SM - STD

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Small Soldiers [1998] Snake Eyes [1998] Sniper [1993]
The Snowman [2017] Snowpiercer [2013] The Snowtown Murders [2011]
Soldier [1998] Soldiers of Fortune [2012] Solis [2018]
Solo: A Star Wars Story [2018] Somebody Help Me [2007] Son [2021]
Sorcerer [1977] Southbound [2015] Spider-Man: Far from Home [2019]
Spider-Man: Homecoming [2017] Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018] Spider-Man: No Way Home [2021]
Spies in Disguise [2019] Spinning Man [2018]
Spiral: From the Book of Saw [2021] Spiritwalker [2020] Splatter Farm [1987]
Split [2016] Spring [2014] Spy Game [2001]
Stage Fright [1980] Stake Land [2010] The Stakelander [2016]
Stalker [1979] Stand Off [2011] Standoff [2016]
The Standoff at Sparrow Creek [2018] Star Time [1992] Star Trek [2009]
Star Trek: The Motion Picture [1979] Star Trek Beyond [2016] Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan [1982]
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock [1984] Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home [1986] Star Trek V: The Final Frontier [1989]
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country [1991] Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [2017] Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker [2019]
Starve [2014] Stash House [2012] State of Play [2009]

Snake Eyes [1998]


            

A shady detective and his friend, a military security specialist, get embroiled in an assassination at a boxing match. Direction, dialog and acting are tight and precise with enough twists and turns to make for a very compelling film. That being said, the film seems to lose its energy towards a very weak ending. I just watched an alternate ending that blew me away and it's hard for me to believe that they spent that much money on a thrilling climax, that they've been alluding to throughout, and then just dumped it. What a tragically awful decision. I'm so dissapointed.

Spies in Disguise [2019]


            

The relationship between the world's greatest spy and a super-intelligent nerd that invents gadgets becomes strained when the spy is turned into a pigeon while a super-villain is trying kill a thousand spies. Awesome animation highlights this very funny catastrophe of silliness with some very imaginative ideas. As far as story or originality, there nothing new here with no subplots to speak of but it is thoroughly entertaining with some really hilarious gags. If you're just looking for something fun the whole family can watch for an evening, this will fill the bill nicely.

Star Time [1992]


            
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A random selection on Screambox turned out to be an odd little gem that's pretty good despite it being blatantly mirco-budget. After the cancellation of his favorite TV show and his social worker leaving for a month, a maturely stunted and socially vacuous young man decides to commit suicide. Enter Sam Bones, a mysterious stranger who makes him a celebrity ..of sorts. Michael St. Gerard and Maureen Teefy did good, considering the budget, but veteran actor John P. Ryan stole the show as the mysterious Sam Bones with some amazingly, well-written dialog. Fun!

Standoff [2016]


            

A young girl seeks asylum in a house while being pursued by an assassin who spotted her photographing a hit. Let the standoff begin. Taking place almost entirely within a house with our three main characters, this is really nothing more than an extended battle of wits which could have been a disaster but for the stand out performances of Thomas Jane, Laurence Fishburne and Ella Ballentine. Exceptional dialogue and subtle but effective directing had me locked into this incredibly tense and, at times, savage experience. An independent gem!

State of Play [2009]


         

Two reporters working on seemingly unrelated stories discover they're connected in a big way reaching well into the halls of congress. This is an exciting political thriller that maintains its intensity throughout despite being devoid of any sort of action to speak of. An exceptional all-star cast, you'd be hard pressed to see someone you didn't recognize. It's biggest strength is its ability to present an amazingly complex and ever evolving story without once losing the viewer with fantastic writing and acting. Best of its kind since All the President's Men, imo.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture [1979]


            

The Mrs and I are watching the Star Trek universe in timeline order and here we are at the first feature film ...and not a whole lot to it. This spec fx heavy piece (which is basically a remake of the original episode "The Changeling" presented as a new story) spends an abominable amount of time just showing us pretty pictures that, although impressive, is really nothing more than bloated filler to make a 45 min story into a 2+ hour film. That's not to say it's bad. Watching our beloved characters in a feature film is still quite enjoyable. You just need to be patient.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan [1982]


         

Banished to an uninhabited planet 15 years ago by Captain James Kirk, Kahn and his crew how have a Federation ship. Time to misbehave. With an evil and flamboyant glee, Ricardo Montalban gives us an outstanding performance of the psychotic Kahn, who really holds a grudge. Spec fx were outstanding, the acting, writing and direction were great, space combat was exciting and made sense and more emotion than I've seen in any other Star Trek production to this point. Includes a couple good subplots and revelations, as well. Nice!

