February 2019

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The Darkest Minds [2018]


      
Rotten Tomatoes = 17 / 74
Personal = 6.1

Updated Dec 12, 2019
A disease either kills or mutates children with various powers. 4 of these children escape the government built concentration camps and try to find sanctuary. This film is stringently targeted towards a teen and young adult audience with far more melodrama and personal relationship stuff and not so much on the children's abilities or thrills. This film is going to be liked by most and it is a good film. It's just not my cup of tea and I felt the ending was rather sad and downbeat considering what they had to go through.

Believer [2018]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 81 / 62
Personal = 7.0

Updated Nov 8, 2019
An obsessed task force commander forces a survivor of an explosion to help him find a Mr. Lee, a faceless and illusive drug lord. Excellent story involving some very interesting characters. Not so much an action thriller as it is a drama with some good action sequences, shootouts, and choreographed fights. The ending is about as ambiguous as it gets and, taken in context with the rest of the film, you'll either love it or hate it. I'm still sitting on the fence, myself, but it's a very good film.

Backtrace [2018]


           
Rotten Tomatoes = 11 / 24
Personal = 4.5

Links Updated 7/14/19
Of the 3 men who robbed a bank and hid the money, two are killed and one suffered a shot to the head that left him with no memory. This movie is just bland. The opening shootout was exciting but that was the highlight of the film. The rest is just people going through the motions of a weak script and lifeless directing. The climax was just everyone running around shooting guns with few stunts and no choreography or pizzazz. Sylvester's role was limited to walking around and looking busy until he had to shoot someone.

Hellgate [2011]

aka Shadows

   
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 13
Personal = 5.0

Updated 8/31/19
After losing his wife and son in an auto accident, a man wakes up after 5 weeks in a coma, from said accident, and finds that he can now see dead people and malicious demons / dwarves / nasty little red things. The beginning caught my interest, prompting me to see where this goes, and the pacing was good, increasingly nightmarish scenarios leading to a climax. However, that climax was mediocre at best and rather silly rendering the whole film rather ho hum. Heavy reliance on the demon dwarves and little else got old.

Mile 22 [2018]


         
         
Rotten Tomatoes = 23 / 44
Personal = 8.3

Updated Dec 12, 2019
A local policeman, who defects to the US Embassy, holds the secret to where stashes of Cesium-129 are hidden but will only reveal them if they get him out of the country. Holy cow, what an adrenaline rush! Reminiscent of The Raid and BuyBust, once things get going, it's a non-stop roller coaster ride of action that is superbly choreographed and intensely realistic at the same time. Although his character got a bit much sometimes, Mark Wahlberg is excellent as the nearly psychotic group leader who thrives in chaos.

Bedeviled [2016]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 20
Personal = 6.7

Updated Oct 23, 2019
After a friends mysterious death, 5 students download a phone app that opens a door for a malicious being. This film is just plain fun! It never really provides the exposition to clearly describe what's happening and the tricks they try at the end to resolve the problem went over my head ...not to mention a couple of serious plot holes. But the characters were real and intelligent, they behaved exactly like you'd expect them to, and the highlight of the film, Mr. Bedeviled, was nothing short of supreme entertainment. Guilty favorite.

The Messengers [2007]


            
Rotten Tomatoes = 12 / 44
Personal = 5.9

Updated Dec 12, 2019
As far as I can tell, this movie has nothing to do with messengers. A family buys a new home (haunted, of course) in the country to farm sunflowers. I find it amazing in the movie world how ghosts tend to haunt just one or two victims and everyone else thinks the victim is crazy. So, I had to sit through that as well as a pretty basic haunt film. Some well done scare tactics with long, rather dull, scenes in between. Not a bad film ...it just doesn't give us anything beyond what we'd expect or any real surprises.

