January 2017

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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford [2007]

Rotten Tomatoes = 76/75
Personal = 5.6

Despite it's fairly good reviews, I didn't get much in the way of entertainment watching an overly long biopic about a worthless coward surrounded by entirely unlikable characters. Photography was quite beautiful, though.

Reservoir Dogs [1992]

Rotten Tomatoes = 91 / 94
Personal = 9.4

Quentin Tarantino's first film is also his best film, imo. It's a wacky, amusing, controversial and brutal depiction of a jewelry heist gone terribly wrong with some of the most sociopathically, colorful characters you can imagine. Nobody makes movies like this. Don't miss it.

Husk [2011]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 26
Personal = 3.9

A car accident leaves a group of young adults stranded next to a corn field and then, one by one, they get turned into zombie scarecrows. OK, whatever ...the movie is about as ridiculous as the premise would appear to indicate.

Network [1976]

Rotten Tomatoes = 91 / 93
Personal = 10.0

My personal favorite film. No movie ever made - and possibly ever will be made - has this level of dialogue. A satirical look at the TV industry in the 70's, you'd think this film would be quite dated by now. But, ironically, this film has become far less satirical and far more real and frightening as time goes on. Absolutely brilliant filmmaking and a "must see" by everyone.

Taken [2008]

Rotten Tomatoes = 58 / 85
Personal = 8.2

"If you don't [let my daughter go], I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you". What a way to start a intense international chase across Europe as a man, with incredible skills, hunts down the kidnappers of his daughter. It's an action feast that just doesn't quit. Liam Neeson is great. Check it out!

Taken 2 [2012]

Rotten Tomatoes = 21 / 53
Personal = 7.8

More of the same as the first one except this time, our man-of-action and his wife are kidnapped by the father of one of the poor saps that was involved in his daughter's kidnapping in the first film. This time his daughter is helping him escape ...and then the war begins. An exciting and worthy sequel.

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight [1995]

Rotten Tomatoes = 35 / 65
Personal = 7.6

An entertaining and rather campy horror flick which is pretty much what you would expect as a Tale from the Crypt. Whole lot of gore, whole lot of gags, some very colorful characters ...and critters, and an excellent and amusing performance by Billy Zane. What's not to like?

Taken 3 [2014]

Rotten Tomatoes = 11 / 44
Personal = 7.2

His wife is killed and he's framed for her murder. That's a bad idea but then some people never learn. We're all used to the Taken style at this point and this one offers no real surprises but Liam Neeson (despite the fact that he's starting to show his age) and Forest Whitaker give excellent performances and overall it's certainly worth the ride.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron [2015]

Rotten Tomatoes = 75 / 83
Personal = 7.9

Just what you'd expect from a high action Marvel Comic adventure. Major special effects, well-developed story, fantastic action and a whole bunch of fun.

Contract Killers [2008]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 13
Personal = 4.0

Spy wants to go straight. Uh, huh. A Jason Bourne movie this certainly is not. A few good scenes and its abundance of mediocre action is not enough to pull this mess from it's pit of simplistic contrivances.

Major League [1989]

Rotten Tomatoes = 83 / 84
Personal = 7.8

Everybody's performance as dysfunctional baseball players in the Cleveland Indians organization is fantastic and side-splitting funny. The owner wants them to lose but they're going to make every effort to destroy her dreams. An absolute classic that is hilarious and entertaining even if you don't like baseball.

Hellraiser VI: Hellseeker [2002]

Rotten Tomatoes = 0 / 33
Personal = 5.7

The first time I saw this, I thought it was a rather lame addition to the Hellraiser universe. Upon revisiting it, my opinion has changed dramatically. I think my dislike of it the first time around was because it's basically one nightmare sequence after another without rime or reason. But on the second viewing, I've realized that once you know that the box has already been opened, it makes far more sense and the ending was appropriate. Not bad but it will probably need two viewings to fully get it.

Psycho II [1983]

Rotten Tomatoes = 59 / 53
Personal = 6.2

Released after 20 years in a psyche ward, Norman is all better now ..or is he? An above average example of not being able to run from your past with Anthony Perkins and Meg Tilly putting in excellent performances. Nice double twist ending, too. Not nearly of Alfred Hitchcock quality but a worthy sequel just the same.

Major League II [1994]

Rotten Tomatoes = 5 / 45
Personal = 6.0

I think the film got a bum rap, personally. Not as "laugh-out-loud" funny as the original but did anyone expect to be? You know, there are movies that are simply a real tough act to follow and we should keep that in mind going in. In this case, if you like the original, you'll probably like this one. Not as much but it's a worthy follow up good for a few laughs.

