has 4 minutes to live. An olympic swimmer maybe has 6. Normal old guys like me, maybe 3. But somehow, in the movie Titanic, the people live in this water for 30-40-50 minutes. I find no technical fault in the movie. Why can't they all be like this? It's not like there's no scientists in LA. Hell, James Cameron made Titanic and he was a physics major.

I can't imagine there's anyone here who hasn't seen this movie. It's clearly, to my eyes, the best submarine movie ever. Stunningly, 30 years later the special effects still hold up. Well, maybe the counter-measures are a touch lame, but all the interior and exterior submarine shots are excellent. It helps a lot when the navy loves your script and gives you access to film and aircraft carriers and such. . .

It's oozing testosterone from every pore, and there's diplomacy going on behind the scenes, so your wife will have some trouble following everything. But she'll like it ok too.

Highly recommended, must-see.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 19, 2020, 06:49:09 PM
A note about two of the cast members. Richard Jordan, a very underrated actor, who was outstanding in "The Mean Season", where (IMO) he gave an Oscar worthy performance. The movie itself is OK, but does also have Kurt Russell ("I thought you were dead?") and Mariel Hemingway (granddaughter of Papa). "Red October" was the first movie starring Jack Ryan. Alec Baldwin decided the script for "Patriot Games" wasn't good enough, so the role passed to Harrison Ford, who did three Jack Ryan movies (four if you include "Air Force One").
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 19, 2020, 08:39:32 PM
Run Silent, Run Deep - 1958

Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Don Rickles

Moby Dick but hunting the Great White Japanese Destroyer

Burt has a boat, he's gonna be promoted to captain then rain hell on the japs. Crew all loves him. Clark had a submarine, but a japanese destroyer destroyed it. He manages to get the captaincy of Burt's submarine, and off he goes, against orders, to find the japanese destroyer and destroy it back. Hah! There's a couple almost-mutinies 'cause the men prefer Burt. They get to the war zone and fight a couple times. Of course they lose the first match against the great white japs, but. . .

Curiously, Clark gets hit on the head by a falling torpedo which puts him out of the action for the last third of the movie and eventually kills him. Obviously he had a brain hemorrhage and the build up of pressure on his brain got him. The Incas, who apparently bashed each other on the head a lot, knew how to deal with this 2400 years ago - they would drill a hole in the skull to relieve the pressure. Lots of skulls in their burial grounds have holes, and one skull was found with seven holes in various states of regrowth, so apparently this surgery was common and they were pretty good at it.

(https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160720115348-01-holes-in-the-head-large-169.jpg)

The movie is very slow by modern standards. Considered by some the best submarine movie ever, but I don't see how. It's ok, fun for all those of you who were in WWII. 'Course those of you who were in WWII are 100+ now and probably can't read a computer screen anymore. It's not bad or nothin', it's just that it simmers for 90 minutes then you get a little action. I guess this is what the older generation was talking about when they say old films had acting. They didn't have much else.

ps: Neither Clark Gable nor Burt Lanchaster passed the eye candy test for my girlfriend. She definitely liked Keanu and Patrick a lot better.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on September 20, 2020, 08:04:43 AM
My favorite WW2 submarine movie is “Destination Tokyo “
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 20, 2020, 09:00:34 AM
Best WWII submarine movie? "Das Boot".
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 24, 2020, 03:30:25 PM
Dances With Wolves - 1990

Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

By Kevin Costner

Awards: Best picture, director, writer, music.

"I had a farm in South Dakota." No, sorry, that doesn't work, does it? Kevin Costner is a civil war soldier who gets himself transferred to a post in S.Dakota so's he can see the wild before Monsanto buys it up and plants it all in GMO corn and wheat. When he gets to his new post he's the only one there - somehow it's deserted. Then he runs into the indians and the fun begins.

The theme of the movie is pretty liberal - indians good, white man bad (except also pawnee bad). But mostly you can ignore that and just enjoy the story and the scenery. And the very smart horse. And the kewl wolf/dog. "Dances with wolves," right?

A great movie, very entertaining, and a great date night movie. Kevin Costner does an excellent job of directing himself, 'cause Kevin the actor has the emotional range of a teaspoon yet the movie is still excellent.

The academy just can't resist these movies with huge landscapes and great music - Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, LOTR. And they're all great movies. How did the last of the mohicans miss?

Highly recommended - must see.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on September 24, 2020, 04:50:38 PM
I always liked Dances with Wolves.

I can't hear the title Run Silent, Run Deep without thinking of the Penguin.  Because in the 1966 Batman movie, Batman is bombarding the Penguin's submarine with Bat Depth Charges, and Penguin tells the crew "Run silent.  Run deep".  That's always stuck in my head for some reason.

Tom Hanks had a new submarine move this year, Greyhound, but I think it went straight to Apple TV.  I haven't seen it, but it would fit in this category.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 24, 2020, 06:41:08 PM
The Last of the Mohicans - 1992

Daniel Day‑Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Wes Studi

It's 1757, the French are fighting the British over who gets N.America (Spoiler: neither winds up with it.) The British are trying to recruit colonials to fight on their side. Stupidly, many of them leave their farms and families to die in the name of one foreign king fighting another foreign king over who gets tax payments from the colonials. Madeleine is the beautiful daughter of Monro, one of the British colonels. Daniel is Hawkeye, the white adopted son of a Mohican. Daniel, his father and brother wind up saving the lives of Madeleine and her sister and agree to escort them to her father's fort. Much trouble and drama ensue as they are pursued by Magua, an indian who's family was killed by Monro and who has vowed to kill the colonel and all his children.

This is a romance, not an action picture, but the fight scenes are quite good and quite adrenalizing. Your wife will love it, 'cause Daniel is quite the piece of eye candy, he's unshakably confident, he saves Madeleine's life at least three times. Of course, being a romance, in the end Madeleine gets what she really wants - the uncivilized uncontrollable wanderer Daniel. After all, her love will tame him. Right? (And after it does, she'll hate him for being yet another tame guy. . .)

It's a great movie. There's mountains and trees and waterfalls and it's simply gorgeous everywhere, and there's the tension between our two lovers when they meet - the pride and prejudice thing - which must be overcome.

The greatest date night movie ever. um, except for Titanic and GWTW.

One day, while in college, I heard Wendy talking to Tracy. She said, "You know, Tracy, Danny calls me up at like 5:30 and says, 'How about dinner?' Then he comes over, he doesn't even turn off the car, he just sits in it until I come out and get in. We go somewhere to eat, he doesn't say a word to me. Then we go back to his place and screw. Then he takes me home, he just pulls up to the curb, I get out, and he drives away without a word. And I stand there and watch him go, and I think, 'Does he want me? Does he even like me? Is he ever going to call me again?' And you know, Tracy, I really *like* that feeling."

Much later Danny decided he did like Wendy, he asked her to marry him. It all blew up quickly. As the famous philosopher Mr.Spock once said, "After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true."

Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 24, 2020, 06:49:09 PM
Greatest date night movie ever? "Casablanca". JMO, of course.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 25, 2020, 07:41:33 AM
Schindler's List - 1993

Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes

By Steven Spielberg

Awards: Best picture, director, music

Herr Schindler is a broke German who makes his way to Krakow in Poland early in the war, hoping to make his fortune. He joins the Nazi party and wines and dines local generals and nazi administrators to make friends. All the jews in poland are being uprooted and moved to a walled-in ghetto in Krakow. He finds a jewish bookkeeper who knows how to organize things - Schindler is more a car salesman type, his skills are all about schmoozing. He gets a hold of a large factory that's unused. His Nazi friends supply him with jewish labor, which he gets extremely cheaply. And off he sets to make a lot of money on his basically slave labor and nearly free factory. Along the way he becomes quite aware that the jews are being randomly shot and shipped off to places from which they never return. There are rumors among the jews of the gas chambers, but we never see Schindler aware of this. He is aware that many of the Nazis are psychotic killers, especially the head of the ghetto, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Over time Schindler becomes more sympathetic to the jews plight, and he winds up saving some 800 of them from the gas chambers - literally, as due to over-zealousness his jews, who are exempt, get shipped to Auschwitz and he has to commandeer a train, enter the camp, round them up and get them out.

The film is shot in black and white, which proves its artistic credentials I suppose.

Spielberg is jewish, of course, and a big part of our media in the US, of course, and the film is rather one sided, of course. The film leaves unanswered a huge question, a question we're not allowed to ask in this country: How did 65 million Germans manage to get hypnotized by a demagogue, suddenly go nationally psychotic, and round up and kill 6 million jews, seemingly for no reason? Then after the war suddenly turn back to unemotional rational people who build expensive cars? Germany had a particularly rough time in the 20s due to war reparations and inept politicians who generated hyper-inflation. In 1921 there were about 250 marks to the dollar. By the end of 1923 that was 4.5 billion marks to the dollar. (don't think that can't happen here. . . ) The result of such hyper-inflation is that banks wind up owning most homes and businesses as people can't pay their mortgages and loans, so the houses are repossessed and the loans are called in. Most of the banks were owned by the jews. Most of the media - radio and newspapers - were also owned by the jews. It became very popular in Germany to blame the french (reparations) and the jews (bankers) for all their economic troubles.

It's noteworthy that here in the US most of our largest banks and wall street firms are owned by jews, and essentially all our media and movie companies are owned by jews. If things seriously crash here, I would not care to be a jew in this country. But in Schindler's list we hear nothing of that. Of course this movie is about polish jews who mostly were farmers or small businessmen; they had nothing to do with the economic problems of germany in the 1920s, but by the late 1930s germans were on a roll and the polish jews got caught up in that and murdered wholesale. I expect of the 6 million jews killed by the nazis, only perhaps a few thousand were actually involved in banking or media.

To this day the German people are incredibly resistant to any policy that might lead to inflation. Our Fed thinks 2% inflation is the "right" amount - you could never sell that view in Germany.

(http://calsci.com/investing/images/GermanInflation.jpg)

It's a very good film, but I don't see it as "best picture" material. Recommended as a history lesson. It's not a very romantic movie; we see germans at their very worst, and their very worst is astonishingly bad.

When it all comes apart in America, which I expect will happen within the next 15 years or so, we need to focus on the evil people in New York, Washington, Hollywood, and pay no attention to their religion. We're going to have to claw back our country, but we mustn't lose focus on precisely who stole it.

(https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/inequality-NYT8-17a%20%284%29_0.png?itok=mIMfnytn)

Stalin and Mao and communism killed ten times more people than the nazis - 65 million in all. Why don't we have movies about that? Why aren't we teaching our youth the evils of socialism? Today at Harvard, only 8% of the undergraduates identify as conservatives.



Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 25, 2020, 09:48:26 AM
https://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/engl_258/lecture%20notes/capitalism%20etc%20defined.htm
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 25, 2020, 01:44:34 PM
https://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/engl_258/lecture%20notes/capitalism%20etc%20defined.htm

One day, Gauss told his graduate student Riemann that Riemann would be giving the math seminar next friday, and offered him a few topics from which to choose. One of the topics, the one Riemann chose, was curved spaces. Gauss was very interested in curved spaces and had already worked out the math of curved 2-dimensional surfaces, like the surface of a ball. But Gauss was a catholic and he was very away of what happened to catholics who got on the wrong side of the church - like Gallileo - so he didn't want to work on curved spaces in higher dimensions. Riemann, a german, was a lutheran and didn't give a carp about no stinkin' pope. Riemann also didn't give a carp about geometry, but when you're a grad student you're an indentured servant, so he dutifully worked out the calculus of curved spaces over the course of the next week, wrote a paper, delivered it at the friday math seminar, then completely forgot about it for the rest of his life. Riemann called his math "metric differential geometry." There's a mathematical object, a tensor, called "the metric;" it's used to calculate the distance between points. The simplest metric is for a flat plane, and it's the pythagorean theorem, d2 = a2 + b2.

50ish years later Einstein was working on his theory of gravity - General Relativity - and was stuck. A close friend of his, Marcel Grossmann, told him that Riemann had already worked out all of that and he should just read Riemann's paper. It took Einstein five years to understand Riemann's paper, a paper which Riemann spent one week developing and writing. This is what Einstein was talking about when he said, “Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.” (Without any trouble you can find opinions on the internet that no one understands what Einstein was talking about with that quote. Physicists who knew him all know.) The field equation for gravity - the equation for General Relativity - is Rμν - gμνR = 8 pi Tμν. Rμν is the Riemann tensor; R is the Riemann scalar; gμν is the metric; and Tμν is the stress-energy tensor. At low velocities, less than 1% speed of light or so, Tμν is just mass and the equation turns into Newton's equation for gravity.

Where I went to school economics is done using metric differential geometry. And I took a bunch of it.

But thanks so much for sending me a web page by some unnamed person with a clear political agenda who has a bumper-sticker definition of capitalism.

(https://i.pinimg.com/736x/01/78/f2/0178f2c9593c7d838c481f9c057cacbc--internet-quotes-quote-posters.jpg)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 25, 2020, 04:11:35 PM
University of Idaho. And not believing everything you read on the 'net is a very good policy. Including people who believe "Where We Go One, We Go All."
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 25, 2020, 09:10:26 PM
Crimson Tide - 1995 ‧

Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, Viggo Mortensen


Gene is the captain of a boomer, a nuclear missile sub, the Alabama. 24 nuclear missiles, 10 warheads each. "Don't cross the beams. It would be bad." Denzel is his brand shiny new XO. A russian starts a rebellion, gains control of a russian missile site, and starts fueling his missiles. In 1 hour he can launch. The alabama gets orders to do a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Very odd, 'cause the boomers are insurance, not first-strike weapons. Their purpose is "kill us all, every last man, woman, child, doggie - later the boomers take you out."

Then they mix it up with a russian attack sub and get damaged. Importantly they have exactly one radio, no spares, no repair pieces, and it gets damaged right in the middle of receiving a transmission that might say "changed our minds, stand down." Gene is determined to launch, Denzel is determined to get the radio fixed and confirm orders before they end all life on the earth. Mutiny, counter-mutiny, 45s and 9mms all over the place. Apparently they didn't hear Sean Connery say, "Careful, Ryan. Shome things in here don't mix well with bullets." Timers are counting down on the russian missiles, tempers flaring, oh the suspense. . . .  'cause this is how it works, nuclear missiles can just go flying and end the world if one guy says so.

Technically it's a good movie, good special effects, nice submarine sets. The story is absolute crap, it's like a couple hollywood writers smoke a bunch of dope and then one says, "Like, then the captain gets free and denzel gets locked up, what's he gonna do?" 48 hours and ten pots of coffee later we got a script. Which they make into a movie. And two of my favorite actors sign on to this worm-eaten bloated corpse of a movie.

At the end of the movie there's a court marshall. Gene agrees to retire, Denzel is set loose for his next command. Which, like, word of this travels around the navy at about 80% the speed of light and after the rumor mill is done Denzel couldn't be hired on the SS Minnow to work the grill on 3 hour cruises.

