November 30, 2020, 11:51:20 PM

Author Topic: Mark's Movie Reviews  (Read 44039 times)

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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #540 on: November 21, 2020, 08:14:56 PM »
Gravity - 2013

Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

In 1978 Donald Kessler, a scientist working for NASA, wrote a paper noting that as the amount of stuff in low earth orbit (LEO) increases, there's a possibility that the density of stuff in LEO hits a critical value. At that point any collision in space could turn into hundreds or thousands of small objects in random orbits. These objects could then hit other satellites resulting in more collision junk, and eventually most everything in LEO is destroyed. The earth is covered over with a space blanket of crap, and space is unusable to us for many decades, perhaps centurys. Today there are about 2700 active satellites in LEO, and another 3000 dead satellites in LEO. In addition there are another 34,000 or so pieces of debris in orbit which are large than 4", about a softball. If you include objects down to 1cm (about a half inch) there are about a million objects in orbit. Go down to 1mm and there are about 140 million pieces of space junk. In 2000 space junk became more likely than micro-meteors to damage satellites. Many of these pieces came from a chinese anti-satellite missile test in 2007 where the chinese, using approximately the brains of a sea anemone, used a missile to purposely blew up an old weather satellite in orbit. Two years later a dead american satellite hit a dead russian satellite. These two events nearly doubled the amount of junk in orbit. Anyway, it's easy to imagine that all this debris gets out of control and everything in LEO gets destroyed over a time span of just a few years.

This movie is about the Kessler effect. The space shuttle goes up to dock with the Hubble telescope and do repairs and upgrades. Meanwhile the russians send up a missile to blow up a satellite in a test (the russians aren't that stupid, but the chinese obviously are.) The resulting debris hits the shuttle / hubble combination killing most of the crew and damaging everything far beyond repair. And during the hit Sandra gets launched into space unattached to anything. Now George must figure out how to rescue Sandra, and Sandra and George must figure out a way home; meanwhile every 90 minutes the debris field comes around again and does more and more damage. The way home turns out to be quite exciting. I've only ever seen this movie in 2D, but apparently it's even more exciting in 3D. I dunno how you would manage to see that.

Technically this movie is quite good; except for the fact that survival is about a 0.000000001% proposition, most everything I saw looked accurate. The main inaccuracy is they have the hubble, the international space station, and a planned but not yet existing chinese station all in the same orbit separated by only a hundred miles or so and travelling at nearly the same velocity. This is not how these orbits are done; and of course today the ISS is still up but shuttles are over and the chinese station is still a dream. The reality is that if you get in trouble in space, help is not coming, not from any direction. If you don't have a re-entry vehicle, you're gonna die. There's nothing on any launch pad anywhere just waiting for a AAA trouble call, and there's no Harley or Ford satellite parts conveniently laying on the side of the orbital road that you can scavenge and MacGyver into a makeshift capsule.

Sandra cut a very interesting deal for this movie - she worked for SGA minimum wage, basically for free, but took 15% of the revenue. She made about $70 million on this movie. Clooney made a bunch too, and decided with his take to reward friends who had helped him over the years before he made it - let him sleep on their couch, fed him, loaned him money, etc. So he went to a bank with a large van, took out $14 million in cash, and handed 14 friends $1 million in cash each. When the movie was being made it was relatively low budget and most of that money went to effects; it was not thought the movie would make a lot of money. It did.

Recommended. 'Cause I'm a space geek. And it's good. It was nominated for best picture, but got beat out by 12 years a slave, 'cause white guilt. In fairness American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street were also quite good. And my girlfriend liked it. Not rom-com liked, but still. . .

And that's it for Sandra Bullock movies. There's another dozen or so, but my review for those leftovers would be "don't go here."



« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 10:14:44 AM by marklawrence »
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Offline Bignutz

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #541 on: November 23, 2020, 06:03:11 AM »
Sandra Bullock, best behind in the movies!🤪
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Online ricky

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #542 on: November 23, 2020, 11:33:20 AM »
Sandra Bullock, best behind in the movies!🤪

Why wasn't she in the "Left Behind" movies? It'd be a natural fit!
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #543 on: November 26, 2020, 05:27:17 PM »
Unhinged -  2020

Russell Crowe (The 2020 Russell Crowe, the version who weighs like 300 pounds, so y'all can tell your wife no eye candy here. . .)