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock [1984]


            

Kirk, and a few of his crew, steal the decommissioned Enterprise to save Spock before he's lost forever. This is basically a very dramatic story of loyalty, hope, friendship and sacrifice in an outer space setting that's done very well and I really liked it. There's a confrontation with Klingons to add enough trekker stuff in it to make it solidly a Star Trek movie but it's not a high action, space combat piece. I think it's probably gotten a bad rap for that but I felt the events carried the necessary emotion to make an extremely compelling and heartfelt view. Very nice!

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home [1986]


            

Earth is being systematically destroyed by a probe and it's up to the Enterprise crew, in a Klingon ship, to save it. Also known as "The One With the Whales", this film replaces the usual space adventure for a 'fish out of water' escapade where our heroes have to deal with 1986 San Francisco, which is both heartfelt and humorous. Since I've lived in the Bay Area for 50 years, the familiar locales made it all the more fun. The scenarios were delightful - like Chekov asking a police officer where he can find a nuclear vessel - and nary a dull moment. Excellent fun.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier [1989]


         

Kirk and crew find themselves at odds with a nomad who wants to steal a starship. This didn't work well on several levels. The dialog is bland, the story is dull, a few silly gags and the costuming is terrible ...they all looked like out-of-shape middle aged men. Well, they probably are, but the point it to make them not look that way. Things picked up a bit once they got to the Great Barrier but it was a real schlog up to that point. This was William Shatner's feature film directorial debut and, unfortunately, it shows his inexperience. Marginally entertaining but that's about it.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country [1991]


         

The Enterprise must escort a Klingon diplomat to a peace conference but there's foul play afoot and things get crazy. Leagues above the last entry in the movie series, this one features an elaborate story that takes us through ship invasions, frozen planets, space warfare, assassinations, exploding moons, new cloaking technology, all while addressing issues of racism, tolerance and Shakespeare and presenting it all in a very dramatic fashion making this the most mature Star Trek film thus far. And the new uniforms look great! Loved it!

Sniper [1993]


            

A sniper and a rookie (who's 'in charge') are sent into Panama to take out a General. This is a good entertaining movie that I enjoyed watching. That being said, this world would only exist in a script. Billy Zane's character made absolutely no sense whatsoever. He's hand-picked to carry out this 'critical' mission when it's obvious he's clueless. Most of the time he spends being either a buffoon or a wimp. He whines constantly, wants to go home, and then when he does step up, he goes whako. It was still fun despite making this poor guy a script slave.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw [2021]


         

An honest detective, constantly under derision from his fellow officers for busting a bad cop, becomes the lead detective in a case of cops being forced to "play a game" with a Jigsaw copycat. Up to this point, all the Saw films are interconnected and an integral part of the overall story. The film is solidly a stand-alone with a copycat ...but a good one. I figured out who the bad guy was so that wasn't a surprise but the twisted way it played out was great and brought together all those clues that just fly right by you without notice. Chris Rock was awesome!

Somebody Help Me [2007]


        
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A story about incredibly stupid people doing incredibly stupid things. Even the officials, the psychos, and the trailer (which is no longer on YouTube) are stupid. The only thing not stupid was the little girl when she tells them they're all going to die ...obviously referring to their careers in this stupid movie! ...and they made a sequel!! (walks away shaking his head)

Soldier [1998]


            
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An early Paul Anderson effort (Event Horizon, Resident Evil, Death Race), a man who's been raised as a supreme killing machine since birth and is now replaced and discarded by new, genetically enhanced soldiers. The first half, where the soldier is trying to grasp what it means to be human while living in a settlement, goes on for far too long. Once things get moving, it picks up but the action is just a couple notches above mediocre. Credit to Kurt Russell for going through the entire film without once changing his expression.

Stalker [1979]


         
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In this case, the term stalker refers to a tour guide, of sorts, that leads two men into an area known as "The Zone" to take them to a room that is supposed to grant your innermost wishes. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? In a nutshell, it lasted 161 mins and NOTHING happened. The stalker kept preaching dangers. Where? Are there any? Is he nuts? Who knows? Nothing happens. I don't even know if the wish room works. Camera work was awesome and it is very artistic but over 2 1/2 hours with no pay off? That's just wrong! And the final scene was a big what-the-hell?

Sorcerer [1977]


            
  
4 men, with nothing to lose, agree to drive two trucks with 6 crates of nitroglycerin soaked TNT through 218 miles of jungle. Having nothing to do with sorcery, the title refers to the name of one of the trucks. An old favorite, I hadn't seen in some time, still grabs ones attention in the first 2 minutes and never lets go. Extremely tense throughout, the photography and practical effects are awesome ...including the 'trucks on the river bridge in a storm' sequence which is still one of the most nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thrill rides you'll ever see in your life! Super!!