Not recommended. It's just toooooooo stupid. In fairness it got good scores at Rotten Tomatoes. Go figger. They get it wrong some times.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 25, 2020, 09:58:46 PM
Upon further discussions with my girlfriend, it seems I've been mistaken about what makes a good date night movie. A good date night movie, it seems, is one she likes, like a rom com, and whether or not I like it too just isn't part of the equation.

Anyhow, scratch "Last of the Mohicans" off your date night list, "too much fighting."
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on September 25, 2020, 10:40:38 PM
Upon further discussions with my girlfriend, it seems I've been mistaken about what makes a good date night movie. A good date night movie, it seems, is one she likes, like a rom com, and whether or not I like it too just isn't part of the equation.

Anyhow, scratch "Last of the Mohicans" off your date night list, "too much fighting."

All a matter of taste. The inimitable one LOVES "Mohicans". Or as she calls it, "The Daniel Day Lewis and his loin cloth movie." Works for me.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on September 26, 2020, 08:13:29 PM
Great Expectations - 1998

Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke, Anne Bancroft, Robert De Niro, Chris Cooper

from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The novel was not originally a novel. Diskens wrote it in installments for a newspaper, and was paid chapter by chapter. And the paper sold as people had to find out what happened next. This is the pre-TV and pre-radio version of a soap opera.

Great Expectations has been made into a move 11 times to date. It's generally thought that David Lean's 1946 version is the definitive. The 1998 version is modernized, it's not at all interested in being close to the novel or period correct. Frankly it's my favorite. It's hard for me to identify with people who have never heard of indoor plumbing or routinely washing hands and clothes.

Fin (Ethan) is a young orphaned boy being raised by his older sister's ex-boy friend (Chris). He meets Estelle (Gwyneth) when she's about 11 - she lives with her crazy ?aunt? Miss Havisham (Anne). Miss Havisham was left at the alter when she was a 42 y/o virgin, and has never recovered; she hates all men and is raising Estelle to hate all men. Estelle and Fin fall in love; then the drama starts.

Years later A mysterious lawyer appears and suddenly all Fin's wishes come true - he's flown to New York, given a loft and living money, and a show is arranged for his paintings. And he meets up with Estelle after several years of absence. More drama ensues - this is an 19th century soap opera and the drama never ends.

The critics didn't like this version much at all, but audiences do and so did my girlfriend. She had seen the 1946 version and was not so impressed; this one she liked. I found Lean's version hard to follow due to the thick accents and the dark lighting and mood - Lean's version is just this side of a horror film. Complaints about the 1998 version are that the characters are shallow and we leap from scene to scene without enough connectivity. I dunno, I guess. I just know I like it.

Recommended. And apparently a good date night movie. Love, drama, triangles, money, crazy old ladies, rags-to-riches, what's not to like?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 02, 2020, 07:53:31 PM
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - 1975

Tim Curry, Richard O'Brien, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Meat Loaf

Cult film from the '70s. Lots of references to '50s sci-fi films. Tim is Frank-n-Furter ("I'm just a sweet transvestite from transexual transylvania" and "I'm not much of a man by the light of the day, but by night I'm one hell of a lover."), a mad (alien) scientist who's "making a man, with blond hair and a tan. He's good for relieving my tension." Richard O'Brian wrote the movie and plays his hunchback servant ("It's astounding. . . time is fleeting. . . madness takes it's toll. So listen closely - not for very much longer - I've got to keep control.") Susan Sarandon is a young local girl, just engaged that afternoon, who accidently falls into Frank-n-Furter's clutches ("I was feeling done in - couldn't win - I'd only ever kissed before. Thought there was no use getting into heavy petting - it only leads to trouble and seat wetting.")

(https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/rockyhorror/images/a/a4/Dr_Frank-N-Furter.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/340?cb=20100419192930)

Big coming of age flick. Great to take an 18 y/o girl, if you're 19.

Not for everyone. Mostly this is for kids about 17-25.

The Rialto used to play Rocky Horror every saturday night at midnight. For years and years. You've probably seen the Rialto, lots of stuff was filmed there. I used to go there to watch movies. And TRHPS.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on October 02, 2020, 11:17:29 PM
Rocky Horror was an early example of the gender blending that is so common these days, part of the glam rock scene I guess.  When I first saw it, I was little disappointed, I didn't think it quite lived up to the hype it had.  But as time has gone on, and I've seen it more, I've grown to like it.  I appreciate it now, but it's more of a snapshot of a certain place in time, it's partly nostalgia.

I knew a girl who told me that you couldn't enjoy the movie unless you saw it with a crowd, with people throwing toast and stuff.  And I said well if it can't stand on its own, if you can't just watch the movie and be entertained, it can't really be any good, can it?  But yeah, it's all right.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 03, 2020, 04:35:21 AM
Upon further discussions with my girlfriend, it seems I've been mistaken about what makes a good date night movie. A good date night movie, it seems, is one she likes, like a rom com, and whether or not I like it too just isn't part of the equation.

Anyhow, scratch "Last of the Mohicans" off your date night list, "too much fighting."

You are learning. :P
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 03, 2020, 06:41:33 AM
You are learning. :P

Slowly. Very slowly. And painfully.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 03, 2020, 12:03:49 PM
Let’s do the Time Warp again!
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on October 03, 2020, 04:40:29 PM
It's just a jump to the left.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 08, 2020, 08:15:20 PM
Swordfish - 2001

Halle Berry, John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Don Cheadle

As our story opens, Travolta is sitting in a small cafe, sipping coffee with Jackman and Cheadle, and talking about how hollywood movies are crap. He says, "What if you list your demands then shoot a hostage right then. 5 minutes later another. And another. The body count keeps goin up, 10, 20, 30 dead. Pretty soon you get your plane."

This is a movie that requires you pay attention. It's not a simple plot - rob the bank, get away. They do sorta rob a bank, but as you imagine there's the entire LA police force outside so getting away is not that easy. And the plane he wants? Right. 50 miles south of LA is El Toro Marine Air Base. 50 miles north is Vandenberg Air Force base. Seriously, how far do you think you get in your little 700 mph G5 when you've got F18s and F22s scrambling from all directions?

Here's a few facts to help you out. 15 years before the movie, the DEA had a program, "swordfish," that laundered money to entrap drug lords. It sorta worked, but after it was shut down there was $400m of drug money sitting in some secret numbered accounts. It's been invested all this time, and has grown to $9.5 billion.

Travolta works for a senator, they have a plan to get this money - money that no one owns, that's sitting in limbo, and use it to fight terrorism.

Travolta speaks of Harry Houdini, "How did he make an elephant disappear from a room in front of hundreds of people? Misdirection. What the eye sees, what the ear hears, the brain believes."

And finally, Travolta asks Jackman, "Suppose there was a cure for every disease known to man, you can save billions, but to get it you had to kill one 5 y/o girl. Could you do it?" Jackman says, "Yah, it's one now. Maybe suddenly it's 10." Travolta says, "Now you're getting it. Or 100. Or 1000. Against billions. Could you do it?"

I like the movie a lot. It's fairly violent and you have to pay close attention or it doesn't make sense - it's a very tight movie, there just aren't any wasted unimportant minutes here.

