Ex Machina (2015) – Review

3 Stars

Deus ex machina (Latin: dei ex machina) 1.A calque from Greek, meaning “god from the machine”. – Wikipedia

There is an awful lot of discussion about man playing god, in the appropriately titled Ex Machina, the latest thriller from novelist/screenwriter Alex Garland, who also directs. This is a low-key, there are only four cast members, sometimes mesmerizing odyssey into classical literary themes.
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Mortdecai (2015) – Review

1 Star

At year’s end, I’m positive that Mortdecai will not only make my own personal Top Ten worst of list but, will also unanimously appear on every other critics’ as well. This is a supremely silly action-comedy that astonishes as it moves along its convoluted plot and gibberish laden script. Apparently based on a series of books by Kyril Bonfiglioli, Johnny Depp inhabits the title role of a buffoon art collector called on by Mi-5 to unravel the of plot a missing Goya.
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The Interview (2014) – Review

2 Stars

When all the political hoopla is said and done, film buffs will be faced with the truth that The Interview is simply a flimsy, sometimes funny, satirical spoof of media and the world’s fascination with celebrity culture. Sure, this is a modern-day Hope and Crosby ‘road comedy’ but, it’s also the movie that nearly incited an international incident over it’s very existence. If a film is ever to start war, I would hope that it be something a little more sacred than a Seth Rogen/James Franco flick. Whats next China performing subterfuge because the Autobots destroyed Beijing?
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Jurassic World (2015) – Review

4 Stars

Jurassic World‘s director Colin Trevorrow was hand-picked by Steven Spielberg to continue the series. It’s no wonder then that World closely resembles that first film’s style, and sense of fun. This is a thrill ride tuned to perfection by a team of high function craftsmen and a capable cast that turns the ordinary into extraordinarily good. Plus, its great to hear that excellent theme music from John Williams reinterpreted by Michael Giacchino here, again blaring through theater speakers.
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Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

The fourth installment in the tired Transformers franchise, is a lumbering unwieldy mess. The bloated running time serves as an invitation for elongated CGI sequences that are as visually confused as the script is simple. Losing the original cast and softly rebooting the series is to no avail, this movie peaks early and is then a steady march through the well-established routines set up by three previous pictures. Knockoffs like Hasbro’s own Battleship, are starting to look good-by comparison, a sure sign that the producers should stop now.
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The Waterboy (1998) – Review

2 Stars

Previous to The Waterboy, there had been signs that Adam Sandler was becoming a box-office sensation. He stole Bulletproof from his more established co-stars, both Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore were moronic solid earners, and The Wedding Singer was a modest hit. All leading up to the release of The Waterboy in the fall of 1998, the movie absolutely exploded at the box-office and sold and estimated 32 million tickets. Adam Sandler was now a verified comedic draw. So, it’s somewhat mystifying that The Waterboy propelled Sandler to the forefront of screen funny men, but is such a sub-par product compared to the comedian’s output thus far.
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Sex Tape (2014) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Sex Tape is a movie that is entertaining despite itself. The final product shows obvious signs of post-production tweaking, and I get the feeling that the producers were happy to salvage something that plays. This is a good-natured but one-note comedy that aspires to be all things, a topical glimpse of a married couple’s sex life, a slapstick farce, and a social satire. Although the characters are engaging, particularly Siegel as the bumbling husband, this lightweight comedy suffers rom a rambling script and one too many endings.
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River of Death (1989) – Review

1 Star

River of Death may have been based on the novel by famed writer Alister McLean but, it is actually Cannon Film’s version of Apocalypse Now. Instead of traveling up river to find a crazed U.S. Captain gone AWOL, this movie features a group traveling up a different river to locate and execute a former NAZI war criminal. It is all very Joseph Conrad mixed with The Boys from Brazil.
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The Gunman (2015) – Review

1 Star

There are so many things wrong with Pierre Morel’s The Gunman that it’s a large target for critical dissection. Perhaps, the most telling issue of the jumbled mess on-screen is the co-writer credit for star Sean Penn. No doubt, Penn has made been in front of and behind the camera in some of the most powerful films of the last 35 years. Here, the OSCAR winner is mining Liam Neeson territory with a director that could have used a good coaching by Paul Greengrass before setting out to tell this tale of foreign corporate corruption and international covert warfare.
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World War Z (2013) – Review

4 Stars

World War Z is the surprise of the summer, this is the ‘event’ movie audiences have been waiting for. Moving at a breakneck speed, the (oft-reported) troubled production has resulted in a captivating blockbuster with artistic flare and big scares. I didn’t think there was an ounce of creativity left in the genre, but Pitt and director Marc Foster along with a trio of screenwriters have reinvigorated the over-saturated.
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San Andreas (2015) – Review

3 Stars

San Andreas is the kind of blockbuster that plays better as an air-conditioned reprieve from the hot June weather. There is something both nostalgic and appealing about escaping the summer heat inside the confines of a cool auditorium showing a ‘disaster’ picture like this. This earthquake themed action film would have been right at home in the 1970’s under prolific producer Irwin Allen. There is plenty of mayhem, CGI destruction and engaging action set-pieces to warrant a recommendation. Sequel potential is non-existent unless Dwayne Johnson takes on Tornadoes or Hurricanes next.
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Oblivion (2013) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

There is so much I liked about Tom Cruise’s sci-fi adventure film Oblivion that I’m tempted to recommend it. The film’s first hour is full of beautiful images, sweeping music and shots of Cruise doing his steely eyed determination thing. If the movie had only been these parts it would have been short on plot but big on spectacle, alas the second hour renders the story less interesting as it goes along.
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