November 30, 2020, 11:42:59 PM

Author Topic: Mark's Movie Reviews  (Read 44038 times)

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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #525 on: November 15, 2020, 03:40:07 PM »
A Time to Kill - 1996

Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Patrick McGoohan, Ashley Judd, Oliver Platt.

Based on the book by John Grisham

Samuel Jackson's 10 y/o daughter is abducted, raped, then hung by a couple red necks in Mississippi. She lives. The two bad guys get arrested almost immediately. As they're being brought into court to be arraigned, Jackson kills them. With an M-16, of course, 'cause all black guys in 70's Mississippi own fully automatic weapons. Now Jackson is a black guy charged with murdering a couple fine young white guys. McConaughey is his lawyer; Sandra is the northern liberal lawyer who pops in to volunteer to help in his defense; Kevin is the DA; Donald is the old lawyer who lost his license but is the best lawyer in the state; Kiefer is the KKK redneck brother of one of the dead guys.

Grisham is a great author so the story is excellent; so's the acting - with a cast like this how could it not be? Directing, plot, dialog, characters, it's all here.

Of course this is Hollywood's view of the south, so there's KKK everywhere, burning crosses, marching in the streets, abducting and torturing people, burning down houses. In short there's a klansman behind every bush. Now I've lived in the south in the 60s and I live in the south now, I've never seen no klansman, but then waddu I know - I'm sure the hollywood pedophiles know these states a lot better than I do. I dunno, somehow I'm recently a bit sensitive to being called a deplorable ignorant redneck, clinging to my bible and guns. By a bunch of socialists who wanna put my name on a list and punish me as part of bringing unity to the last days of our country, just before they open the borders wide and destroy it. Well, anyways I find the whole KKK sub-plot deeply insulting. And, for the record, the KKK was all democrats. Like their last Grand Poobah or whatever he's called, Robert Byrd, D Sen WV.

Highly recommended if you can stomach the KKK BS.

ps: the movie is 2 1/2 hours long, choose an appropriate start time and make sure everyone pees first.



« Last Edit: November 15, 2020, 03:56:19 PM by marklawrence »
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #526 on: November 15, 2020, 03:54:05 PM »
Premonition - 2007

Sandra Bullock, Julian McMahon

Sandra is happily married to Julian with two cute little daughters; the big issue in her life is managing to get up to get the girls to school on time. Then one morning she gets up and there's a sheriff at her door - her husband was killed yesterday in a traffic accident. She gets seriously weirded out 'cause yesterday everything was fine; except then it turns out it's thursday and yesterday was saturday. Next time she wakes up it's monday and her husband's alive. Next time she wakes up it's saturday and her older daughter has like 50 stitches in her face and she's at her husband's funeral.

It's a somewhat complicated plot, but quite engaging. And by the end it all makes sense. It's sorta kinda a mystery. This time when I explained the time jumping to my girlfriend she mostly already understood it.

A good movie, well acted, engaging plot, well developed characters. A good date night movie - even you will like it.

Recommended.


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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #527 on: November 15, 2020, 04:21:22 PM »
The Proposal - 2009

Sandra Bullock,   Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White, Malin Akerman

Sandra is a high powered executive in a NY publishing house; Ryan is her PWed executive assistent. Sandra is the wicked witch of the west, "the witch is on her broom," or,  "Do we call you Margaret or Mistress of Satan, I've heard both." She's also a Canadian and being threatened with deportation 'cause she ignored her visa renewal. (Welfare cases from Nicaragua are welcome here forever, free apartment, food, college, medical. . . but an actually useful person who employs people and helps make a business work, they gotta go.) So she comes up with a scheme - she and Ryan are getting married. However ICE is on her case and this is not going to be easy. If they get a whiff of fraud, which they already have, she gets deported for life and Ryan is facing a felony conviction and five years in prison. She and Ryan fly back to Ryan's home in Sitka Alaska where they meet his family.