Recommended. But your wife won't pay close enough attention 'cause of all the testosterone and violence and such, so she's not going to get it most likely.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 08, 2020, 08:33:38 PM
Unthinkable - 2010

Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Sheen, Carrie‑Anne Moss, Brandon Routh

A terrorist, Michael Sheen, ex-military special ops and now a muslim, plants three atomic bombs around the US. Then he sends a tape announcing he planted the bombs and demands would follow. The tape plays on every TV station non-stop. Then he walks into a mall and stands in front of a security camera until he gets arrested.

Carrie-Ann (Trinity) is an FBI agent tasked with observing and supporting the military while they interrogate this guy. Samuel is a cipher, he doesn't exist, but he walks into the place and takes over. A general tells him he's nuts and to get out. Then a suit shows up, assistant secretary of the DOD, and announced that Jackson is in charge now and will handle the interrogation. They have three days to find these three bombs.

What would you do? Is he lying? Are there bombs? These bombs would be plutonium, which means they're around 5-50 kilotons. Call it somewhere between Hiroshima and 3 times the blast radius of Hiroshima. We're talking about 10 million dead if there are bombs and you don't find them. And he's special ops, he knows what they're going to do to him, and he basically turned himself in. He's prepared to resist for three days, he's prepared to die. Remember Travolta's line from Swordfish? "a cure for all known diseases, but a 5 y/o girl must die." What are your limits? What are you willing to do to establish the existence and location of these bombs? This is a movie about finding those limits.

Me, I'm an American and I love this country. I have no limits in this case - the bombs must be found, the price is not relevant. I do whatever it takes. But that's me.

And here's the kewl part: no one ever knows what you did. If you find the bombs, only like 50 people ever know and they're not talking. 10 million americans were saved, who cares about the terrorist? It's not in anyone's interest to start a witch hunt over torture on American soil. If there's no bombs, well, he set up the game and he made the rules, again no one cares about the terrorist and no one wants a witch hunt. And if the bombs go off, America and the constitution are over right that instant. You're instantly living in a military police state, you're on war footing, someone did this, someone's got to pay, and it can never be allowed to happen again. No one every finds out about you, they're all busy working out the new reality. The terrorist was a war criminal and you were just some guy doing his duty. And what happened to the terrorist, well, it's better for Washington if no one is sure what happened to the terrorist.

I liked it. A bunch. But, lemme tell you, you've got a side that wants those bombs and you don't care what it takes to get that information. Maybe it's most of you, maybe it's 5% of you, but it's there and it's not pretty. Deal with it.

There's a couple unexpected twists at the end. While you're watching them, keep this one fact in mind: the terrorist turned himself in. He knows interrogation, he's seen field interrogations, he knows pretty much what will happen, none of this is a surprise to him. Remember that: he's not surprised. This is his game, his rules.

Recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 11, 2020, 11:56:18 AM
U-571 - 2000

Matthew McConaughey, Harvey Keitel, bill paxton.

WW II. U boats are terrorizing atlantic shipping. They communicate with berlin over an encryption box, the enigma machine. We want one of these so bad we can taste it. Then a u boat gets disabled, we race out to pirate the enigma before the Germans can get there to save their sub. Tension, drama, suspense, acting. . . It's all sorta kinda here.

This is kinda sorta a true story, 'cept in real life the Brits did it, not us. So this is like a wet dream where you're doing Meredith Baxter, but then you remember she's gay and that means you must be a girl.

It's ok, nothing like great. The plot is pretty predictable, all the war time cliches are here. The acting is luke warm, which, I dunno how actors are supposed to get all juiced up for a script like this.

Only recommended if you just really have a thing about submarines.

Ps: u boats didn't have bathrooms 'cause they didn't have the pressure to flush when they were submerged. So you went in buckets and dumped them over the sides next time you surfaced.  Most of the boat didn't have room for two guys to walk past each other, so there was a lot of backing up and scrunching into a nook. And no showers. The atmosphere was pretty, um, ripe. U boats were seriously not romantic places.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 11, 2020, 08:14:19 PM
U-571 - 2000

Matthew McConaughey, Harvey Keitel, bill paxton.

WW II. U boats are terrorizing atlantic shipping. They communicate with berlin over an encryption box, the enigma machine. We want one of these so bad we can taste it. Then a u boat gets disabled, we race out to pirate the enigma before the Germans can get there to save their sub. Tension, drama, suspense, acting. . . It's all sorta kinda here.

This is kinda sorta a true story, 'cept in real life the Brits did it, not us. So this is like a wet dream where you're doing Meredith Baxter, but then you remember she's gay and that means you must be a girl.

It's ok, nothing like great. The plot is pretty predictable, all the war time cliches are here. The acting is luke warm, which, I dunno how actors are supposed to get all juiced up for a script like this.

Only recommended if you just really have a thing about submarines.

Ps: u boats didn't have bathrooms 'cause they didn't have the pressure to flush when they were submerged. So you went in buckets and dumped them over the sides next time you surfaced.  Most of the boat didn't have room for two guys to walk past each other, so there was a lot of backing up and scrunching into a nook. And no showers. The atmosphere was pretty, um, ripe. U boats were seriously not romantic places.

Chicago museum of science and industry if you want to see a real U Boat. BTW, they had only enough bunks for 1/2 the crew, so when your shift was up you got to crawl into someone elses stink to sleep. :o
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 11, 2020, 08:21:59 PM
Went there as a kid.

took my kids there in turn.

definitely the best part of chicago. we must be sure to preserve it somehow when the rest of the city disintegrates.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 11, 2020, 08:58:57 PM
Phenomenon - 1996

John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker, Robert Duvall

I like this movie. It's like cocoa krispies - what's not to like?

Travolta is George, just a guy living in (the movie is very confused on this point) either Auburn CA or Napa. Which are 100 miles apart, but, seriously, details. He gets "hit" by a light from space, and suddenly turns very smart. And doesn't sleep. And reads 2-3-4 books every night. And develops telekinesis. And breaks military codes. And scares the living crap out of everyone in his sleepy little town, plus the air force and the FBI. George just wants to raise superlative tomatoes, which he's had some fertilizer breakthrough (the smart thing) and the tomatoes are pretty incredible. Everyone wants a piece of him, 'cept Lace (kyra), he wants a piece of her but she's not buying. The movie is a bit like flowers for algernon, except you've never heard of that movie so that doesn't help.

I consider it a very sweet movie. It helps that one of the plot lines is a guy who knows way too much and no one understands him. Anyways, it tugs at the heart strings and is a good date night movie. It's like movie jello - there's always room for jello, and everyone likes it. Not like they like tiramisu or burnt vanilla bean ice cream with bittersweet hot fudge which just light up your entire nervous system, but everyone likes jello.

Recommended for a light evening.


===========================================

Mark's 5 minute bittersweet chocolate sauce

Need some emergency chocolate sauce on ice cream? Here's a 5 minute recipe that's guaranteed to calm her down:

Ingredients:
2 squares   unsweetened baking chocolate
2-3 tbl   sugar
1 tsp    vanilla
1 tbl     butter
1/4 cup   milk
1 tbl     corn starch

Directions
Combine milk, sugar, butter, vanilla in a bowl. Heat in a microwave until nearly boiling, about 2 minutes.

Melt chocolate into milk, about 1 minute. This may require a bit more heat, 30 seconds or so.

Add corn starch, mixing thoroughly.

Heat in microwave until it boils and thickens, about 30 seconds.

Stir and serve.

Serve over burnt vanilla bean ice cream. Breyers is the best store brand, of course. It's made in Green Bay. Us cheeseheads, we know our milk fat.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: OneTwoSixFive on October 12, 2020, 03:10:58 AM
Phenomenon - 1996

 The movie is a bit like flowers for algernon, except you've never heard of that movie so that doesn't help.

