Sunday, January 17, 2016

VidAngel Movies

Since I was a teenager I have avoided rated R shows for personal reasons. I've made a few exceptions over the years but generally I don't watch R movies. This has been hard since some of my favorite movies are rated R and I also acknowledge that many of the best films of all time have an R rating. This has also been hard since I am a world renowned movie critic and it eliminates a good portion of the movies I can review on this blog.

Over the years I've seen some rated R movies that were edited for TV. Years ago I enjoyed renting videos from companies that edited offensive content from movies and I saw a ton of edited R movies I had not seen before. Eventually these rental companies were shut down for copyright issues and since that time I have seen many trailers for movies I thought looked good but did not watch due to the rating. I was very pleased last year when I heard about VidAngel which is a company that edits movies and has found a way to avoid the copyright concerns since they technically sell you the entire edited video for $20 in streaming version with the settings you choose and then they buy it back for $19 when you are done watching it so it is a net $1 purchase. Here is a link to their site:
VidAngel Site

VidAngel allows you to block a variety of things from movies to varying degrees including violence, disturbing images, profanity, sex, nudity, etc. I am grateful for this service but also have mixed feelings. I am a little reluctant to recommend movies I have seen edited since I am oblivious to quite a bit of content that may be in the original version. I'd hate to tell someone a show is so good and uplifting when they may rent the same show and sit through disturbing images, gratuitous sex, and 50 F-bombs I didn't even know existed in the show.

Anyway I just wanted to give a quick update of some of the movies I've seen over the last couple months with this service. These are just very brief rating summaries as opposed to full reviews.

Kingsman: The Secret Service- 7.8- This was a fun take on the British spy industry. It drew on many bond references but was original and funny.
Ex Machina- 7.7- Very suspenseful and well done. There are only a handful of characters but their performances are well done. It is slow paced but it keeps you second guessing the entire film.
Elysium- 6.5- I loved the premise and thought the trailer looked good but it didn't really deliver. I actually fell asleep towards the end. Sorry.
The Equilizer- 7.5- You gotta love Denzel when he's on a justice rampage. It's similar in many ways to Man on Fire. Some cheesy stuff at home depot at the end but I liked it.
Mad Max: Fury Road- 8.3- One of the most visually striking movies I've ever seen. I was captivated the entire movie. Better than the originals.
The Book of Eli- 6.8- This post apocalyptic movie is about a man who journeys across American while trying to protect a mysterious book. It was dark but entertaining.
Spy-7.4- Most of the dialogue was blanked out due to language for Jason Statham's character. Melissa McArthy was great in this. I laughed hard throughout the entire movie.
Lone Survivor- 7.7- Great true story about Marcus Luttrell and his team of Navy Seals who's mission went south. Very gritty and intense. Not a pick me up movie as the title suggests.
Prometheus- 7.3- I love most anything from Ridley Scott. This is actually a prequel to Alien. Critics picked it apart but I really liked it even though some parts were confusing at times.

I'm glad this edited video service exists and it is a killer deal. Even if you just want to rent a PG or PG-13 movie you can still edit content and watch a movie for less than a Redbox rental with a better selection and you don't need to drive anywhere to return it after. I love VidAngel. Check out their link above to see more.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Inside Out

I recently took my kids to see Inside Out and they really liked it. For a kid it might be kind of complicated like Inception. I thought it was a "cute" movie. It was creative but there was also more animation than I usually care for. The movie highlights how different emotions take over our thinking and moods at different times during life. There are also some "touching" scenes kind of like there was in the movie Up.

Right now my tired emotion is at the helm of my brain so I will make this short and I also don't want to type any more quotations marks around words I am not comfortable saying. I give Inside Out 7.3 stars. Some fans of the movie might think that is a low rating but as a grown man there is no way I can give it a better rating than James Bond.

P.S.- It should not be confused with these movies.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


It's been a big year for spy movies and I have been looking forward to king of them all for quite some time. I saw Spectre on opening night and overall I enjoyed it.. The movie picked up where Skyfall dropped off. with the customary exciting opening sequence which takes place in Mexico. Daniel Craig is back again as 007 and I am liking him more and more as James Bond. I know  some people have complained that they don't get enough sophistication and gadgets from Craig's Bond, but I like a more physical,  human, and realistic hero. I also don't miss all the lame puns that Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan were subjected to.