This being a rom-com it all works out in the end - love conquers all, of course. I'm quite dissatisfied - somehow Sandra is a raging lunatic narcissistic 65 hour per week executive but love is going to instantly change her into a perfect wife and mother. All I can say is Ryan better be ready to be a voiceless house husband. I've always been of the opinion that about a third of all women want nothing to do with kids, which, I'm ok with that, and they should be encouraged to not have anything to do with kids. These women can fall in love just like everyone else, but that doesn't mean they suddenly want kids. And I totally don't get why anyone would get married if they don't want kids. I seriously don't get gay marriage - as far as I'm concerned it's just a full employment act for divorce lawyers.

My girlfriend really liked this movie 'cause 1) chick flick; 2) love conquers all; 3) extremely funny; and 4) she works for ICE so she had a lot of fun explaining how they would be interrogated, which more or less is how they wound up being interrogated.

Recommended.


« Last Edit: November 15, 2020, 08:40:37 PM by marklawrence »
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #528 on: November 15, 2020, 07:21:14 PM »
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - 2011

Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow, Viola Davis

Oscar is a nine y/o boy; he has aspergers, and he's very close to his father, Tom Hanks. Not so much to his NT mother, Sandra. Tom dies in 9/11. Oscar finds a key in his father's closet, and convinces himself that the key was left for him; he need only find what it opens and everything will make sense. So he goes on a quest to find the lock. Along the way he finds a lot of other things. Like, for example, he learns to face his fears. And he learns that he still has family, that his mother loves him.

This is an extremely well written script and very well acted. It was nominated for best picture, and it should have won. The story is extremely touching - your wife will cry. Which, if you watch a drama and your wife cries, that's as good as it gets.

Highly recommended. Must see.
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #529 on: November 17, 2020, 08:58:00 AM »
While You Were Sleeping - 1995

Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher

Lucy (Sandra) is a lonely toll-taker for Chicago's El. Her mother died when she was very young, and her father died a year ago; she has no family. She develops a crush on Peter, who walks through her gate every day. Then one day he gets mugged on the platform, falls onto the tracks and gets knocked out. Lucy saves his life, but he's in a coma now. At the hospital the only way she can get in to see him is to claim he's her fiancee. Then the whole family gets there, the nurse tells them his fiancee is in the room already, and the confusion and comedy start. Peter has a brother, Bill Pullman, and he and Lucy rather inconveniently fall in love. So we get a whole rom-com out of the propagated lies and misunderstandings and uncomfortability.

Good acting, tolerable plot, even a bit touching. Lucy is a nice girl and we're rooting for her.

A good date night movie. Recommended.
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #530 on: November 17, 2020, 09:14:28 AM »
Forces of Nature - 1999

Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck

Ben lives in NYC, but he must get to Savanah to get married. The universe conspires against him - his plane falls apart on the runway, there are no other flights, the rental cars are all taken. He meets Sandra on the flight - an extremely attractive free spirit who, we learn, has a life that's non-stop trouble and reasons and excuses. Ben and Sandra are offered a ride if they share expenses with another stranded traveler. He turns out to be a drug dealer, they wind up in jail briefly. When they get out there are storms and misunderstandings and broken cars and more things than you can imagine - they are only creeping in the direction of Savanah. Meanwhile Ben finds himself nervous about getting married and perhaps falling in love.

While watching this I'm getting more and more tweeked - I'm telling my girlfriend, "Sandra is a train wreck, she's leaving a wake of messed up lives behind her, she's gonna ruin Ben's live. She's had trouble all her life and if Ben chooses her he'll have trouble all his life." (I'm kinda an expert on messed up women ruining men's lives - I will simply allude to my ex-wife who is currently on husband #7, with her kids scattered all over the continent and most barely speaking to her.)

My girlfriend liked it, she thought it funny. I was too triggered to enjoy it. Not recommended, not not recommended, but perhaps I'm not an unbiased observer.
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #531 on: November 17, 2020, 09:52:31 PM »
Murder by Numbers - 2002

Sandra Bullock, Ryan Gosling

A couple rich, bored high school kids decide to plan and get away with murder - 'cause you're only free if you commit a crime. They kill a girl and stage the murder scene - the kids are actually pretty bright. Sandra Bullock is the local detective, fighting off her own demons, and she's on the case. There's a simple solution to the murder - follow the clues the boys left. "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." -- H. L. Mencken. Everyone else on the force is satisfied, but Sandra isn't buying it. And now the chase is on. While Sandra fights off her own demons.