===========================================
'Flowers for Algernon' is (as you say) not that well known as a film. It is better known as an excellent book by Daniel Keyes. The relation between a lesser known movie to a (comparatively) well known book, is similar to the two excellent 'Night Watch' and 'Day Watch' books (written by Lukyanenko) which were pretty big news as books and somewhat incomprehensible (if you hadn't read the book) as films (the plot got altered a lot as well). I'd be interested to hear what you think of the film versions, if you ever get to watch them.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 12, 2020, 11:56:41 AM
Charly - 1968

Cliff Robertson, Claire Bloom

Based on Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, 1958

Awards: Best Actor

Flowers for Algernon has been made into a movie at least three times; this is the first and best of them.

Charly (Cliff) is a 30 y/o man who is mentally retarded, with an IQ of 69. As an infant he had phenylketonuria, an inability to process the amino acid phenylalanine. The resulting buildup in his blood damaged his brain development as a fetus. There's an extremely small protein, aspartame - one molecule of the amino acid aspartic acid connected to one molecule of phenylalanine - which is 200 times as sweet as sugar and marketed as NutraDeath. Even those of us who do not have phenylketonuria have a limited ability to metabolize phenylalanine, so if you eat a whole bunch of NutraDeath (the little blue packets) then one day it will suddenly taste really awful, and will continue to do so for the rest of your life. This happened to me when I was about 28.

Well, enough of that, back to the movie. Charly can read and write at about a 1st grade level, and has a job as a janitor at a bakery where he's the butt of practical jokes pretty much every day. He has enrolled himself in nite skool, where he's attempting to better himself with the help of his teacher Miss Kinnian (Clair). Miss Kinnian is contacted by a research lab looking for a test subject, someone retarded. They have developed a process, working on mice, where through surgery they can correct the brain damage from the phenylketonuria and regrow the damaged brain tissue, resulting in genius level mice. They wanna try it on a person.

Charly goes for the surgery.

As a result Charly gets *really* smart, serious genius level. And falls in love with Miss Kinnian. Who falls in love with him.

Then their prize test mouse Algernon starts getting dumb again.

The original story, "Flowers for Algernon," was written as the diary entries written by Charly starting before the surgery and continuing. By this method Daniel did a fabulous job of bringing you into the world of a retarded person who is then lifted up to where he finds the original researchers rather dull, second rate intellects.

I find it worth remembering that intelligence is a bell curve, so if you're smart there have to be dumb people to even things out. When I was 16 I took my first college class in psychology and I had to visit an institution for the profoundly retarded - some with IQs in the 20s. They were infants for all practical purposes, an adult sized body with diapers and barely the ability to walk. I found this experience profoundly humbling - in my mind one of these souls volunteered for this job so that I could have my share of brains and three-quarters of theirs, which enabled me to do physics and cost them any chance at a family life or any kind of productivity. The scales must balance. I have no tolerance for people who think the profoundly retarded are entertaining.

This movie was made in '68, when Laugh-In was exploring the new idea of a visual medium with Grass Valley Group image processing equipment. Everyone was really excited back then at the idea of their (by today's standards laughable) visual effects. And this movie has a bunch of those. We're far enough removed from those days that now it's cute and quaint. I saw this movie when it came out, 52 years ago, and thought the effects were exciting. I'm old.

The movie is entertaining and affecting; it's a good date night flick. Recommended.

The book is highly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on October 12, 2020, 01:06:00 PM
I've never seen Charly or any of the Flowers for Algernon movies.  The premise sounds absolutely fascinating though, I'll be on the lookout for it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 12, 2020, 09:26:27 PM
The Prestige - 2006

Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Andy Serkis   

By Christopher Nolan

Two magicians spend their lives - in the most literal fashion, they both wind up dead - competing. They both want to do a particular trick, "the transported man," where the magician seemingly teleports. It's a rather complicated and confusing plot.

In the beginning of the film they're working together, but a trick goes very wrong and Jackman's lover winds up dead, drowned, seemingly because Bale tied a real knot on her instead of a slip know just before she went into a tank of water. That's pretty much the end of their cooperation. They each strike out on their own. Jackman is by far the better showman, but has only ordinary tricks designed by Michael Caine. Bale is not so much of a showman, but he's doing the transported man, the teleportation trick, and Jackman is insanely jealous, plus angry over his lover.

Tesla gets involved when Jackman pays him to design a machine, a machine which works magic - Tesla was, in many ways, ahead of his time, but ahead of his time doesn't include magic. This is by far the weakest part of the movie, the part where Tesla supplies the magic machine.

My girlfriend got deeply confused by people disappearing and popping up other places with all explanations withheld - after all, you never reveal the trick. Even Bale's wife is kept in the dark, very much to her detriment. Girlfriend left in the middle to take a shower. Then she came back clean but still angry, still hating the movie. Apparently not a date night flick. Dark, hard to follow, cute wife with cute little girl being lied to by her husband on a daily basis; it's not hard to see how a woman might take exception to certain plot devices.

I'm so-so on the movie. I don't like magic popping up in what's supposed to be a real-life type show, and I don't like Tesla being dragged into this sort of thing. Of course the acting was excellent, we got batman, wolverine, black widow, kip thorne and smeagol; how could the acting not be excellent. The plot was fine right up to the point where the Nolan bros had written themselves into a corner so they granted themselves some pixie dust, or perhaps tesla dust, to get out. Lotsa people wind up dead, many innocent bystanders to this Captain Ahab stuff.

I dunno if I recommend this or not. I do know it's a bad bet for date night.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on October 12, 2020, 10:23:14 PM
"The Prestige" is one of Nolan's best. Definitely difficult to follow at times, and it actually demands multiple views to find out what is happening. Christian Bale gives a great, subtle performance. Not for casual viewing. And David Bowie as Tesla? A great casting choice. Nolan loves convoluted plotting and multiple plot threads all running at the same time. He even showed this in his first film, "Following", which set the template for every other film he's done. With the exception of "Insomnia"; and even then, casting Robin Williams against Al Pacino was a stroke of genius, and there are plots within plots going on, as cat and mouse becomes a question of who is the cat, and who the mouse?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 13, 2020, 09:49:43 PM
Twilight - 2008

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

Awards: $$$$$$ from *every* teenage girl on the planet.

Bella moves to Forks, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula, where it nearly always is cloudy, or so everyone believes. She's back with her father and starts going to high school there. Where she meets Edward (in romance novels, the male must always have a name that was previously used by a King.) Turns out Edward is a vampire: doesn't drink, only eats blood, lives forever, super strong, amazingly fast, cold-blooded (no heart beat, right?) so he lives at room temperature. Early on he saves Bella's life from a car crash, so now she's in love (Helpful hint: "Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker," but saving her life is a whole staircase up from both of those.) Lots of drama ensues as Bella tries to have a normal relationship with an intensely non-normal person who's a member of an intensely non-normal family. The main drama here is a few meat-eating vampires happen onto the peninsula, and one of them thinks drinking Bella's blood would be extra special 'cause Edward and his family are protecting her so it's a challenge. Which now Edward has to save her life again, see treatise above. BTW, Edward's family are "vegetarian" vampires - they only drink the blood of animals, never people. Although I doubt the deer find that very comforting.