Russell is a guy who's life has come apart - fired from his job making cars one year before his pension kicks in, then kicks around trying to find work, fired from a stint as a taxi driver, wife leaves him and takes what little he has left, he's had enough. So he's on a rampage, letting off steam and looking for "death by cop." He starts out by breaking into his ex-wife's house at 4am, killing the new guy and the ex, then lighting the house on fire.

Rachel is a hairdresser getting divorced who can't get up in time to get her kids to school or to get to work on time, so her kid gets detention and she gets fired. She gets caught up in traffic behind Russell who fails to move at a green light, and she lays on her horn - not like "beep beep" (wake up), but "Blaaaaaaaaat, blaaaaaaat" (f*** you a**hole), 'cause she's had enough. That's it, now we're into a 90 minute chase scene as Russell is going to teach her some manners by killing everyone she loves.

It's a B movie, a kind of a second rate mix of falling down and gone in 60 seconds. But Russell Crowe is a fantastic actor and he makes the movie work. I found Russell unpredictable and the action exciting. The babe, Rachel - she's like "Don't get into the running car, let's hide behind the chain saws!" Her decisions range from bad to historically galactically bad, like, you know, "Let's just give back the plans to the death star, then that darth weirdo guy will stop chasing us." Like, she knows Russell is after her and her son, so she pulls her son out of the brick fortress school with cops everywhere and takes him on the run on the freeways. Trinity: "You always told me to stay off the freeway." Morpheus: "Yes, that's true." Trinity: "You said it was suicide." Morpheus: "Then let us hope that I was wrong."

Anyways, in spite of it's relatively low budget and excessively gratuitous violence, I liked it. Oh, heck, let's be honest, I probly liked it because of the excessively gratuitous violence.  It's been claimed that making The Blues Brothers kept Chrysler out of bankruptcy for an extra year. I dunno about that, but this movie ran through a bunch of cars too, at least as entertainingly as The Blues Brothers did.

Recommended.

*Not* a date night movie.

It's claimed that Russell put the weight on for the series The Loudest Voice, and he's embarrassed and wants to get back to fighting weight. Yah, well, Thor put on a bunch of weight but Chris Hemsworth still has a six pack. Hollywood can turn you into anything, you don't need krispy kremes and snickers to look fat in a movie.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2020, 05:28:35 PM by marklawrence »
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #544 on: November 27, 2020, 04:33:12 PM »
Falling Down - 1993

Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Rachel Ticotin, Barbara Hershey

Micheal Douglas is an aerospace engineer who gets divorced and fired. His charming ex-wife, Barbara Hershey, gets a restraining order on him 'cause even though he has never hit their daughter, nor her, she's just scared of him and thinks maybe he could. So he hasn't seen his daughter in over a year. He gets stuck in traffic on the Pasadena freeway, and gets disgusted and walks away from his car. He's decided he's going to walk to his daughter's birthday party, about a ten mile walk, screw the restraining order. Along the way he has a number of adventures which put him more and more over the edge. Robert Duvall is a police detective on his last day on the job, and he's the first to figure out that a bunch of seemingly random unrelated things are actually all Michael Douglass having a very very bad day. Michael busts up a korean market 'cause the guy is a complete jerk who won't make change for the pay phone; he gets accosted by a couple gang members who say he's trespassing; later the same gang members get a couple friends and try to kill him in a drive by shooting, where they hit about eight people, but not micheal, then crash their car. And his day gets weirder from there. And more violent.

Here's an interesting little factoid: if you take steel and bend it just a little bit, it springs back good as new. No change in atomic structure, no damage. This is why we make springs out of steel - they can do their spring thing forever. Iron is the only metal that can do this. If you take any other metal - aluminum, titanium, nickel, copper, whatever - and bent it just a little, it will spring back but there is permanent damage to the atomic structure. Even for a very tiny bend. Aluminum springs will eventually fail catastrophically.