Snowpiercer [2013]


         
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Mankind has turned the earth into a giant snowball and the last of humanity is stuck in a train that never stops ...and the poverty stricken people in the back decide it's time to move to the front. Stunning, violent action, surreal and bizarre characters, intriguing social dynamics, and a philosophy about man's place in the order of things (revealed at the end) that is intrinsically disturbing yet wholly necessary. Fantastic film!!

Stash House [2012]


         


A man surprises his wife with a new house ...built like a fortress. They soon discover the place is full of drugs and a couple of mercenaries have come to collect a package. Although there were scenes that were a bit contrived, silly, and/or slowly paced, overall, the film was a highly exciting, what-happens-next, thriller. Don't take it too seriously and enjoy the ride.

Solo: A Star Wars Story [2018]


         

The origins of Han Solo depicts his escape from a slave world and establishing his life as a pirate. Tens of millions of dollars spent to visually create the stunning Star Wars universe we've come to love and appreciate and someone forgot to turn on a light! 80% of this film is just simply dark ...hard to see any details at all. Beyond that, much more character driven (way beyond what's necessary) and far less spectacle. I didn't like the ending, either. The train heist was the high point, the rest was unoriginal and entertainingly ho hum.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]


            

Miles Morales, student and graffiti artist, gets caught up in a battle involving Spider-man, Kingpin and a rip in space-time resulting in Spider-man-like heroes from several parallel universes ...and Miles must save the day. Truly outstanding fun and exciting animated feature with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. They did a wonderful job of making the characters very human and totally outrageous at the same time. The extended battle around the collider was a bit much, making my wife and I a little nauseous, but otherwise, no complaints.

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek [2018]


            
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The six members of a small militia group hideout in their HQ, a lumber warehouse, when there's reports that a militia member shot up a cop's funeral. Then the group figures out it's one of them. Let the finger pointing begin. This is an exceptionally well-written, psychological thriller that had me totally absorbed the entire time. It's rare to have a film that's this intense, and intelligent, when it's basically all dialogue. It keeps the viewer constantly guessing until the surprise ending that changes everything.

Southbound [2015]


            

An anthology of overlapping stories presented as a series of bizarre, supernatural events along a remote desert highway (presumed to represent purgatory) over a 24 hour period. This one plays out fairly well with excellent pacing and some very creepy stuff ...especially the creatures. I have no idea what these reaper-like things are supposed to represent but they were very cool! Fitting quite snuggly somewhere between The Twilight Zone and the V/H/S series, there was something quite primal and disturbing about this twisted experience. Nice ending, too!

Stand Off [2011]

aka Whole Lotta Sole

            

Taking place in Ireland, a simple hold-up to pay off gambling debts turns into a major mess involving the police, the SAS, the mob, gypsies, and a host of others. The problem with this film is that it's too farcical to be taken seriously and too serious to be a comedy. However, the highly complex story is loaded with misunderstandings and one thing after another making the whole situation worse by the minute. That, and the performances, were plenty enough to entertain me and I liked it.

Stake Land [2010]


            
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Follows the travels of a vampire hunter, known only as Mister, and a teen named Martin as they try to outrun the zombie/vampire plague and large groups of religious fanatics. Sort of reminded me of Zombieland but completely devoid of any humor. They pick up and lose several people along the way making this a very personal and emotional ride that relies heavily on the heartstrings. Nothing new here but it has good action, good tension, some very good personal moments, and an ambiguous albeit uplifting ending. Pretty good.

The Stakelander [2016]

aka Stake Land II

            
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This one finds Martin, our protagonist from Stake Land, hunting for a Vamp Queen who killed his family and seems to be able to control the vamps. It played out fine and was generally enjoyable. It's problem is that it was so cliche. I saw everything coming before the characters seem to figure it out ...which doesn't say much for their intelligence or their ability to survive as long as they have. The dialog was standard with nothing witty or literate beyond what was necessary. The scenarios played out as expected. Like the first, it ended on a happy note.

Star Trek [2009]


         

This reboot of the franchise presents Kirk, Spock, Bones, and many other USS Enterprise alumni boarding the ship for the first time under Captain Pike as they hunt down a psycho Romulan from the future who threatens to destroy planets. This is really nicely done with a super complex multiple timeline story that'll make your head hurt if you think about it too much but it's presented in an understandable way. The character dynamics were great and the spec fx are just awesome. Bravo!