Polar [2019]


            
Rotten Tomatoes = 20 / 65
Personal = 6.3

Links Updated Oct 12, 2019
An agency's best hit man is retiring in two weeks so the head of the agency's put out a contract on him so he doesn't have to pay his $8mil pension. There were things I loved and there were things I hated. The main character, the hit squad that's after him, the action sequences, were all colorful and exciting. I enjoyed the black humor, as well. However, I hated Mr. Blut, the main antagonist and I simply didn't want to watch him. Also, the subplot with the neighbor girl was well done but it felt like it belonged in a different movie.

Counterfeiters [2017]


   
Rotten Tomatoes = 60 / 90
Personal = 4.0

Updated Oct 4, 2019
A young man decides to counterfeit money to pay for his mother's medical bills. Perhaps a noble intent but both him, and those he surrounds himself with, are all unlikable nincompoops. Most of the film is presented in semi-real time over the course of an evening which means we must sit through every word of every conversation, go everywhere he goes, scene after scene of non-stop banality until we finally get down to the big finale by which time I was so unemphatic and frustrated, I simply didn't care.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly [1966]

aka Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo

         
       
Rotten Tomatoes = 97 / 97
Personal = 9.8

Updated Dec 12, 2019
Amidst the US Civil War, an assassin, a bounty hunter, and a bandit are on a collision course to obtain a box of gold. Simply the best Western ever made. The only one that comes close is another Sergio Leone classic, Once Upon a Time in the West. The characters are fully formed and a delight to watch, the story is a complex and grand adventure, the dialogue is humorous and quotable, and the direction and cinematography are unparalleled. If you haven't seen this film, you've missed a huge piece of film history.

I Remember You [2017]

aka Eg man big

               
Rotten Tomatoes = 100 / 57
Personal = 6.1

Updated Dec 12, 2019
3 people travel to a remote location to renovate a house that has not been lived in for 60 years. Also, a man deals with his missing son. The acting was great, nice, haunting atmosphere, and the story held my interest despite the slow pacing that was making me antsy. The missing child story was great but I had some real problems with the other. When we discover their relationship, the idea they went willingly into isolation together is ludicrous. I'd be able to forgive that if the payoff was worth it but the whole thing just fell flat.

Mortal Engines [2018]


         
       
Rotten Tomatoes = 27 / 52
Personal = 7.6

Updated Dec 12, 2019
Well into a post-apocalyptic future, cities literally roam the countryside swallowing up smaller communities with the story focusing on a megalomaniac bent on recreating the power that destroyed civilization in the first place and a girl who may hold the key to stopping him. The superbly created CGI is the star of the show by creating a future world that is realistic and awe-inspiring despite the ludicrous idea behind it. The characters were well defined, likable, colorful and fun to watch, the action is top notch. No negatives here.

The Sweeney [2012]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 46 / 44
Personal = 7.4

Links Updated 6/12/19
An elite police unit, The Flying Squad, aka, The Sweeney, battles master thieves in London while trying to keep the squad from being shut down by Internal Affairs for their procedures. The characters are awesome, the dialogue is crisp in both the dramatic moments and general banter, the action is well constructed and tense. My only gripes are a lack of attention paid to unimportant members of the squad making them nothing more than warm bodies. Also, things get wrapped up far too clean and neat but still a good shoot 'em up.

Hide in the Light [2018]


                       
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 17
Personal = 5.3

Links Updated 8/25/19
A bunch of urban explorers enter an old orphanage that's been abandoned for 60 years ...or so they thought. Take your logic, fold it up neatly and stick it in your back pocket as it really has no place here. That being said, I found this film to be rather fun. It's obviously made by amateur filmmakers but it's rather well done and certainly far better than many I've seen. As mentioned, lots of logic problems - like a 60 year old tape player and generator still working - but the girl's creepy, the demon's a badass and the pacing was great.

Attack of the Giant Leeches [1959]


           
         
         
Rotten Tomatoes = 70 / 18
Personal = 4.3

Updated Dec 12, 2019
Giant leeches infiltrate a Florida swamp and people begin disappearing. Typical Roger Corman 50's monster movie with no real story to speak of beyond find and kill the creatures. Has the usual corny characters and the monsters were the obligatory bizarre and cheesy creatures we've all come to know and love. Add a sexy female and there you have it. You may want to watch the MST3K version instead.

