The A-Team is a lot better than I expected. It's a fun and pretty funny summer movie that will definitely appeal to most boys. I think it was done in by its marketing. They tried to associate it with the old TV show and they shouldn't have—it's a lot cooler and funnier than that.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
This is a stunning-looking film, but unlike, say, "300", the stylization doesn't have enough to do with the story and the actors get lost or at least play second fiddle to the art direction. Could have/should have been funnier. Not bad though.
Act of Valor
Take note Hollywood: the American soldiers portrayed here protect your right to order something veggie-oriented and a little frou-frou at Ivy and to drive smart cars and Bentleys. And I'm no red-meat yahoo, either. An exciting movie that has its heart in the right place.
I'm going to break this down into two semesters. The first semester (first half of the movie) I'd give an A. Terrific use of Tina Fey, nice set pieces. But the second semester gets a C. The movie just didn't hold together as well as I would have hoped.
Alita: Battle Angel
This one really surprised me. It might be the best dystopian flick since Hunger Games - until it kind of crashes in the last five minutes. A-
All the Money in the World
83-year-old Christopher Plummer is amazing! Otherwise, kind of a bore. Well-shot, though. Go Ridley! B-
I really liked the first 15 minutes or so – but then the flick got lazy/silly. B-
There are some very positive things about this movie — terrific performances by Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe; a dramatic story filled with irony and action. It did raise some questions for me, however. What is the difference between homage to past gangster films, and plagiarism? Why include the statistic that 30% of combat troops in Vietnam were using hard drugs, when we know now that isn't the case? Is it fair to suggest that cops and criminals are merely different sides of the same coin?
Surprising, enjoyable, but way, way, way, way, way too long. B
Hey, I like Tom Cruise and I also like director Doug Liman’s movies. My problem with American Made is that I’ve seen way too many flicks featuring knuckleheads getting rich on drug money. This is a bigger story than that, but still, that’s what’s featured on the big screen. B
Angels & Demons
It should be obvious that I like preposterous stories—up to a point. Angels & Demons will really test your willingness to suspend your disbelief. And still—the last half is exciting. And the final ten minutes are quite satisfying.
A curiosity about Shakespeare is that even though there are hundreds of books about him, virtually nothing is actually known about the man. We know he was born. We know he had a wife and daughter. And that's about it. Shakespeare scholars are up in arms because this film makes the claim he didn't write any of the plays. That's an interesting what-if proposition for a mystery, but ultimately we'll never know. And, from my point of view, who cares. The plays are great no matter who wrote them.
The movie even goes a step further, and portrays Shakespeare as a drunken lout who never learned to write his own name. There's no way this could be substantiated on an historical basis, either. So, all that to say, everybody's full of baloney—the scholars and the movie-makers.
The film itself? You won't be bored.
I really loved this movie until the final twenty minutes or so. The emotional thrust remained honest and true, but I felt the storytelling flagged just a little. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen are really terrific in their parts (but it is a cowboy movie).
A quiet little gem (actually a silent gem). A very humorous thing given that it is a silent movie—is that the three people sitting behind us ate potato chips for an hour straight. We felt like we were in one of those Sid Caesar skits.
Once again, the book beats the movie. The first third or so is absolutely terrific. The art direction in particular is stunning. I haven't seen so many beautiful frames since Barry Lyndon. Once the story turns to war, the art direction felt forced and false to me.
If you've never understood the appeal of the best videogames, you will after seeing Avatar. It raises the bar for all future movies that employ CGI special effects with a seamless interaction of computer animation and live action sequences. And the 3D experience is quite exciting for a visually stunning film like this. Usually I don't care for political messages in entertainment films, but James Cameron manages to make a wry and witty statement about the global political and technological turmoil we are all feeling. This film will make more than $1 Billion in worldwide Box Office...it was worth my $13 (x2—Jack loved it!).
The Avengers: Endgame
Okay. I stayed for the whole thing, the entire three hours, and found the flick entertaining and imaginative. But I do get a kick out of our cultural leaders blathering about movies like this as if they are significant in some way. It escapes me. Basically, a lot of humans (diverse) saw things in the usual way: violent war! B+
Avengers: Infinity War
I’m not a big comic-book-movies fan, but the story in Infinity War keeps bubbling along and you stay involved. I was a much bigger fan of BLACK PANTHER – which really separated itself with its morality and ethics. I wish these movies could entertain and give us something to think about. B