It's ok. Sandra is more compelling as a sweetheart, or even train wreck, than she is as a serious detective. Ryan Gosling does a better job of being a sociopath than Sandra does as being a tortured soul. The plot, while not exactly predictable, was neither surprising. The acting was a little flat. It's ok.

Not recommended. Nor recommended. It's so-so.

« Last Edit: November 27, 2020, 10:35:05 PM by marklawrence »
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #532 on: November 19, 2020, 06:32:00 PM »
Our Brand Is Crisis - 2015

Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie

Sandra is a retired political strategist. She's hired for the Bolivian presidential election, where "her" guy is running in 6th place with 8% approval. Billy bob thornton is her arch-nemesis, hired by the leader who's at about 28%. If you're cynical about politics you'll love this movie - Sandra says, "I was a true believer once. For my first campaign. Then I met the candidate." They lie, cheat, steal, whatever it takes to get their guy elected.

I am a political cynic, and I like the movie. Not so many people do, and my girlfriend, who hates politics, didn't like it at all.

Recommended if you think all politicians start out as scumbag narcissists and work their way down to sociopath. If you really think Obama or Trump or whoever was a great guy who really wanted to "fix" america, maybe you won't like it so much.
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #533 on: November 19, 2020, 06:36:58 PM »
Miss Congeniality - 2000

Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Candice Bergen, William Shatner   

Sandra is an FBI agent who's about as feminine as your average HS jock. The FBI gets intel that the Miss USA pageant will be targeted for terrorism. Sandra is put in as a contestant to work from the inside. Michael Caine is tasked with turning her into a female. Candice and Captain Kirk run the pageant (sorry, "scholarship program.") It's a comedy, and moderately funny. Once. Not so much the second time.

A decent date night movie. So-so.
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #534 on: November 19, 2020, 06:54:03 PM »
Demolition Man - 1993

Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone, Sandra Bullock

Wesley snipes is a bad guy who seems mostly interested in burning things - sorta the joker as Heath Ledger redefined him. Stallone is a cop, "the demolition man," who's after snipes. Stallone catches Snipes, but 30 civilians die as a result of Stallone's rater gratuitously destructive ways. Stallone and Snipes are both sentenced to several decades in cold sleep where they will be "conditioned" to come out as productive people. Snipes gets out early in 2032 somehow, and it seems his reconditioning program has turned him into an advanced cyber criminal who's also pretty good at martial arts. In 2032 no one is violent anymore; they really can't handle this at all so they also release Stallone to track him down. Sandra is a future cop who's assigned to ride herd on Stallone, which proves somewhere between difficult and impossible. And another star is a 1970 matador red Oldsmobile 442. I love those cars. I'd rather have a 1970 mach one, but the 442 would be an excellent consolation prize.

Basically what you have here is a future where testosterone has been outlawed and then in pop these two neanderthals. In these china virus days, the ultra-sterile no-touch future seems neither far off nor improbable.

Girlfriend fell asleep. I found it mediocre - a bit funny at times, Snipes is always fun to watch performing side thrust kicks; Stallone seems to thing a right to the ribs will take anyone down and that seems to be all he's got. It's a formula movie, and it's so-so at best. If you wanna watch guy movies, you'll be better off with Lethal Weapon.

Line of the movie - "In the future all restaurants are Taco Bell. They're the only one that survived the franchise wars."
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #535 on: November 20, 2020, 06:02:47 PM »
Infamous - 2006

Sigourney Weaver, Toby Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sandra Bullock, Isabella Rossellini, Peter Bogdanovich, Jeff Daniels, Daniel Craig

The story of Truman Capote (Toby) researching his greatest novel, In Cold Blood. In Cold Blood is the true story of a couple guys who hear a particular Kansas farmer has a safe with $10,000 in it; they rob the family. There's no safe, so they kill everyone. Truman reads about the killing right after it happens and is fascinated; he gets his lifelong friend, Nelle Harper Lee (Sandra), to come with him to Kansas to find out what happened. Truman's book invents the category of true crime novels, and is the #1 such novel until eight years later Helter Skelter comes along. Harper Lee is the author of To Kill A Mockingbird for which she won the Pulitzer (now banned in many blue states) - she and Truman were quite the pair. In the course of researching the book Truman develops a very close relationship with Perry (Daniel Craig), one of the killers; Perry's death by hanging kills a part of Truman too, apparently.

