Friday, December 30, 2016

Movie Summaries from 2016

8 years of reviews
This last year I probably watched twice as many movies as I did in 2015 thanks to Vidangel. They also just had their site shut down this week due to lawsuits from big movie studios. Anyway I have loved their service and hope they can work the legal issues out and get some kind of editing service going again in the future. There are many rated R movies that look appealing but I don't want to sit through 50 F-bombs and other questionable content when I watch a movie so until they come back you wont be seeing any rated R movie reviews.

Here is the summary for the movies I that came out in 2016 ranked from best to worst.

Rogue One -8.3
The Force Awakens 8.2
Arrival 8.0
Captain America Civil War 7.9
The Jungle Book 7.9
Doctor Strange 7.8
Bridge of Spies 7.8
Sully- 7.7
Batman vs. Superman 7.4
Spectre 7.3
Inside Out 7.3
Creed 7.3
X-Men: Apocalypse  7.2
Jason Bourne 7.1
Antman 7.1
The Intern 7.0
Legend of Tarzan 6.8
Star Trek 6.8
The Shallows 6.8
Central Intelligence 6.7
Ben Hur 6.6
Suicide Squad 6.5
Hail Cesar 6.5
War Craft 6.2
The Fifth Wave 5.9

Edited Movies Watched on Vidangel during 2016  (some of these are older movies)
Gone Girl 8.4
Inglourious Basterds 8.3
Django Unchained 8.2
The Kingdom 8.0
Sicario 8.0
Shaun of the Dead 8.0
No Country for Old Men 7.9
The Butterfly Effect 7.9
The Revenant 7.8
28 Days Later 7.8
Gran Torino 7.8
Kingsman: The Secret Service 7.8
Ex Machina 7.7
Lone Survivor 7.7
Looper 7.7
13 Hours 7.6
District 9  7.6
Cloud Atlas 7.5
Equalizer 7.5
The Gift 7.5
Drive 7.5
Spy 7.4
10 Cloverfield Lane 7.4
127 Hours 7.4
Prometheus 7.3
Southpaw 7.3
Zombieland 7.3
John Wick 7.2
Snowpiercer 7.2
Shooter 7.0
Safe House 7.0
28 Weeks Later 7.0
Safe House 7.0
Horrible Bosses 6.9
Focus 6.9
Book of Eli 6.8
Elysium 6.7
Olympus Has Fallen 6.7
Lucy 6.6
London Has Fallen 6.4
Escape Plan 6.1

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

When I originally heard about this new Star Wars installment over a year ago I was a little cynical and thought it would not fit in well with the other movies. I was wrong. I loved Rogue One and and would actually say it is the best Star Wars film to come out since The Return of the Jedi. I also enjoyed The Force Awakens last year, but Rogue One slightly edged it out.

What I liked about this movie: (Spoiler Alerts)

*The gritty battle scene when the rebels attacked the tank in town.
*How the movie started slow and kept building until the intense final battle scene.
* The special effects were amazing.
*The awesome Imperial siren noise on the Death Star.
*Having much of the movie in desert and tropical environments instead of just in space.
*K-2SO provided the perfect amount of subtle humor.
*Orson Krennic was a great villain and it was nice to have multiple bad guys to worry about.
*Darth Vader has his own refreshing Bacta Tank.
* I liked how nicely it fit in with the other films.
*There were so many little easter eggs and little details from the time period of a New Hope that I appreciated seeing again. It was like a happy reunion.
*There were no Ewoks, purple elephants playing instruments, or Jar Jar in this movie. It had a much more realistic feel to it.

What I didn't like quite so much:

*Forest Whitaker is a good actor but I'm seeing him in too many movies lately. He is giving Samuel Jackson a run for his money.
*I think Felicity Jones did a good job as Jeyn Erso, but I liked Daisy Ridley as Rey in last year's movie just a little bit more.
*I liked Donnie Yen's character but I didn't buy him taking out so many storm troopers in armor just by whacking them with a wooden staff.

Overall it was a nice "inbetweenquel." I give Rogue One 8.3 stars.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

More Movie Reviews

These movie summaries resemble Tweets more than they do reviews but you get what you pay for.

Arrival- I really liked this movie and it was a thinking movie on par with Interstellar. I give it 8.0 stars since it was quite intense and well done.

Doctor Strange- When I saw the trailer I thought it looked so dumb but I really enjoyed it. I liked the emphasis on the power of Zen and Eastern philosophy instead of just seeing strength or speed in a super hero. 7.8 Stars.

