November 2017

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Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle [2017]

IMDb = 7.2
Rotten Tomatoes = 51 / 70
Personal = 8.6


The Kingsman agents must team up with the Statesman agents in the USA to save the world from a threat to most of mankind. The imagination of the people involved in this is simply mind-bending. Not only are the action scenes full of unique, unheard of ideas, they are totally outrageous and so far over-the-top, they should come off as being absolutely ludicrous. But, they're so well done, it makes you smile and cheer. Story, heroes, and villains are excellent as well. What a superbly fun experience.


The Foreigner (aka The Chinaman) [2017]

IMDb = 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes = 59 / 76
Personal = 9.5


A 61-year-old Chinese man living in London loses his daughter in an IRA terrorist bombing and he's determine to make the terrorists pay. A fantastic movie that is so much more than a simple revenge film. The story is actually quite complex that'll take a second viewing to put it all together but it's still simple enough to follow along. Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan were awesome. The action sequences are tight and realistic and the direction was flawless. Despite the ratings, I thought it was one of the best films of the year.


Powaqqatsi (aka Koyaanisqatsi 2, Northsouth: Life on the Edge, Life in Transformation) [1988]

IMDb = 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes = 63 / 81
Personal = 6.7


Powaqqatsi (Hopi language): A way of life that consumes the life forces of other beings in order to further its own life. Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass present the second film in a series of visual and musical montages of world life ...in this case the juxtaposition of life in impoverished cultures and the modern life of the privileged. Not as visually or musically stunning as Koyaanisqatsi - I could have done without the '80's pop culture montages and the last 15 minutes was particularly irritating - but still quite compelling, nonetheless.


Thor 3: Ragnarok [2017]

IMDb = 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes = 93 / 90
Personal = 9.8


Thor finds out he has an extremely evil and powerful sister who wishes to lord over Asgard. What an incredible afternoon at the movies. I've become quite impressed and pleased with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this film is the quintessential comic book movie. Colorful and charismatic characters, absolutely stunning visuals, extreme and exciting action, and funny as hell, I felt like a kid who fell into his comic book. This is the reason we still like to watch movies on the big screen. Fantastic!


Red Eye (aka Don't Airport) [2005]

IMDb = 6.5
Rotten Tomatoes = 79 / 64
Personal = 5.7


On the red eye to Miami, a woman is threatened with the death of her father if she doesn't help with an assassination. This was a tense and entertaining movie but everything seemed a bit too structured. There was a lot of dialogue that interfered with someone just doing something ...like warning someone they're going to attack them before they do. Yeah, threats were really big in this film. Neither of the leads were very convincing. Overall, it was a fun thriller without a lot of memorable qualities.


The Town That Dreaded Sundown [2014]

IMDb = 5.6
Rotten Tomatoes = 70 / 40
Personal = 6.3


In 2013, a copycat of the Phantom Killer (who terrorized the residents of Texarkana in 1946) is attempting to replicate the murders in the film The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) based on those killings. Points for an original twist on a reboot. Otherwise, it's pretty much just a serial killer mystery. What sets it a step above average is the lead characters are thoroughly likable which, when you're not presenting anything original, is extremely important. Overall, well made and entertaining.


Locker 13 [2014]

IMDb = 4.8
Rotten Tomatoes = 13 / 55
Personal = 5.2


An anthology movie with 5 stories that are sort of what you'd expect from the '80's versions of The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The stories were good and there were a lot of recognizable faces. The endings to some of the stories were quite sudden and, as such, somewhat anti-climatic. I've seen plenty of anthology movies that were better but this was fine for an evenings entertainment.



The Gracefield Incident [2017]

IMDb = 4.1
Rotten Tomatoes = 0 / 20
Personal = 3.1


Three couples, staying at a cabin in the woods, find themselves under siege by aliens. This is a totally ridiculous movie. Half of it takes place in the woods where they do little more than look lost and scared. Nobody makes a single intelligent decision, and the dialogue appears to actually support that the principals involved are total morons ...including the director! Even the aliens are stupid. I knew what was going to happen but I never dreamed they could make the ending that hokie (palm smacking forehead).