The Prophecy [1995]

Rotten Tomatoes = 43 / 64
Personal = 6.5

Your basic horror movie with strong, religious figures and a lot of prophetic stuff. Very entertaining with Christopher Walken and Viggo Mortensen putting in excellent performances but I didn't really see much new ground being broken here. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect.

Mafia! [1998]

Rotten Tomatoes = 14 / 47
Personal = 5.1

Airplane! style humor in this Godfather parody. Although there were a few "laugh-out-loud" moments - especially with Lloyd Bridges in one of the best roles I've seen him in - most of it was just silly ...and more in a groan way.

Unleashed [2005]

Rotten Tomatoes = 65 / 75
Personal = 5.0

Jet Li is a great martial artist but his portrayal of a man who's experiencing life and relationships for the first time, after having been kept in isolation most of his adult life, was just torturous. Although it got fairly good reviews, I found this film to be an extended exercise in patience. And I really hated Bob Hoskins' character in this film ...I'd cringe every time he came on screen.

The Abandoned [2006]

Rotten Tomatoes = 38 / 42
Personal = 4.9

Siblings revisit a childhood home in Russia to investigate the weird circumstances surrounding their childhood. The structure of the film was a bit disjointed and confusing so I was never really clear what was happening. There's a couple of good choice spooks but best to move on ...there's nothing else to see here.

The Deaths of Ian Stone [2007]

Rotten Tomatoes = 57 / 34
Personal = 6.2

Story about a guy who is killed everyday and when he wakes up, he's in a new reality. I was really diggin' this film. It had me thoroughly intrigued and waiting to see what would happen next. And then finally the secrets behind what's going on are revealed. That's when you're left with "Oh ...um ...OK. That's sort of a let down".

Green Zone [2010]

Rotten Tomatoes = 54 / 56
Personal = 5.8

A specialist crew is sent out to capture cache's of WMD's that never seem to be there. Everything about this movie - Matt Damon, the concept, the directing, the setting, etc. - should work quite while. But for some reason, it doesn't quite hit the spot. Not bad but the story is convoluted, and I question the motivation of half the people in the film. It had it's exciting moments but overall, not very satisfying.

The Punisher [1989]

Rotten Tomatoes = 28 / 32
Personal = 3.5

Dolph Lungren as the Punisher. 'nuff said.

Maniac [2012]

Rotten Tomatoes = 49 / 44
Personal = 3.5

Frodo! Say it ain't so!! Actually, far from being typecast, Elijah Wood has grabbed quite a variety of roles including this one as a totally psychopathic - but likable - manikin maker and does a fantastic job. Unfortunately, that's the only good thing about this dark and very uncomfortable remake of the 1980 film Maniac. Apparently, someone didn't think the original was bad enough.

Somebody Help Me [2007]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 62
Personal = 2.3

A story about incredibly stupid people doing incredibly stupid things. Even the officials, the psychos, and the trailer are stupid. What a stupid movie. ...and they made a sequel!!

Bullet to the Head [2012]

Rotten Tomatoes = 46 / 39
Personal = 5.7

If you like Sylvester Stallone, you'll probably like this hitman / cop buddy movie. A few good action scenes, some interesting character moments, I found it entertaining despite it being pretty run-of-the-mill.

Jamaica Inn [1939]

Rotten Tomatoes = 55 / 36
Personal = 5.4

The Jamaica Inn is a headquarters for pirates who draw ships into the shore during storms and raid them. It was difficult to enjoy this film as the characters - especially Charles Laughton - were stereotypically over-the-top, obnoxious, and pretty unlikable. In fact, the whole film has a rather rushed, chaotic quality about it. Not a bad movie, just nerve wracking.

Feast III: The Happy Finish [2009]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 29
Personal = 5.0

Typical Feast movie with lots of campy gore and bloodshed so if you enjoyed the first two, you'll like this one. Biggest problem is that 50-60% of the movie was filmed in storm drains. DARK!! Can barely see anything.

Ringu [1998]

Rotten Tomatoes = 97 / 81
Personal = 6.5

The Japanese film that inspired a franchise in both the U.S. and Japan. Watch a tape, die in 7 days. This Japanese version struck me as rather slow with only a few creepy moments. See the U.S. remake, The Ring.

Monster Man [2003]

Rotten Tomatoes = 60 / 49
Personal = 4.0

I'm surpised this film got as good ratings as it did. This is a ridiculous movie about a psycho who uses a monster truck to terrorize a couple of morons who wouldn't know a good line if it slapped them in the face. The guy on a slab near the end of the movie gave me a couple chuckles and it's the only thing that saved this film from being total crap.

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