Kristen Steward, Bella, in real life is a narcissistic slut who's slept with approximately every person associated with every movie she's ever been in. She's also, imho, a miserable actress. Robert Patterson, her "main squeeze" in the movie and for a time in real life, is also, imho, a miserable actor. Right at this instant that viewpoint is apparently shared by his latest director, who, we're told, threw him off the set of The Batman 'cause he couldn't be bothered to work out and put on some muscle - the 6'1" 160 pound actor thing worked ok as a vampire and also as a bit player who got deaded by Voldemort, but Bruce Wayne is not anything like 160 pounds.

There are four books, "Twilight," "New Moon," "Eclipse," and "Breaking Dawn," which turned into 5 movies, 'cause more tickets. The books are ok; I read them a long time ago. The movies are a bit less than ok, they really just a bit more than clear the bar of tolerable. But your wife will likely like them 'cause the boys are cute, there's *lots* of handholding, vampires mate forever (whatever mate means when you can't have kids. . .), and there's lots and lots of staring meaningfully into each other's eyes, but pretty much zero sex. I mean, he's like 150 years old,  how do the little blue pills work when you don't even have a heartbeat? And the vampire thing, which I gotta tell you I really don't get that part. So these are good date night flicks by the definition that a good date night flick is one she likes. As Leanne Morgan (https://youtu.be/yQW_2rf_fsI) says, "He fills up my love tank, and then I'm willing to do all those vulgar things he likes."

Kinda sorta recommended. By me. Highly recommend by my girlfriend.

Gotta go, time for some of that vulgar stuff.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 14, 2020, 08:52:47 PM
New Moon - 2009

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

People are noticing that Carlisle, patriarch of Edward's family, has been hanging out for ten years but isn't aging. The family decides it's time to pull up roots and leave. Edward decides the best thing is for him to leave too, and leave Bella behind.

Bella goes certifiable. She discovers that when she has an adrenaline rush see has visions of Edward (helpful hint: the formal name for this condition is schizophrenia, and it's not an indicator for that person being a good marriage partner.) She starts doing crazy ass stunts to get her little rush and vision. Meanwhile, Victoria, who's mate was killed in the previous flick, is out to kill Bella for retribution. Then Edward somehow gets word that Bella is dead (she's not, she's just gone all beautiful mind except without the nobel prize ideas) and decides life isn't worth living without this teenage schizophrenic narcissist (sorry, I'm really not a big bella fan). Big climax as (spoiler?) victoria is foiled in her murder attempt and edwards is foiled in her suicide attempt, thus allowing the soap opera to go on for at least three more movies.

girlfriend loved it. me: meh.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 14, 2020, 09:17:30 PM
Eclipse - 2010

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

Victoria, foiled yet again in her attempt to get back at edward for killing her mate, which mate, btw, was killed by Alice and burned by Emmett and Jasper so victoria is totally going after the wrong guy; this time Victoria raises an army of newborns, that is new vampires who were just turned and are dumb as fence posts, but extra fast and strong 'cause "their cells still have human blood in them for the first several months." Stephenie didn't pay much attention in her high school biology class, red blood cells only live about a week and never leave the blood vessels, they don't enter other cells. Anyways, the triangle between bella and edward and jacob heats up, more indians turn into werewolves, and victoria's army starts to march on the cullen family. Lotsa drama. Lotsa emotion. Lotsa bad acting. Bella wants to marry Edwards for all time and eternity (who knew? vampires are mormons!) but is wearing a bracelet that jacob made for her and is smooching jacob and telling him she loves him. Edward needs to pull the rip cord, this plane is nosing in at just short of mach 1. But true love. Which, kristen stewart is a great choice of actress for bella, they're both sluts. kinda like madonna and eva peron. Not a big fan of any of these women, real or imagined. I imagine you're getting that.

Love is a feeling, and feelings change, right? Like every 15 minutes in some people, right? Well, that's all true for teenagers, but notice in the wedding vows you promise "to love," which makes it a verb, something you do, not something you feel. You don't promise to feel love, you don't promise to feel loved, you don't promise to ask yourself constantly if this is really love, you promise to love the other person. Teenagers don't get that. Neither, apparently, does ms. meyer.

I'm tiring of these movies, but the girlfriend is still enchanted.

three down, two to go. #4 will really test me, it's 2 hours of whining about being pregant.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on October 15, 2020, 12:00:35 AM
Mark, maybe you could complain about how much you dislike the "Twilight" series, get up and take a shower, and return and trash the movie some more. Oh, wait, you're a guy. So that behavior is unacceptable. I guess the only thing to do is grit your teeth and "think of England." Did you ever see "Barbarossa"? A mythic western about revenge and redemption. With Willie Nelson, Gary Busey, and Gilbert Roland. A bit slow, but well worth the investment of time. Would your lady enjoy it? Maybe, because it does include a doomed romance.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on October 15, 2020, 04:13:37 PM
I had forgotten that there were five Twilight movies.  I've seen them all, but for a few of them I didn't really pay much attention when I was watching.  Good points that these relationships are seriously screwed up.  And all this fuss over a relatively plain girl with not much to distinguish her.  Then there's the age issue of a 100 year old vampire attending high school and scoping on a high school girl.  I guess vampires aren't PC.  And that's not even close to what happens with Jacob in the last movie, but I won't discuss that for spoiler purposes.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 15, 2020, 08:02:57 PM
Breaking Dawn Part 1 - 2011

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

Bella gets engaged. 150 year old engagement ring. Alice plans this killer back-yard wedding to die for (kinda literally. . .). Bella gets married. Small amount of drama at the wedding reception - people and vampires and werewolves mixing freely, under truce. Bella gets a tropical honeymoon. Bella gets pregnant on her honeymoon. Baby grows incredibly quickly - as is well known in the Catholic and Mormon churches, in her youth and enthusiasm a new bride can accomplish in 4 weeks what takes everyone else 9 months. Baby gets born, 6ish pounds, healthy girl. Bella gets dead in childbirth. Edward races to save her by turning her vampire. (spoiler? 'cause without Bella, what's part 2?) Bella is dead for 2 days, then wakes up a vampire. Baby at 2 days old is already about 18 pounds. I dunno what they feed that little tyke, but I'm very happy not to be on diaper detail.

That's it. That's every bloody thing that happens.

Your wife will love it. Every second. And you'll have a nice nap.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 15, 2020, 08:20:33 PM
Breaking Dawn Part 2 - 2012

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

The Volturi - a bunch of 1500 year old italians who kinda sorta run the vampire world, get word that bella and edward have a kid. Vampire kids are illegal - if you take a 4 y/o and bite them, they're a 4 y/o vampire forever - one temper tantrum and a whole village dies. Can't be allowed. Kid must die. But it's all a mistake, 'cause bella was human when she had the kid, the kid is half human, has a heart beat, ages, grows up, all that stuff. The volturi are coming with their army, about 200 vampires, there's gonna be a lot of dead vampires. The cullens gather a bunch of vampires to support them, they got maybe like 25 + another dozen werewolves, 'cause jacob has "imprinted" on bella's infant, they're now mated for life. Even muslims don't marry them until they're like 7 or 8. This is all very weird at best, seriously sick at worst. Anyway, the war is scheduled, now we gotta prepare. Then we have the war. Magic flies fast and furious. Heads come off left and right. Little bonfires around the battle field finish off the job. It would all be seriously bloody, 'cept the vampire, thing, they got no blood.