Sexy Beast [2000]

IMDb = 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes = 86 / 85
Personal = 4.0


An ex-heist man's refusal to go on another job causes a few problems. This argument over doing the job or not goes on for the first hour of the film in long scenes of vulgar dialogue. The rest of the film deals with the results of this discussion which climax into ...well, nothing really. It ends the same way it starts. The acting was good and the movie has good ratings and a cult following but I just don't see the appeal of watching a bunch of unlikable characters treating each other like hell ...and taking their time doing it.


Eye for an Eye [1996]

IMDb = 6.1
Rotten Tomatoes = 8 / 55
Personal = 4.8


After a rapist/murderer is released on a technicality, the mother of the victim plans a scheme to kill the offender. Despite all the familiar faces and John Schlesinger directing, this film is sort of lifeless. I think it's because there's hardly any musical score at all so there's really no sense of tension, danger, threat, etc., it just falls flat ...not to mention being rather slow-paced. I don't think Sally Fields was the right choice for the part, either. The climax was entertaining but nothing we haven't seen before.


Blade Runner 2049 [2017]

IMDb = 8.4
Rotten Tomatoes = 88 / 81
Personal = 7.1


Upon hunting down an old version replicant, a blade runner discovers what may be the existence of a hybrid human/replicant child. The dark, billboard crowded streets and oppressive music creates a dystopian world that is nothing short of phenomenal and totally immersive. However, the filmmakers must have really been in love with what they were doing as there were far too many times where I was going, "Yes, that's very pretty and philosophical. Can we go move on to the next scene, please". Easily 45 minutes too long.


Zombeavers [2014]

IMDb = 4.8
Rotten Tomatoes = 69 / 31
Personal = 3.9


Industrial waste turns beavers into zombie monsters who then proceed to terrorize a lake community. The simple premise of zombie beavers tells you this is intended to be campy, fun, farcical and not to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, unlike good campy features, like Sharknado or Slither, this one fails miserably by delving deeply into sex and toilet humor, sophomoric behavior, and making all it's characters as unlikable as possible. Some good moments in the last 20 min does not a good movie make.


Beyond the Black Rainbow [2010]

IMDb = 6.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 52 / 52
Personal = 6.6


I'd give you an idea of what this movie is about but I wouldn't know what to say as I have no idea. Ponderously slow with hardly any exposition, you'd think I would have really disliked it ...but I didn't. Surrealistically stark and sterile, yet strangely beautiful and colorful, it was like walking through a dream straight out of THX 1138. Even though I was finding it very difficult to make sense of any of it, I was thoroughly hypnotized right up to the very end. What a long, strange trip this was.


Murder on the Orient Express [2017]

IMDb = 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes = 58 / 61
Personal = 7.0


A passenger is murdered on the Orient Express and Hercule Poirot must solve the case. Agatha Christie purists will probably have some issues with it (I know my wife did) as Poirot is portrayed as a bit of a fighter when a couple altercations ensue. Also, it was obviously updated for today's theater audience but that's as it should be, imo. 9 people out of 10 know how it ends so it's all in the story and I think they did a good job ...not as good as David Suchet's version but I liked it.


Geostorm [2017]

IMDb = 5.7
Rotten Tomatoes = 14 / 42
Personal = 5.0


Every so often, we're treated to a super catastrophic disaster movie featuring hollow characters who try in vain to yank on our emotional heart strings, contrived and ofttimes silly premises and story lines, punctuated by eye-bulging visuals and jaw-dropping special effects. This is one of those films ...and not done very well. The reason why the villains in this are doing what they're doing is rather moronic and nonsensical and the spec fx I've seen before ...and better. I'm still waiting for the next 2012 or San Andreas.