Warcraft- All I can say is it is based off of a video game. It had good special effects and action but I just was not engaged at all while watching it. Something was missing for me so I only gave it 6.2 stars.

Star Trek Beyond- A decent Star Trek movie but not too memorable. 6.8.

Jason Bourne- When I saw the trailer I was rolling my eyes that I had seen every single scene multiple times in the prior movies but it was much  better than I expected. 7.1.

Sully- Great performance by Tom Hanks of an amazing true story. There was even a cameo by Clint Eastwood via a movie sign in Time Square for Gran Torino. I give it 7.7 stars.

Southpaw- I really liked Jake Gyllenhaal's performance of a troubled boxer and give it 7.3.

The Intern- I thought this was actually a pleasant little movie with several nice messages. 7.0.

Here are some older movie summaries I caught edited on Vidangel over the last few months.

Cloud Atlas- Pretty intense and complicated. It took me a while to finish it but I liked it. 7.5 stars.

Shooter- This was a decent action movie and I always enjoy watching a movie about someone who was framed clearing their name and getting revenge. 7.0 stars

Gone Girl- Very suspenseful and well done thriller. I easily give it 8.4 stars.

Shaun of the Dead- Very funny and enjoyable movie in the zombie genre. 8.0 stars

Inglourious Basterds- The suspense and tension in the beginning interrogation scene with Christoph Waltz blew me away. I give it 8.3 stars.

Django Unchained- Very entertaining with great performances. A little too gritty for my taste even though it was edited but I still really liked it.  8.2 stars.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Shallows

The Shallows is the younger generation's version of Jaws. This movie is about a woman who goes on vacation to a secluded beach in Mexico to surf and to take a break from her problems. The morning she is headed to the beach, her friend flakes on her so she ends up breaking the buddy system rule and surfs alone. She is having a good time until she wipes out, is cut up on some coral, and is then bitten on the leg by a shark. She quickly swims to a nearby rock formation where she is protected from the shark while the tide is low.

She is injured badly but uses her nursing skills to stop the bleeding. She is only 200 yards from shore but can not make the swim to safety since she is continually being watched and stalked by a persistent, huge shark.

This movie was entertaining but kind of fake. Her leg would have been gone had a shark that big taken a bite out of her but I am not one to wish anyone to lose a leg so I'll give it 6.8 stars.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

19 Movie Reviews

Where else on the Internet can you get 19 movie reviews in one post? I have not updated any of my movie "reviews" for a couple months. I should actually call them ratings since I am too lazy and far behind to do an actual review. Here goes the briefest of summaries. Just pay attention to the score.

Creed- It was pretty good. I give props to Stalone for allowing someone else to finally be the main character in the Rocky universe. I give it 7.3

Bridge of Spies- Very good spy thriller.  It relies on suspense more than action. Tom Hanks can do no wrong. 7.8

The Fifth Wave- Teenage science fiction. Better than I expected when it started but then it dropped off quickly.  5.9

Central Intelligence- It had some funny parts but I didn't like the Rock in this quite as much as I have in his other stuff. 6.7

The Legend of Tarzan- Pretty decent Tarzan adaptation but I only give it 6.8

Suicide Squad- Entertaining but there were several things I didn't like about it. 3 or 4 characters carried the show, the rest were just filler. 6.5

Ben Hur- The original is one of my favorite movies and one of the greatest movies of all time so I was expecting a crapfest with this remake. It took a bit of a different direction with many artistic liberties, but it was much better than I thought it would be. I'm shocked that I'm giving it 6.6 stars.

Thanks to VidAngel I have caught up on a bunch of rated R movies I had not seen before. Some of these movies are current but many came out years ago.

10 Cloverfield Lane- Suspenseful. John Goodman had a great performance. It was better before the aliens appeared. 7.4

The Revenant- Very intense and grizzly. 7.8

Gran Torino- I love Clint Eastwood's work but I was expecting more from all the hype I had heard over the years but it was still very good. 7.8

The Kingdom- I really liked this suspenseful war movie about the middle east and terrorism. I was captivated the whole time. 8.0 stars.