Immortal? Let's think this through. You're sitting around on the earth for a few billion years. How long does human civilization last? 1,000 years? 10,000? 1 million? Even the dinosaurs only had about 100 million and any particular dinosaur type you name lived only for a tiny fraction of that - they were coming and going like antifa looters in seattle. You got about 4 billion years to kill. DVDs and CDs, they're gonna get seriously old. After about 4 billion years the sun turns into a red giant and burns up the earth; if you haven't made a space ship by then, well, burning vampires kills them. The good thing about being a vampire, you can use a solar sail. It take 1,000 years to get to the nearest star? You're immortal, that's like waiting a year for part 2 to come out. You're gonna need a big hydroponic lettuce garden and a bunch of rabbits. Maybe you have to visit 1000 stars to find your next planet, that's just a million years, no biggie for someone a couple billion years old. The sun is 5 billion year old a type G star, a yellow dwarf. they live about 5-15 billion years. Littler stars live longer. Then next step down is an orange dwarf, a type K star, they live like 20-50 billion years maybe. You find a nice planet on a type K star, you're set up for a long time. After that, however, you gotta be looking for a planet orbiting a class m red dwarf. They're quite small, so the planets that have a habitable region have a "year" that's like a few weeks long. Also the planet is so close to the star that it's likely tidally locked, same side faces the star all the time. You gotta live on the terminator, the thin line that separates day from night. On the sun side the atmosphere is probly burned off; on the night side it's frozen out. You gotta hope to find a planet that has an atmosphere on the terminator - not for you, apparently vampires don't need to breath, but you gotta have prey. Vampires can't make it on lichen and moss. But then, finally, after a trillion years your little red dwarf burns out, and that's pretty much it for light anywhere in our part of the universe. Every now and then a black hole blows up, that's really spectacular, but we're talking a huge searchlight that lasts a couple months once every 100 billion years or so. You're immortal, living on a cold, dead rock, in a cold dead black universe. There's nothing around to burn, you can't even commit suicide by doing the toasted marshmallow thing. Moral: be careful what you wish for.

Stars are put into classes, biggest to littlest it's O B A F G K M, which we remember with "Oh be a fine girl kiss me." Astronomers don't get a lot of action.

But then maybe with a trillion years of meditation you figure it all out and you say, "In the beginning there was darkness and void; and also there was me. And I said, 'Let there be light!' "

God is a trillion year old bored out of his mind immortal vampire?

Maybe I'll start a church. L.Ron Hubbard did, it worked out ok for him. . .

Stephenie Meyer is a mormon and it shows in these movies. Mormons don't marry "until death do we part," they marry "for all time and eternity." When they die (Bella in childbirth) they go to heaven where they "reconstitute their earthly body in its perfected form," which is what we watched Bella do as the venom transformed her from dead to vampire. Over the course of eternity they learn all there is to know, and eventually they go off and make their own universe and populate it with their children, where they are the god and goddess. They believe this has happened countless times before. The god of earth is jesus and his wife; the god of jesus is jehovah and his wife and jesus was once just a man living in jehovah's universe; and jehovah in turn has a god and goddess but we don't know anything about them. Brigham Young said, as a matter of prophecy, "As man is, God once was; as God is, man can become." And obviously they believe there's a mrs.god. Mormons believe they continue to have children in heaven, which has lead me to tell some mormons, "There must be some rule, after their 1,000 birthday or some such you no longer send cards. Otherwise you'd spend all eternity addressing birthday cards."

Girlfriend wants to watch Hunger Games next.

Right.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: iarwain on October 15, 2020, 09:18:13 PM
I liked Hunger Games.  It has its problems, such as it suffers from the usual "Take the third book and split it into two movies" annoyance.  But I liked it.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on October 16, 2020, 04:30:22 AM
Just got done watching all the "Harry Potter" movies in order. I liked them, a lot, which rather surprised me. The first three were charming and helped build the world. The following ones got much darker; like Harry himself, they started out childish and became more adult as they aged. They're available right now on "Peacock", the NBC free streaming service. And it is free, though with ads. But my ad blocker allows me to watch them without ads, but with brief (3 seconds or less) pauses where the commercials should be. Recommended. I also have the full "Mr. Robot" TV series, and will start re-watching that in the next few days. That is highly recommended, but be sure to watch them in order, and don't "binge" unless you can absorb a lot of content very quickly.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on October 16, 2020, 08:49:42 AM
I told my son when they came out with the Walking Dead that "monster shows" would be a thing. The "Twilight series" and others came along and a new generation were captivated by monsters. I would kind of put the Harry Potter movies in that same realm.
There have been a few movies like "Charlie" and the "Lawn Mower Man" and make for an interesting plot.

In the category of true/strange facts, I will also let you know that our government in the late 50s to mid-60s sponsored a project of transporting memories from animal subject to another. It used RF and while the new subject had increased abilities...the old subject died from the procedure. Nobody thought it would go beyond the mouse stage, but they proved it to be especially successful in primates. After that the NSA shut it down and collected all the data. Fearing that politicians or others would use it to enhance their abilities. The scientist who worked on it had a photographic memory and was according to my friend even smarter then Seymour Cray, of Cray Research. They all worked together at one time for UNIVAC.

My New Eden books actually are based on that research.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: ricky on October 16, 2020, 09:56:25 AM
I told my son when they came out with the Walking Dead that "monster shows" would be a thing. The "Twilight series" and others came along and a new generation were captivated by monsters. I would kind of put the Harry Potter movies in that same realm.
There have been a few movies like "Charlie" and the "Lawn Mower Man" and make for an interesting plot.

In the category of true/strange facts, I will also let you know that our government in the late 50s to mid-60s sponsored a project of transporting memories from animal subject to another. It used RF and while the new subject had increased abilities...the old subject died from the procedure. Nobody thought it would go beyond the mouse stage, but they proved it to be especially successful in primates. After that the NSA shut it down and collected all the data. Fearing that politicians or others would use it to enhance their abilities. The scientist who worked on it had a photographic memory and was according to my friend even smarter then Seymour Cray, of Cray Research. They all worked together at one time for UNIVAC.

My New Eden books actually are based on that research.

I'm intrigued. Do you have a link to this research? All I found were some studies on worms, snails and some rat transfers. No primates. No NSA or fear of politicians getting "enhanced"- so, they'd be functionally literate and morally responsible? Seriously, any links would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 16, 2020, 12:16:15 PM
My New Eden books actually are based on that research.

Not unlike Spider Robinson's Deathkiller series.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Hands on October 16, 2020, 08:00:41 PM
I told my son when they came out with the Walking Dead that "monster shows" would be a thing. The "Twilight series" and others came along and a new generation were captivated by monsters. I would kind of put the Harry Potter movies in that same realm.
There have been a few movies like "Charlie" and the "Lawn Mower Man" and make for an interesting plot.

In the category of true/strange facts, I will also let you know that our government in the late 50s to mid-60s sponsored a project of transporting memories from animal subject to another. It used RF and while the new subject had increased abilities...the old subject died from the procedure. Nobody thought it would go beyond the mouse stage, but they proved it to be especially successful in primates. After that the NSA shut it down and collected all the data. Fearing that politicians or others would use it to enhance their abilities. The scientist who worked on it had a photographic memory and was according to my friend even smarter then Seymour Cray, of Cray Research. They all worked together at one time for UNIVAC.

My New Eden books actually are based on that research.

I'm intrigued. Do you have a link to this research? All I found were some studies on worms, snails and some rat transfers. No primates. No NSA or fear of politicians getting "enhanced"- so, they'd be functionally literate and morally responsible? Seriously, any links would be appreciated.