They Live [1988]

IMDb = 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes = 83 / 79
Personal = 4.8


A drifter stumbles upon a pair of sunglasses that allows him to see aliens among us. Since I keep seeing it pop up in cult listings, I figured it's about time to watch it. And now I'm wondering what the attraction is. The acting is bad, the dialogue is atrocious and it looks painfully low budget. Certain plot points didn't make much sense like an overly long, protracted fight scene taking place simply because one of the participants didn't want to put on the sunglasses left me shaking my head in wonder.


Death Race 2000 [1975]

IMDb = 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes = 85 / 63
Personal = 8.4


The Corman classic of the '70's, which spawned a modern day franchise, is still just as much fun to watch today as it was back then ...if you like campy humor. The characters (or should I say stereotypical caricatures) are played to perfection, the humor is precise and there's some really good racing action for its time going on here. Will always be a favorite.



Trollhunter (aka Trolljegeren) [2010]

IMDb = 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 82 / 72
Personal = 6.1


A Norwegian found footage film about a man whose job with the government is to control the troll population and a film crew of students coming along for the ride. This movie was quite interesting and enjoyable for the first half when the first troll is revealed. After that, however, the film just became redundant with a lot of riding around in the car with characters which weren't that interesting and the occasional troll hunt which got old pretty quickly. Good troll effects, ok film.


Sukiyaki Western Django [2007]

IMDb = 6.3
Rotten Tomatoes = 57 / 57
Personal = 7.5


The film centers around 2 clans' uneasy relationship in their control of a town and a stranger who comes in to stir things up. This is basically a spaghetti western in Japanese that is quite exaggerated almost to the point of parody ...sort of a cross between Sergio Leone films and Kill Bill (in fact, Quentin Tarantino has a small role in this). Having the Japanese actors speak English, when it's obviously not what they're used to, makes the dialogue pleasantly lyrical. Great action and shootouts. Extremely enjoyable.


Freelancers (aka Crossfire) [2012]

IMDb = 4.6
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 31
Personal = 4.9


Three friends just graduated from the police academy and find out what being a cop is really all about. One in particular is befriended by a Captain who deals drugs for a major drug lord. An enjoyable movie with the lead man being very clever is how he's able to manipulate just about everybody. But, unfortunately, the movie was somewhat slow and not particularly engaging. The ending has so many loose ends, it was like watching a TV series that was canceled after the first two episodes.


The Pack (aka La meute) [2010]

IMDb = 4.8
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 19
Personal = 7.9


A young woman and a hitchhiker stop at a saloon in the middle of nowhere. When the hitchhiker disappears in the bathroom, the woman decides to investigate. Bad idea! Just when you think you're watching a film that's reminiscent of Frontier(s), it takes a sharp left placing it in a category all its own. This French film is visceral, perverse, savage, and brutal with no humor and no happy endings. If you like well made extreme horror, this movie definitely fits the bill but you better have the stomach for it. Good job!


The Gravedancers [2006]

IMDb = 5.5
Rotten Tomatoes = 100 / 45
Personal = 6.8


Three friends become haunted when they dance upon the graves of some seriously demented people. The idea of becoming cursed by dancing on a grave was a bit silly ...I've danced on a grave myself and I'm ok. Be that as it may, the movie had a good run with the idea with some good scares, nice pacing and overall, very well made. The last half hour got pretty chaotic and somewhat cheesy and I thought the paranormal investigators were miscast but still a good deal of fun.


Repo Men (aka Repossession Mambo) [2010]

IMDb = 6.3
Rotten Tomatoes = 22 / 41
Personal = 5.2


In the near future, you can get artificial organs on credit. Of course, if you default on your payments, you'll have to deal with the repo men. There's something wrong with this movie ...I just can't pinpoint what it is. The acting was competent and the story was interesting, albeit ludicrous. I think the way it was presented just doesn't work right. Perhaps if it was a bit more campy and not so serious. I don't know ...it just didn't feel true to its subject matter and the ending was totally depressing.