127 Hours- I had heard about the true story this was based on so I was looking forward to it. Good acting by James Franco but it was kind of hard to watch. 7.4

The Butterfly Effect- I like most movies involving time travel and do overs. It's not a pick me up movie but had some good stuff in it. 7.9

District 9- Kind of depressing science fiction especially for someone who thought we were mean to E.T. back in the 80's. 7.6

London Has Fallen- Totally fake action movie but still entertaining. 6.4

Safe House- Is Denzel Washington a good guy or bad guy? 7.0

Looper- Again I have to give time travel extra points. It stretches your mind 7.7

John Wick- Extremely violent but pretty well done. 7.2

28 Days Later- I got into this Zombie movie 7.8

Escape Plan- I fell asleep watching it 6.1

13 Hours: The Soldiers of Benghazi- Pretty Intense. It was good to see Jim and Roy from The Office Reunited.  7.6 stars.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Captain America vs. X-Men

Several months ago I saw Captain America: Civil War as well as X-Men: Apocalypse. Here are some of my thoughts on the two movies.

Both movies are about superheroes and super villains who have powers we will never have so that is kind of depressing to start off with. When Hollywood actors prepare for roles in a movie these days they get in way better shape than most people ever will so that is also depressing for most of us. When they finish the movie many of these actors drop the chicken breast and broccoli diet and stop working out 4 hours a day like they have been for the past 9 months and then they look like they did before. That is probably depressing for them. I didn't mean for this review to be so depressing so I will address something else.

Both movies have a familiar theme of friends fighting against each other much like Superman vs. Batman did. I hate seeing good guys fight each other. It breaks my heart and is actually a little depressing.

In summary, I give the latest Captain America 7.9 stars and X-Men 7.2 stars. If you want more details or something of actual substance then you should probably go see the actual movies instead of just relying on my crappy reviews.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Batman vs. Superman and The Jungle Book

Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice

I've had mixed feelings about this movie while I have anticipated it's release over the last year. I'm not a comic book geek so the concept of two good superheroes fighting each other was a little foreign to me and I felt like a parent watching two of my kids fight. The critics blasted this movie and I was shocked to see it only got 28% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes but those who understand the comic book history and details really liked it. I especially liked the first half of the movie and felt Ben Affleck was much better than I thought he would be as Batman. The movie got a little out of control at the end but it was still good and fun to get some Wonder Woman, Aqua Man, Flash teasers in the film. If you like action and comic books you will like the movie, If not you may be confused and overwhelmed.

I give it 7.4 stars.

The Jungle Book

I was very pleasantly surprised at how well done The Jungle Book was. It paid homage to the original Disney animated version quite well while still maintaining a realistic gritty feel. There were only two occasions where the characters broke into song but it was definitely not a musical. I didn't feel like I was watching a movie for kids and the lead kid who plays Mowgli did a good job and was not too cute.  The special effects were amazing and all I can say is that CG has come a long way since Jumanji. The voice talents of the cast were well done and I am impressed with John Favreau as a director. I haven't seen a film that entertaining that the whole family could enjoy for a very long time. It's worth the visual effects alone.

I give The Jungle Book a solid 7.9 stars.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ghostbusters Remake

Earlier this year I heard that there was going to be a Ghost Busters remake, reboot, or sequel or whatever with a female cast. I think it is hard to compete against Bill Murray and the original gang but I was open minded and was looking forward to the idea until I saw the trailer this week.

I hate to judge a book by it's cover, but that movie looks horrible and not very funny, which is a shame since there are some funny women in the cast. I hope it doesn't suck as bad as it looks like it will.

Monday, February 29, 2016

More VidAngel movie reviews

Over the last month I have continued watching movies on VidAngel and I love their service. They have a better selection than Netflix and it costs less than Redbox and you can edit your movies. Here is my my brief summaries on the most recent movies I've finally gotten around to watching.

Ant-man- I really didn't want to see this and thought the preview looked lame. It is not one of the stronger Marvel movies but I liked it more than anticipated thanks to Paul Rudd and the comedic element. I give it 7.1 stars.

Zombieland- As the title suggests, it's a Zombie Horror movie with a comedic twist. It reminded me of a mix between The Walking Dead and Scot Pilgrim vs. the World. I enjoyed it. 7.3 brains.

The Gift- This was a great suspense thriller about a creepy stalker, It was a little odd to see Jason Bateman in a role that had no comedy. There were several twists throughout the movie. It was also directed by Joel Edgerton who stars as Gordo the antagonist.. I give it 7.5 stalkers

Drive- A slow but gritty story of a stunt driver who gets tangled up driving for the mob.His life gets further complicated when he gets involved with the wife on an ex con who he tries to help. It is a drama/action movie in slow motion. I give it 7.5 tire squeals.