The acting is superlative - how could it be otherwise? The movie is extremely well written and quite engaging. Over the course of the movie you realize that Perry is a human who caused suffering but also suffered himself. We all come here and face trials; Perry broke under the strain. In his own way Truman did too - he never wrote anything of significance after In Cold Blood.

I love character studies, and this one is superb. Highly recommended.

I can't speak for my girlfriend - she was out to dinner with her ungrateful daughter and her two grandchildren. “The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.” ― Sam Levenson
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 06:16:42 PM by marklawrence »
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Online ricky

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #536 on: November 20, 2020, 08:39:32 PM »
There could be a triple header. "In Cold Blood" the original based on the novel. "Capote", a different take on the creation of the book. And, of course, "infamous." All excellent in their own way.

https://bannedbooks.library.cmu.edu/harper-lee-to-kill-a-mockingbird/

https://www.newsweek.com/kill-mockingbird-other-books-banned-california-schools-over-racism-concerns-1547241
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 08:50:35 PM by marklawrence »
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #537 on: November 20, 2020, 08:59:05 PM »
The Net - 1995

Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller

Sandra is a security consultant who runs into viruses from time to time and forwards them to a hacker friend who collects them. She runs into one in particular, and suddenly her identity is erased, her house is emptied and for sale, she has a "new" identity as a wanted fugitive drug dealer and prostitute, and people are trying to kill her. A bunch of really improbable computer events happen, and, (spoiler alert) she turns the tables on the bad guys.

The computer stuff is all lingo and fear, it's really not how this stuff works. The movie conveniently ignores that we have several agencies who do nothing but watch for stuff like this and would step in if wall street and the pentagon were about to be seriously compromised. After all, the #1 job of the government is to protect their own position as in charge of everything else. However, the movie is correct that you change a few things in a couple computer databases and suddenly all the police in the country want to arrest someone.

The acting is so-so, the plot is improbable, the tension is a bit abstract and unconvincing, the dialog is cliche.

Not recommended. Watch MI-anything instead.
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Online ricky

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #538 on: November 21, 2020, 07:22:43 AM »
1995. When the internet was dial up, and you paid for the amount of time you were online. I guess that was the "good old days."  ::)
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #539 on: November 21, 2020, 05:47:02 PM »
Crash - 2004

Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Thandie Newton, Michael Peña, Marina Sirtis, Shaun Toub

Awards: Best picture, screenplay

This movie is about 6 or 8 groups of people whose lives wind up intertwined briefly. They're all different races and classes. We're supposed to learn about racism from this, and also apparently that everyone is fighting their own demons. 'Course some of the people fight demons by carjacking with guns, some by being racist pigs, and some by just generally being asshats.

You have to pay attention, it's not an easy film to follow; and if you miss a line or two then there's some story that never quite makes sense. We're trying to keep track of like 16 major characters, that's certainly not easy for me. There's no voiceover or anything to keep you on track - at one point Thandie Newton is drunk and acting out so a cop searches her in a rather objectionable manner bordering on rape; later in the film, 1 day later in "time," she's in a car crash and the same cop crawls into her upside-down gasoline-leaking car and cuts her free and drags her out just before the car blows up, saving her life at great risk to his own.

The acting is superlative - if you're an actor you read this script and you want in, you don't care if they pay minimum wage. So they get their pick of talent. I guess the screenplay is pretty good - it got an award and it is possible to follow it if you're paying attention. The character development is curious - they develop just enough so that you're sympathetic with most everyone, even the car jackers. Who are pretty much the poster boys for that t-shirt, "Judgement is the Lord's. Our job is to arrange the meeting. US Marines."

It's a good movie. Should it have gotten best picture? It was up against such historic films as Troy and Catwoman; I dunno, the competition was pretty thin that year. Also that year was million dollar baby, a clearly superior film, but they were nominated in separate years and both won.

Recommended, I guess. It's better than meh; it's not knock-your-socks-off good. Imho.

The Girlfriend liked it. 'Specially 'cause we got in an argument about which character was which and she won. Girls really like winning.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 05:49:30 PM by marklawrence »
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