Ricky,
The gentleman that related the story was a man named Jack Andrews. One of a lost breed. He was a Westinghouse fellow, served in the Korean War as a fighter pilot and flew experimental jets with a guy named Yeager. I think he's actually mentioned in his book. After the war, went to work with UNIVAC with Cray and Sanford and then Bell Labs. He consulted with me in the mid 90s and is a role model for anyone. Under the freedom of Information act, you can request documents if you know their title or subject matter. When I started writing my books, I tried to get those documents, but couldn't. I have my suspicions and think there's a real nefarious reason they aren't available.
But hey, that's just MHO.-Right?
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 17, 2020, 01:39:45 PM
Glengarry Glen Ross - 1992

Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey

Alec comes into a sales office and gives an inspired 5 minute speech, which is pretty much the whole movie. You can turn it off when Alec leaves.

In his speech he says that all but the top two salesmen in the office will be fired at the end of the month. He also has a lot to say about their anatomies. And the race is on.

This movie is a bit like The Wolf of Wall Street, but not nearly as good. It's supposed to make you hate real estate salesmen, or perhaps all salesmen. I guess it works, but I already knew that salesmen are mostly all narcissists and live for the thrill of the kill.

Lots of swearing, lots of testosterone flying fast and furious.

I didn't like it all that much. My girlfriend fell asleep.

Not particularly recommended.
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: Bignutz on October 17, 2020, 03:23:03 PM
Check out Lodge 49, excellent show. Sadly only got 2 seasons. My wife hates shows like this but will sit for hours watching Housewives of wherever. Personally, I find these Housewives shows to be obscene, a bunch of wealthy women who have all of these “problems” yet have more money than they can spend.  That’s the rant for today! Thanks for reading!😁
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 18, 2020, 09:05:57 PM
Back to the Future - 1985

Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson

Doc Brown (Lloyd) invents a time machine, which he builds into a DeLorean. He and Marty (Fox) travel into the past and screw things up - Marty will never be born. And they have to set things right.

Romping fun, mindless, not awful special effects (rather good for the period), a great plot. And simple enough that no one gets lost - it's pretty easy to get lost in most time travel stories.

Highly recommended for an evening of mindless fun.

BTW, a recent paper (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6382/aba4bc) shows that time travel is indeed possible without paradox. That's the good news. The bad news is if you go back in time to shoot your grandfather, there's an excellent chance you'll wake up one morning to find out that now you're your grandfather. Or if you go back in time to kill patient zero for, say, the china virus, someone else will be patient zero - maybe you. Time, it turns out, appears to be self-healing. You can change the cause but not the effect. Or as Frank N Furter put it, "I'll remove the cause, but not the symptoms."
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 18, 2020, 09:28:24 PM
Back to the Future part II - 1989

Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson

Just a couple hours after returning Marty home from the part i adventure, the professor abruptly appears announcing that Marty and his girlfriend must come with him immediately to the future - their kids are in serious trouble and it simply must be fixed. The future means 2015. Turns out the movie is rather optimistic about the march of technology - we don't in fact have home fusion generators, hover boards or flying cars. We do have a lot of the video stuff. Of course things get majorly screwed up as they're noticed in the future: Biff steals the car and goes back in time to give the 21 y/o biff a sports almanac, allowing him to get seriously rich and screw up everything. Confusion reigns as they must go back to the same time as part i, get things fixed, but not bump into themselves or undo what they had previously fixed.

Remarkably part ii is just as good as part i, and is also highly recommended.

In part ii the machinations of old biff result in a new timeline; but the paper referenced above indicates there's only one time line, so unfortunately this movie apparently can't happen, nor can the spiderverse, nor avengers end game, nor countless other time travel movies. Strikingly, Predestination, based on the 1950 story All you Zombies by Robert Heinlein, does not suffer from this particular problem. Apparently Heinlein's idea could work. We'll discuss that at some later date when I watch the movie, but not in great detail as it would be a major spoiler. There are a lot of science fiction writers, but only a few got the science anywhere near right. And that's allowing for warp drive, 'cause without warp drive there's no interstellar travel.

NASA is working on a warp engine - not intensely seriously, but they've got a couple guys working on it. They have a mockup of their ship, which is really great looking - better than the Enterprise, and I don't say things like that lightly. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure their idea can't work. They want to create a space-time wave then surf across the universe. Inside the ship you would feel nothing - you're not moving relative to the local coordinate system. They hope to get the wave travelling at many times the speed of light. Unfortunately, general relativity is quite clear on this point: gravitational waves travel at the speed of light. Perhaps you can surf at warp 1, but no faster I think. Unless someone comes up with a whole new theory. That would be a "don't hold your breath" kind of thing.

There were 200 years between Newton and Einstein, and it may well be another 200 years before we get the next theory. Which, I have very little confidence humans will still have a technological society in 200 years. Einstein once said, "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." But then the guys in the Second Foundation were a bunch of hick farmers - you don't need a lot of special equipment to do math, pen and paper will suffice. If I knew Greek of 800 bc, I could teach Plato and Euclid and Socrates the standard model - relativity, quantum mechanics, atoms, electricity and magnetism, electrons, quarks, neutrinos. . . the math behind all this is surprisingly easy and stunningly compelling. Steven Weinberg once said, "What we're looking for is theories that have the scent of inevitability." What we have now has that scent rather strongly. Unfortunately it's obviously incomplete and obviously gets the extremely fine details wrong.

(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/79/da/0e/79da0e6211ff3e4b18258e4770aa8be6.jpg)
Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 19, 2020, 07:55:12 PM
Back to the Future part III - 1990

Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson

At the end of Part II, Doc is in the time delorean and gets hit by lightning, throwing him back to 1885 and wrecking the time machine circuits. Moreover, when Marty looks Doc up in the library, turns out Doc will be shot and killed get a couple months after he gets there. A rescue back to 1885 must be made. But the time machine is messed up pretty badly. Marty and the younger doc must somehow fix it, back in 1955, back three years before transistors were invented and fifteen years before integrated circuits.

Stunningly, this one too is just as good as the original, nearly unheard of for sequels. Even The Matrix could only make two that were excellent.

All three are highly recommended. And, apparently, they're good date night movies. Everyone has seen them, of course, but you saw them 30 years ago or so.

Title: Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
Post by: marklawrence on October 24, 2020, 08:40:41 PM
Galaxy Quest - 1999

Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Justin Long

Tim Allen plays William Shatner playing Captain Kirk in this parody / farce movie. Tim is an actor who played the captain on a '70s sci-fi show; now the actors of the crew are all older and make a living off conventions and commercials. Meanwhile, a race of actual aliens, the Thermians, are being systematically hunted down and wiped out by Xindi look-alikes. (in fairness, this movie came a couple years before Star Trek Enterprise, so the Xindi were ripped off from Galaxy Quest). The Thermians have no concept of lying or pretend; when they see Earth television they take it all as historic documentaries, particularly including the Galaxy Quest TV show and Gilligan's Island, which they think is tragic. They build a working replica of the Galaxy Quest ship and come to earth because they need a captain - they're a race of engineers and mathematicians and have no tactical or leadership abilities. So Tim finds himself the commander of an actual star ship fighting an actual nasty alien.

The movie is a lot of fun. It pokes lots of gentle fun at Star Trek, including Tim rolling around a lot in fights just like Shatner used to love to do. You know, you get a few thousand light years from earth, find space-faring aliens who want to kill everyone, and the solution is to punch someone. There's even an alien love interest played by Two and a Half Men's Ms.Pasternak (Jake's control freak ultra-christian teacher who falls for Charlie and intends to marry / redeem him).

And the girlfriend loved it, she thought it was hilarious.

Highly recommended.