Star Trek Beyond [2016]


         


The Enterprise travels to an unexplored nebula system on a rescue mission and runs into problems. Storywise, this is pretty typical for an episode of Star Trek. However, the characters are colorful and played superbly, the level of drama to danger to humor to sentiment is spot on, the action and spec fx are fantastic and there is no denying that this is solidly Star Trek. Top notch entertainment.

The Snowtown Murders [2011]

aka Snowtown

         
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Based on real events in the 90's centering around John Bunting, one of Australia's most notorious serial killers, and his unquestioning control and dominance of those around him. Filmed amidst the poverty and squalor of Snowtown, this dark, disturbing, and depressing film is shot in an unnerving documentary style that makes you feel like you're a party to all of this. Well made and effective, my personal score is wholly subjective as it's slow pacing and nearly total focus on horrible people (with little emphasis on the crimes) left me feeling lousy.

Spider-Man: Homecoming [2017]


         
  
After the events of the Avenger Civil War, Spider-Man has been relegated to protecting his own neighborhood. As he tries to balance school life and being a hero, he discovers an underground arms manufacturer who's developing monstrous and deadly weapons using alien technology. Excellent characters and story, and, of course, state-of-the art spec fx and action. My only real gripe is some of the action is shot up-close with a shaky camera ...couldn't tell what was happening much of the time. Michael Keaton was perfectly cast as the Vulture.

Split [2016]


            
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A man with 23 personalities kidnaps 3 girls that he believes he must give to 'the beast'. Once again, M. Night Shyamalan, has underwhelmed me. I keep hoping for another piece of brilliance like The Sixth Sense but it has yet to happen. Although interesting as a character study and exceptional acting, it's ponderously slow and the events are forced upon you in order to make the story work ...I was constantly questioning what would logically happen and then realized it wouldn't fit the script.

Starve [2014]


         

A psycho and his Igor style helper hold several people prisoner in an old abandoned school and force them to kill each other with food as their reward. This is a pretty middle-of-the-road horror film with a modicum of violence. However, it's depiction of what people are willing to do when they're starving is probably pretty accurate and quite disturbing. Not a great film, and the acting is sub-par, but it did keep me engaged and there certainly wasn't anything I really disliked about it.

Spinning Man [2018]


         

A girl goes missing and a dedicated detective believes a somewhat absent-minded professor is responsible. The film does an excellent job at never making it clear if the professor is guilty or not while presenting an excellent and seriously intense character study of all those involved. Unfortunately, it becomes a one-trick pony as that's all it does until the resolution ...which is, um, strange. The film never clearly defines many issues it brings up. Add an ambiguous ending and this viewer was left with a lot of questions.

Spider-Man: Far from Home [2019]


         
  
On a school trip to Europe, Peter Parker is reluctantly forced into his Spider-man role as he finds himself in a war between Mysterio and the Elementals ...and all he wants to do is woo a classmate. Taking place after Endgame, this one centers on Peter's character and his circle of acquaintances far too much, imo. Although certainly likable and fun, it didn't leave as much room for an overly simple story as MCU films go. However, it was, humorous, exciting, full of action, eye candy and colorful characters, introduces the 'Peter-tingle', and is quite enjoyable.

Spider-Man: No Way Home [2021]


            
  
Tom Holland (Peter Parker 1) is solely responsible for this film being made as he went to Sony and Marvel and told them to get their asses back to the table and work out a deal ...much to our benefit. After Spider-Man's identity is revealed and he's accused of murder and mayhem, Parker asks Dr Strange to cast a spell to make everyone forget. This rips a hole into the multi-verse and many of the characters from pre-MCU Spider-Man films show up making this film as nostalgic as it is exciting, action packed and providing countless story branches to pursue.

Spy Game [2001]


            

A retiring CIA handler has to plead his case on rescuing an operative captured by the Chinese. Very intriguing and well written spy thriller with an excellent performance by Robert Redford as a handler who knows exactly what he's doing against all odds. Both my wife and myself found the film very compelling and, now that we know what happens, certainly worth a second watch to spot all the tricks. Good fun!

Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [2017]


            

Rey tries to bring back a severely reluctant Luke Skywalker to help in the war. Meanwhile, the First Order is attempting to destroy the last of the resistance. Well, it's a Star Wars movie so fans of Star Wars will probably find it a quite satisfying edition to the franchise and those who are not big fans will probably like it anyway. I've always followed the movies but I've never been a die hard fan. Yet, I found this film to be probably the best of the bunch. There's a lot going on here, it's exciting, and it's very well made.

Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker [2019]


            

A new super fleet of destroyers, each with a planet destroying cannon, has been created. It's up to Rey and the Resistance to stop them. Unlike the hate spewed all over IMDb concerning this film, I though it was just fine. Being as it's taken 42 years to complete all 9 parts of the story, I guess everyone expected something perfect. Well, it's not that. Nor is it the best film in the series but it was fun, exciting, the story worked well, the spec fx were great and it was a logical end to the series ...just not the one everyone wanted, apparently. No complaints here.

The Snowman [2017]


            

An alcoholic investigator and a newcomer to the department investigate a number of disappearances; all of which have a snowman on site. Once again, far too much time spent on the people in the story and far too little time spent on the actual crimes. Add the fact that the movie's plot is disjointed, wastes time on characters and subplots that make no difference to the story and I didn't understand anyone's motivation for the things they do. The ending was just silly. Too bad the movie is nowhere close to what the trailer presents.

Solis [2018]


         
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An engineer is stuck in a mining pod headed straight for the sun after an explosion while a command ship tries to catch up and save him. Boy, this film was cruel and agonizing to both the central character and me, the viewer. It's just him and a voice on the radio for the whole film while he goes about trying to find ways to stay alive and that gets pretty trying after a while. The guy's a pessimistic jerk at first and then, when they finally did make me care about him, they slap an ending on it that just ticked me off. What a pathetically downbeat film.

Stage Fright [1980]

aka Nightmares

         
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This slasher exploitation film, with considerable sex and violence, features a girl who accidentally kills her mother in a car accident and then kills people in a theater production when she grows up. That's not a spoiler ...that's obvious from the start. In fact, I was expecting some sort of twist to show it wasn't her but, noooo. This simple premise is simply an excuse to kill a lot of people with broken glass in bloody fashion and proving that any form of sexual thought or activity insures your doom. It was mildly entertaining in its no-budget audacity but that's about it.

Soldiers of Fortune [2012]


            
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A bunch of ultra-rich men supply arms to an island resistance group in exchange for being part of the action. Lot of familiar faces in this one and they all do an adequate job. Nothing new or remarkable about the film. It's enjoyable (certainly better than the ratings seem to indicate if you aren't too critical) but pretty much everything about it is average.

Spring [2014]


         
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After the death of his mother, a guy goes to Italy and becomes involved with a woman who's a bit different. It was really hard to get through the first 40 mins due to a very similar family loss followed by guys being about as obnoxious as possible. The rest is a romance story where the relationship has problems with her peculiar regeneration issues. They were likable but not particularly interesting. I don't know what significance the farmer had in all this. Seemed important, but why? Wasn't bad, but I kept waiting for something remarkable to happen. Nope!

Son [2021]


         
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8 years after escaping a cult with her new born son, a woman finds that said son is developing some rather peculiar eating habits. A slow paced but highly unsettling story of a woman who will do anything for her son regardless of the consequences. The characters were real and personal forcing the viewer to genuinely care about them despite knowing that there's no way this will end well. Excellent acting, well written and a twist ending that I kinda sorta thought was coming but still quite effective, nonetheless. Had a few good gore moments, as well. Nicely done.

Spiritwalker [2020]


            
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A man, whose spirit is jumping around from one person to another every 12 hours, is trying to find out who he is, what's going on and how to save his girlfriend. Likable characters, good pacing and great action highlight this incredibly intriguing story that leaves one wondering what's going to happen next. It is a bit confusing at times, they did sort of lose me on a couple points, but once the reveal is made, things gelled together quite well and the John Wickish climax was a real treat. Good exciting fun well worth a bag a popcorn and a hot dog.

Small Soldiers [1998]


            

A toymaker implants a military A.I. chip into soldier and alien toys and the toys proceed to go to war. It took awhile for this film to get going and I didn't think I was going to like it much. When it did get going, it turned out to be incredibly fun full of highly imaginative gags and a multitude of laugh-out-loud moments. Like Director Joe Dante's previous film, Gremlins, he managed to give all the toys fully developed personalities and traits that made them as endearing as they were threatening. All the humans were excellent, too. Fun for the whole family.

Splatter Farm [1987]


         

Worse than a lot of home movies I've seen, this no-budget, direct-to-video, gore, z-film, made by and staring teenage twin brothers and a friend, is about the most vile thing I've seen for some time. With a less than amateurish effort that is quite stunning, the kids managed to throw every disgusting thing they could imagine right in our face while equally making us cringe at the bad acting, horrible dialog and editing clearly done with a butter knife. Gave them some credits for the audacity to release this to the public and the surprisingly high ratings considering.

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