The latest installment is also directed by Sam Mendes and I like his style. I also like the supporting cast of M, Q, and Moneypenny. The movie deals with 007 discovering a secret organization called Spectre and it shows how they were behind the villains of the prior three movies. It also offers more insights to Bond's upbringing. I believe this is the longest Bond movie to date and some parts slow down a little but I didn't really mind that.

The villain Blofeld is played well by Christopher Waltz and his henchman Mr. Hinx is played by Dave Bautista. He's not as intimidating as Jaws but he reminds me of him since he only utters one word during the entire movie.

This isn't the best Bond but it's better than most. I'd rank it behind Casino Royale but it is much better than Quantum of Solace and is on par with Skyfall. I give it 7.4 stars.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

7th Year Anniversary Review Summary

It has now been 7 years since I started my movie blog. As is customary I am including a summary of the movies I have seen in the last year. I acknowledge that I don't have a full review for some of the movies listed below but what do you expect from someone who did half of these reviews in Haiku form? I have given you my final rating which is all that really matters.

Interstellar- 8.4
Mad Max: Fury Road- 8.3
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation- 8.2
The Martian- 8.1
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.- 7.8
Hobbit: The Battle of 5 Armies-7.7
Avengers: Age of Ultron-7.5
Cinderella- 7.4
McFarland USA- 7.3
Jurrasic World- 7.2
Furious 7- 7.1
Generation Iron-7.0
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials- 7.0
Mockingjay Part 1- 7.0
Hercules- 6.7
Taken 3- 6.4
San Andreas- 6.3
Jupiter Ascending- 6.2
Exodus: Gods and Kings-6.1

At a glance this can tell you if watching a particular movie or renting the video is worth your time or not. I am getting more selective so if a movie got horrible reviews I won't waste my time watching it which is why you don't see any reviews under 6.0. In the future you can expect more thorough reviews from me starting with Spectre which I am looking forward to seeing next week in the theatre. Yes I intentionally spelled it the British way in honor of James Bond.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Past Due Movie Reviews

I am way behind on reviews so as usual here are some very short movie summaries.

Exodus: God and Kings- I was hoping for much more from this movie since I usually love almost anything that Ridley Scott directs. It had good visuals and was an interesting take on the story of Moses, but it just came off a little flat. It had an interesting portrayal of God and sort of offers a explanations to all of the miracles Moses did in Egypt. It was however, much better and less offensive to believers than the Noah movie that came out last year was. I give it 6.1 stars.

Generation Iron- This is a bodybuilding documentary about the most recent competitors in the Mr. Olympia Contest. It is a modern day version of the 1977 film Pumping Iron. It follows the top 8 participants but ultimately boils down to Kai Greene and the returning champion Phil Heath. I was entertained by the different personalities, determination, and interactions between each bodybuilder. You don't need to be a bodybuilding enthusiast to enjoy this documentary. I give it 7.0 stars.

Avengers: Age of Ultron- This is the sequel to the first Avengers movie and includes a huge cast of super heroes and villains. It is very entertaining and has plenty of action, twists, and humor. If you liked the first Avengers movie than you will like this one too. Good to know since you probably already saw it since it came out a long time ago. I give it 7.5 stars.

Cinderella- I couple months ago I did something I hadn't done in about 10 years. I took my entire family to a movie. We saw Cinderella and I would never have watched it had it not been for all my kids but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It is a nice adaption of the story without any animation. I'm a tough guy and movies about princesses are not my thing, but it was a great family movie and they did a good job with the story. I give it 7.4 stars.

McFarland USA- This is a movie based on a true story about a coach who starts up a Cross Country team in California. His students are Mexican immigrants who spend the morning picking agriculture with their families as a regular job before they are able to go to school. Despite their busy schedules and lack of competitive running experience they develop a championship team. The film is just as much about prejudice and racial issues as it is about sports. It is a bit formulaic but it was good. The best part was the end when it gave real life updates about the runners and showed how many of them were able to get college degrees as a result of running. I give it 7.3 stars.

San Andreas- This is a disaster movie staring Dwayne Johnson "The Rock". He works as a rescue helicopter pilot and the movie shows his efforts as he attempts to find and save his family after a massive earthquake destroys many California cities. The special effects were entertaining but it is not great movie. Johnson is good as always but there is just so much fake stuff that it's hard to believe or get into. My biggest dislike was the English character and his side kick little brother. If you want to see a disaster movie it's entertaining but it's not great. I gave it 6.3 stars.
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