Death Race 2050 [2017]

IMDb = 3.7
Rotten Tomatoes = 100 / 33
Personal = 2.9


Basically a remake of Death Race 2000, everything they made the former film of the one best B-movies ever made is painfully absent from this sequel. The cars are silly and looked like a child designed them. The characters are obnoxious and outrageously over-the-top with no appeal or chemistry. The dialogue was inane and vulgar without a single good line in the film. The race itself was so poorly presented, it looked completely fake with no sense of speed, action, danger, or excitement. What a disappointment and what a mess!!


Justice League (of America, aka Justice League Mortal) [2017]

IMDb = 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes = 40 / 85
Personal = 7.5


Six DC superheros get together to save the world from Steppenwolf and the power of the Mother Boxes. Lots of exciting stuff with a lot of humorous banter between our superheroes. Effects and action were top notch, as usual. Didn't convert me from being primarily a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan (it tended to be somewhat to formulaic to me) but great, super fun, nonetheless.



Mr. Brooks [2007]

IMDb = 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes = 55 / 76
Personal = 7.5


A successful business man, who's addicted to murder, runs into a number of problems with his last kill. This Dexter like psychological thriller is an exceptionally well designed story that gets more complex and complicated as time goes on. Kevin Costner and William Hurt were excellent as they argued with each other throughout the film ...Hurt was Mr. Brooks' inner voice named Marshall, you see. The ending was sufficiently twisted to leave me smiling at the end. Very pleasant watch.


Cypher (aka Company Man, Brainstorm) [2002]

IMDb = 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes = 58 / 64
Personal = 8.1


A quiet, unassuming man is hired by Digicorp to act as a corporate spy. It doesn't take long for things to become complicated and deadly. What a pleasant surprise! This movie from the director of Cube, (an old favorite) has such subtle complexities that both you and our protagonist have no idea who to trust or what's going to happen next. Subliminal mind control, double agents, the understated acting, a constant feeling of dread, and a surprise ending that I never saw coming highlight this remarkable little gem.


Princess Mononoke (aka Mononoke-hime) [1997]

IMDb = 8.4
Rotten Tomatoes = 92 / 94
Personal = 7.9


A young man's search for a cure to a curse, received when he killed a boar demon god, leads him into the middle of a war between humans, beasts, gods and demons. This full length Japanese anime was far better than I expected it would be. The characters were very complex, the motives of all the parties evolved made perfect sense, making the whole concept of doing the right thing a very fuzzy area, the animation was fantastic, and the story was varied and full. Very nice.


Clown [2014]

IMDb = 5.7
Rotten Tomatoes = 48 / 37
Personal = 5.3


When a clown cancels his appearance at a birthday party, the boy's father puts on a clown costume he finds in a house that he's selling ...not knowing the costume is cursed. This is a pretty creepy and disturbing movie as the father slowly transforms into a child eating monster with no apparent means of taking the costume off or stopping the horrific process. I really felt sorry for everyone involved in this one. They did an excellent job of creating a rather hopeless and sad scenario.


Wind Walkers [2015]

IMDb = 3.7
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 36
Personal = 3.2


Something about somebody bringing something back from Iraq that's killing these guys in the Florida Keys. That's about the best I can do as far as a mini-synopsis because nothing about this movie made any sense. There were some insidious moments that made it somewhat worthwhile but I didn't understand anyone's behavior or motivation and I could not discern any plot or even identify the danger. Even the score was nothing more than rock tunes which were totally inappropriate. What were they trying to do here?


Reviews Coming Soon

And Soon the Darkness [2010]
The Expendables 2 [2012]
Gerald's Game [2017]
Hitman [2007]
Hitman: Agent 47 [2015]
The Hunter's Prayer [2017]
The Little Shop of Horrors [1960]
Message from the King [2016]
The Night Watchmen [2017]
Phantoms [1998]
Slaughter [2009]
The Strangers [2008]

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