Michael, like most of us, gets tested by his life. He's not made of steel, more like aluminum. He springs back for a while, but then fails catastrophically. This movie is about the day he fails. (Some people get born as like the daughters of billionaire hedge fund managers - their big life drama is whether they can use the gulf stream jet for their spring break in Aruba. By my standards they're not tested by life.)

Recommended. I really liked it. I showed it to a friend when it first came out - he had just been laid off. He loved it too. But lotsa violence, lotsa swearing, not at all a date night flick.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2020, 04:37:08 PM by marklawrence »
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Online ricky

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #545 on: November 27, 2020, 07:54:12 PM »
"Falling Down" is actually Douglas' favorite movie. He really liked the character, and the stresses of life finally wearing down the last remnants of civility. Though it's really far fetched (such as finding a bag of automatic weapons and ammo in the drive by car after it crashes), it also has some hilarious scenes- like when he orders a breakfast sandwich literally a couple of minutes after they stop serving breakfast, and goes a bit postal on the workers. A modern fairy tale with an ending the Grimm brothers would approve.
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #546 on: November 27, 2020, 09:46:30 PM »
You've Got Mail - 1998

Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks

Meg owns a small bookstore that she got from her mother. Tom is part of a family that owns a chain of bookstores - it's borders, but apparently they wouldn't pay up so the movie name is changed. Meg and Tom meet anonymously on AOL and send emails (word was AOL paid a small fortune to be such a huge part of this movie). Meanwhile, Tom's business is driving Meg out of business. Meg hates Tom irl, but falls in love with him on email. The plot follows pride and prejudice rather loosely, and the book is featured in the movie. The men in Tom's family are as dysfunctional in love as they are excellent in business (I can relate to this - I'm rather good at science, but this women thing. . .   I'm reminded of Peter O'Toole's line, "I could have conquered all of Europe!. . . .  but I had Women in my life!")

Rom com.

Highly recommended. Must see - it's part of the culture. For date night. You'll like it too. As an added bonus the men quote the Godfather frequently, to Meg's annoyance.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2020, 10:52:51 PM by marklawrence »
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Online ricky

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #547 on: November 28, 2020, 03:11:01 AM »
"Leave the gun; take the cannoli."
« Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 03:14:07 AM by ricky »
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #548 on: November 28, 2020, 09:37:30 PM »
Now You See Me - 2013

Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman

Four street magic performers suddenly find themselves with tarot cards that have an address and a time on the back - they're being invited to a meeting. They never meet the person who invites them, but they're set upon developing a new act, a new act in three parts. The act is entertaining in and of itself, but additionally it seems that the act is righting old wrongs. First they seem to rob a bank - in France - and teleport the money to Las Vegas, where it falls on the audience. Dropping 3 million Euros on a crowd will definitely make you popular. The FBI investigate, but they have a serious problem - to arrest the magicians they have to publicly state they believe in magic and teleportation. If they let the magicians go, then they're obviously not locking up the bad guys. Somewhere in there Morgan Freeman shows up. He's a magician turned magic debunker, sort of like James Randi. He explains to the FBI guy that there's several hundred thousand people who will attend magic shows, but there's about 3 million people who will buy DVDs showing how the magic works.

In act two the magicians seem to transfer $140 million from the bank account of a guy who owns an insurance company into the bank accounts of some people he had insured but refused to pay off. Now the magicians are getting seriously popular. And we start to wonder - who brought them together? What's the plan here? Why is this happening? This is not just a magic show and a crime movie, it's a mystery.

I really enjoyed it. You have to pay attention, it's one of those movies where the clues are not repeated so you better catch them the first time.

Recommended, and a good date night flick. Even though my girlfriend, a bit short on sleep and having spent all day working on her house - painting, yardwork, etc - fell asleep. She loves mysteries, so I'm going to credit her for liking this one in absentia.
These are the nine people whose votes will determine our next president. Your vote means nothing.