24 Hours to Live [2017]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 52 / 30
Personal = 8.4

Links Updated Oct 4, 2019
A professional mercenary is brought back from the dead using a medical technique developed by the company he works for. Unfortunately, it only gives him 24 hours and the company finds that it probably wasn't a good idea to bring him back. A exceptionally well made film with a realistically presented story, despite the unrealistic premise, excellent performances from both Ethan Hawke and Qing Xu, and some absolutely stellar, brilliantly choreographed action and gun fight sequences. Very exciting stuff!

Cam [2018]


                   
Rotten Tomatoes = 94 / 55
Personal = 4.2

Links Updated Oct 4, 2019
A girl who does sexy cam shows in chat rooms has her account hijacked by someone operating a cam bot (I'm guessing here as it's not entirely explained) that presents an exact replica or our girl. I may not be one to judge this film as the culture is so far removed from anything I would find enjoyable so, essentially, I don't get it. I was coming up with all kinds of alternatives she could have tried which would have mitigated her problem but she just kept making it worse. Her solution seemed awfully extreme as well. Just struck me as illogical.

Bone Tomahawk [2015]


                   
Rotten Tomatoes = 91 / 73
Personal = 6.1

Links Updated Oct 4, 2019
A unique western, pseudo-horror story taking place out west in the 1890's. A robber, followed by an ultra-savage, cannibalistic tribe of Indians, drifts into the peaceful town of Bright Hope. After the savages kidnap a couple of the townsfolk, the sheriff gets together a posse to go after them. This is basically a 75 min story taking over 130 min to tell. The characters, personalities and authentic dialogue was entertaining and kept me interested but the film is excessively long-winded. Not bad if you have the patience.

Replicas [2018]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 9 / 35
Personal = 7.2

Updated Dec 12, 2019
A scientist, specializing in neural transference, attempts to bring back his family when they're killed in an accident. This film is nothing special, offers nothing new and there are really no surprises to speak of. However, it's quite entertaining, nonetheless. The characters are logical and likable, the emotional side of the story fells real, and the science is quite interesting and, at least, it's sounds plausible. My only gripe is that they took far too long on him trying to resurrect the family making us wait an hour to get to the good stuff.

The Rift [2016]

aka The Rift: Dark Side of the Moon

           
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 9
Personal = 2.1

Links Updated Oct 4, 2019
3 agents and a scientist are sent to retrieve a crashed satellite. What they discover is a rift in time-space and something more powerful than death. This lofty and exciting premise was totally wasted is a dismal amateur effort. The writing was 5th grade level, at best, the acting was terrible and everyone's behavior was illogical. The music and score was so painfully out-of-place within this film, it was like constantly being distracted by someone who won't shut up. Not even Ken Foree could save this incomprehensible mess.

Final Score [2018]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 69 / 37
Personal = 7.9

Updated Nov 18, 2019
A friend takes the daughter of a fallen wartime comrade to a soccer game and finds himself in the middle of a siege. Very reminiscent of Die Hard with the first 40 minutes or so following the DH story so closely, I figured this must be some sort of re-imagining of it and just went along with it. Eventually it took it's own course and became a tense, exciting, high-action battle of wills between a terrorist, who's willing to kill everybody, and a man who has to save everybody just to get his friend's daughter back home. Excellent film.

Rorschach [2015]


       
Rotten Tomatoes = - / -
Personal = 6.2

Updated Oct 26, 2019
First person footage style film of 2 guys, who have an interest in paranormal phenomena, visit a single mom and her 7-year-old daughter who says their house may be haunted. If this had been a major production, I would have been pretty disappointed. But, being as this is an obvious, amateur pet project on no budget, I'm rather impressed. The level of tension just waiting for something to happen is literally painful as you realize these guys are in way over their head. I don't feel the payoff justified the anxiety but still ...kudos guys!

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