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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

There just aren't many new movies I'm interested in right now, so I'm doing some older movies.

Starring and directed by Mel Gibson, 1993.

Gibson plays Justin McLeod, a recluse who was once a teacher. McLeod has been burned, badly, over half his body and half his face. Chuck Norstadt is a local boy being raised by a narcissistic mother who, by the end of the movie, is on husband #6. He also lives with his hateful older sister and a younger sister that's more or less human. Chuck desperately wants to go to a military academy and escape the horrible women, but can't pass the entrance exam. He meets McLeod and a strange friendship begins as McLeod tutors him in latin, geometry and digging and filling in large holes. Right at the start we see Chuck's problems with the women in his life; as the movie progresses we learn McLeod's back story and why he's burned, not working and a recluse.

Excellent movie. Find it on Amazon, Hulu, Moviefone, Directv, or stream it on 123movies.com or putlocker.fyi.
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.