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Do You Believe? – movie review

do-you-believemovGrade: A

I’ll admit that I was of the mind set that I was going to hate this movie and be bored beyond tears. As it happens I was moved to tears.

I’m not a religious person. I didn’t find God in this movie but what I found was the hope for humanity. There are some wonderful people in this world, and there are also some terrible people in this world. If the wonderful people could somehow help and guide the misguided, there’s your answer. I know I have the power in myself to help a struggling person. So do you. If we would all adopt this beautiful mind set, this world could be better. My faith is in that.

Giving a grade to this movie is proving difficult. I have some friends that I know would walk out. They would give it an F. This review being my personal opinion I’ve decided to give it an A. I walked out with a new hope. That is exactly what the movie was trying for and it succeeded.

The Gunman – movie review

the-gunmanGrade: C+

There’s lots of action, lots of things being blown up, and people dying one after another.

Sean Penn if very watchable and gives a respectable performance as does Javier Bardem.

The plot can be difficult to follow with all the globe-trotting that takes place.

Insurgent – movie review

insurgent

Grade: C

I’m not a fan of the Divergent series and haven’t read the books. I watched the first movie the night before Insurgent was released and found it to be uninspiring. I wasn’t disappointed with Insurgent because I didn’t expect much.

The best thing I can say is that it isn’t horrible. They managed to put the pieces together well enough that the movie isn’t ridiculously bad. But I was never able to get caught up in the story — I’m clearly not the target demographic. All I could think was, “This looks like Inception, this part is just like the Matrix,” and so on. There’s nothing wrong with being derivative of other films. Most great stories are derivative of one thing or another. Insurgent is just a little too obvious with it. It copies not just concepts from other stories but also the visual representation. For instance when Tris is connected to the simulator is exactly like Neo connected to the mainframe at the end of Matrix Revolutions.

Because the story is so derivative it’s also predictable.

The story doesn’t put a lot of demands on the actors, so I didn’t find anyone who stood out, but at the same time there weren’t any poor performances. This all adds up to an exceedingly average movie.

Cinderella – movie review

cinderellaGrade: B+

Disney studios along with Kenneth Branagh as director has given a fresh look to an age-old fairy tale.

The original animated movie of Cinderella is a classic and hopefully this is how posterity will view the new Cinderella.

It’s a beautiful movie with an outstanding cast and spot on directing.

Run All Night – movie review

Run-all-nightGrade: C-

The good news is that this movie is immeasurably better than Taken 3.

Liam did a good job with his role, as did Ed Harris. Joel Kinnaman, who played Mike (Liam’s son), didn’t have much to work with. His character was consistently expressionless throughout the movie. My guess is that was due to the script and/or director.

The story was okay. The plot isn’t tricky so it’s easy to follow and understand the character’s motivations. My major beef with the story is the reaction of Ed Harris’ character to the death of his son. That seemed to be manufactured just to make the story work and not authentic at all based on his relationship with Liam’s character.

My favorite thing about the movie is the cinematography. They used a neat trick of pulling away from one scene and in one camera shot flying across the city to another location to transition to the next scene. That provided a great sense of continuity in both time and space.

Chappie – movie review

chappieI really don’t want to review this movie because I have so much respect for Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver. In a way having those two in the movie made it even worse because their talents were so obviously wasted on the roles they had. I wonder if they lost a bet or something and that’s why they ended up in this movie.

I had high hopes for the movie, but low expectations. My low expectations were realized during the first three minutes of heavy handed exposition. For instance the introduction to Hugh Jackman’s character came in a news blurb that basically said, “He’s an ex-military weapons designer who disagrees with the development of artificial intelligence on spiritual grounds.” And that was all the character development Hugh’s character would get.

The story had potential, but fell light-years short of realizing it. The script needed a few more rounds of revisions and some heavy editing.

Sigourey’s character was completely underdeveloped. Fortunately she had what amounted to an extended cameo role so it wasn’t too unpalatable to watch.

One other problem I had was understanding Chappie. It’s hard enough to understand a computerized voice, but a computerized voice with an accent, in this case a South African accent, sometimes sounded like a bunch of random noise.

The DUFF – movie review

the-DUFFGrade: A

The Duff blew me away. It was really well done and had a great message. Mae Whitman was especially good. Just watching her facial expressions made me laugh.

While I was watching this movie I was thinking to myself that you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to high school. The social aspect alone would be enough to drive me crazy. I had forgotten about all the drama that takes place throughout the year. The Duff addressed those issues and hit it out of the park. I think all freshman need to watch this movie and learn the tremendous values that it displays.

I would recommend this movie to anyone. It was a really fun movie that will make you laugh wholeheartedly.

Still Alice – movie review

still-alice

Grade: A

This movie addresses the delicate subject of familial Alzheimer’s and the emotional impact on one family.

Julianne Moore gave an extraordinary performance as Alice and the rest of the cast sort of fell to the back of the plot so that what we see and feel for Alice isn’t diluted by the emotions of the ancillary performers.