Horrible Bosses- This was extremely dirty and crude (and I was watching the PG-13 version) but it is also incredibly funny. I'm not sure how much credit to give the writers and how much to give the hilarious cast, but I laughed a lot. I give it 6.9 harassment filings.

No Country For Old Men- Not a pick me up Cohen Brothers movie. It has minimal quirkiness you might expect from them and was surprisingly violent and suspenseful. Well done and very intense. I give it 7.9 briefcases of cash.

Olympus Has Fallen- Better than I expected for a totally fake action movie but it was still entertaining You might like this if you enjoyed watching Furious 7 or Michael Bay movies. If you suspend your sense of reality it is alright. I give it  6.7 secret service agents.

Sicario- Very intense, realistic portrayal of the fight against drug lords. Emily Blunt plays an FBI agent who is thrust into a mysterious government military mission where she is kept in the dark for most of it. Great performances by the entire cast and very well done. I give it 8.0 severed heads.

Lucy- Had some great potential. The concept reminded me of Limitless which I really liked. I knew it got bad reviews but still kind of enjoyed it.seeing Scarlet Johansson beat up on bad guys and become more powerful as she was able to utilize all of her brain's capacity.. I give it 6.6 Morgan Freeman narratives.

Focus- A movie about con artists which glamorizes the life of crime as long as you are stealing from mean people. It reminded me of a modern day version of The Sting and was pretty good but Margot Robie is prettier than Paul Newman.. It had some nice twists in it and I give it 6.9 pickpockets.

Snowpiercer- A post Apocalyptic Sci Fi movie staring Chris Evans about a train that travels in a continual loop around the world. The passengers at the back of the train are slaves and those at the front lead a life of luxury. The slaves try to  revolt and take over the train. It's kind of like the class warfare on an airplane between coach and first class but on steroids. There are many twists and surprises throughout the movie. I thought it was an original movie. I give it 7.2 protein blocks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hail Cesar

I recently saw Hail Cesar and am still trying to decide if I liked it or not. The movie takes place in the early 50's on the set of a big Hollywood movie studio. The film pays homage to Westerns, musicals, and epic dramas like Ben Hur. As I watched many of the scenes I couldn't help but think how my parents and older audiences would enjoy the tribute to the golden age of Hollywood.

I didn't know much about this movie before seeing it. The trailer briefly shows a movie star being kidnapped and held for ransom and it looked kind of funny.When I saw that it was a Cohen movie I was thinking along the lines of Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Raising Arizona, True Grit, Fargo, The Hudsucker Proxy, etc., but this movie seemed to lack some of the usual quirkiness and humor we've seen in other Cohen movies.

The entire cast was talented but I really liked Josh Brolin's performance as Mannix, the busy Hollywood executive who is swamped the entire movie trying to clean up messes and juggle responsibilities. I'm not sure why Jonah Hill got top billing on the poster with the others since his scene was more of a cameo. It kind of reminded me of how much screen time Mark Hammil got in the recent Star Wars film.

Hail Cesar had some entertaining parts, good performances, and nice tributes, but it just didn't seem to go anywhere or wrap things up at the end. This movie addressed such topics as capitalism, communism, Christianity, Hollywood, tabloids, etc. but I was never sure what was satire and what was not. I'm not sure what the movie's message was supposed to be so it kept me wondering about it long after the movie was over but not in a good way like you do with Inception or Intersteller.

For confusing me more than entertaining me I only give it 6.5 stars....I think?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars came out nearly two months ago and I still have not written my review. I previously wrote a generic prank review back in November based on the movie trailers but failed to publish it so it is not relevant anymore and the joke is on me. The truth of the matter is you don't need my opinion for the most anticipated movie of all time. As of today it has made over 900 million dollars in the US and dethroned Avatar as the top domestic money making movie.

Star Wars was really good. Some people criticized the fact it re-hashed similar themes and concepts from the original movie like family drama, a droid keeping secret plans, a young character learning to use the force, a star killer that destroys other planets, a masked villain, etc. but I didn't mind those similarities.

I view this movie as a reboot for the younger generation and making things right with the fans after the last 3 prequel movies. It was fun to see the veterans from the first movies on screen with a new generation of characters. J.J. Abrams did a great job. I enjoyed all the performances and was entertained both times I saw it. I'm looking forward to seeing the future movies and am glad the series has been revived.. I give The Force Awakens 8.2 stars.

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.
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