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Fighting with My Family (2019)
Great feel good movie
This movie is the semi factually incorrect story of the rise to fame of Paige, a very memorable WWE wrestler. I do not watch wrestling and even I have heard of her. The movie starts out with Paige as a child, wrestling in the family room with her brother and fast forwards to her at 18. He family runs an armature wrestling association in England as well as a school that teaches wrestling to kids. It then follows her to her try-out for the WWE and her training, culminating with her arrival to fame. I do not know what kind of person Paige really was, but in this film she is portrayed as the every person, and that makes her very likable and easy to relate with.
The Rock plays a pretty big role in her meteoric rise to fame and kudos to him if his role was not overly sensationalized for the movie. Here we have a film about an athlete in the vein of Rocky, but with more likable people. Really great job and I recommend this regardless if you watch wrestling or not.
Orange Is the New Black (2013)
It pains me to rate this so low
I will confess I never made it all the way through this series. It lost me around season 5, I think. This started out well written and acted, the first season being quite in your face. This is the story of a woman that was in a lesbian relationship with a drug runner. Named years later in court filings, she finds her life is thrown a curve ball. She is now in a traditional relationship and engaged to an author, living the preppy life. She must adjust to life in prison and navigate the new world in which she finds herself.
This is a very political show, trying to vilify the prison systems. While I did find myself sympathetic to many of the characters in this show, I was always mindful that these people broke the law and had been duly convicted and sentenced. I have recently restarted this with a mind on finishing to the bitter end. The first couple of seasons are solid 9s.
The Truman Show (1998)
Carrey's first serious role
This is the first movie I saw where Jim Carrey plays it pretty straight laced and goes more dramatic. This movie is about the ultimate Big Brother television show. Truman Burbank is adopted by a network and his life is on full display 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all without his knowledge. He lives in a giant dome that recreates an island town. To prevent him wanting to leave, as a small child they instill a deep, fierce fear of the water. Every resident of the town is an actor, some of them having been there for the majority of their lives. Every interaction of his life is scripted as best they can, until one day Truman gets an inclination that not is all as it seems. While Truman struggles to find the truth, the world watches on.
While I have enjoyed watching this movie many a time, it does have one flaw, to me.Laura Linney, an actor that I have in all her other roles, seems miscast to me in the part of Truman's forced happy wife. Laura typically plays such a strong female lead that perhaps it was just her having to play an actress cowed into catering to Truman, a person she clearly dislikes, was what I did not like about her here. Were it not for this small flaw I would have given this 10 stars. This is a great look at mass consumption of media and the ultimate greed that is at the core of the human species.
Great, modern take
This is a modern take on the classic Christmas story about Ebeneezer Scrooge from the story A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. To say that there was a lot of creative license taken here would be an understatement, but that does not detract from the fact that this is a great social comment on how commercialized Christmas has become. Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, a television network head that is trying to put on a live version of A Christmas Carol. He is driving his people like slaves and even tells someone to staple antlers to a mouse because they would not stay. He fires a member of his team on Christmas Eve for disagreeing with something he said. He has led a life of greed and cut off anyone that stood in his way, including his brother. That night he is payed a visit from fours ghosts, the first being his mentor, followed by the ghost of Christmas past, present and future. I am sure you are all familiar with the telling of this story. David Johnson and Carol Kane as the ghost of past and present respectively, steal the show. This is a great movie and should be enjoyed by all, every year.
Highly underrated and forgotten, unfortunately
This Christmas cartoon is just one year younger than am i. I can remember watching this every year for my entire life, until in recent years where it has been excluded from the networks. This is the story of two families that dwell within the same house; the Trundles, a human family whose father is a great clock maker and a mouse family, whose son Albert is too smart for his own good. Doubting the existence of Santa, Albert sends a letter to the north pole saying as much, but he signs it all of us, meaning the entire town shares in his belief. Because of this, Santa let's it be known that he will not be visiting the town by rejecting all letters that originate there. Father mouse and Mr. Trundle create a clock that will go off as Santa flies over the town, it will play a song, begging forgiveness and rejoicing in the fact that there is a Santa. Albert, being who he is explores the clock and breaks it. Will it be fixed in time to save Christmas?
This is a very heartwarming tale, and the songs are catchy and I find myself singing them for weeks after watching this. About the best family friendly Christmas cartoon there is out there.
The pinnacle of MP
I love this group of fellows. Everything they do is gold and this is the gold icing on the golden cake of their projects. We have here a very satirical look at the quest for the Holy Grail that legend says King Arthur undertook during the crusades. Every last bit of this movie is tongue in cheek and highly intelligently funny. If you do not like this movie, it is simply because you did not get the humor.
The 13th Warrior (1999)
Actually better than the book
This movie is based on the Chrichton book Eaters of the Dead. He wrote this book on kind of a bet to see if the legend of Beowulf could have arisen from actual events. While the book is good, this movie is the rare instance where it surpasses the source material.
This is the story of a traveling Arab, who comes to be known as Ibn and played by Antonio Banderas. He encounters a group of Vikings and is invited to join them for the evening. The next morning an envoy shows up with a tale of a villages under attack by a group that is invading villages and killing all. The envoy was sent to find help and the medicine woman is consulted. She sees in her bones that the tribe should send twelve warriors, plus one that is an outsider. The 13th warrior status is claimed by Ibn, albeit unwillingly.
After reaching the area that is under attack, the Vikings encounter the fire worm and discover that it is comprised of viscous men that slaughter villages for food, as in they eat their victims. The thirteen decide to seek out this group and kill them in their lair.
This is a very good movie. One could easily see this expanding into the legend that is Beowulf. As I stated previously, it far supersedes the source material and takes you on on heck of a ride.
The Fifth Element (1997)
That's no moon, that's the ultimate evil
Every five thousand years, the ultimate evil comes to Earth to destroy all life. There is no reason for this, nor for the amount of time that passes between visits. The only thing capable of stopping the ultimate evil is the supreme being, or fifth element. This, along with four stones that activate the fifth element into being the ultimate weapon are protected by a friendly alien race. The time has come and it is up to former military specialist Korben Dallas to help get Leeloo, the fifthe element, to a resort to regain the stones, and then back to Earth to defeat the ultimate evil. Of course there is the greedy human known as Zorg, that aligns himself with the ultimate evil in hopes of monetary gain.
This is a great movie, filled with visual scenes that are new and exciting as well as well written characters. Plenty of action to be had here as well.
Bruce Almighty (2003)
Extremely enjoyable film.
The is the story of Bruce Nolan, played by Jim Carrey. Bruce is living with his girlfriend Grace played by Jennifer Aniston, and they have a comfortable life together, but Bruce wants more. Constantly looked over for more serious work as a news reporter because of his naturally goofy demeanor, he covets the news lead job that is coming open. When this falls through, Bruce goes on a self destructive rampage, cursing out God the entire time, even taunting him. As luck would have it, be it bad or good, God was listening. He bestows unto Bruce all his powers, to see if Bruce can do a better job of being God than God does. Bruce goes down the path of fixing his life to where he feels he should be, but looses Grace in the process.
Morgan Freeman who plays God, is about the most talented actor out there, and does not disappoint in this all be it small role. The story is great with a lot of laughs thrown in. And yes, there is a moral to this story as well.
A disjointed mess
This was a total train wreck. Listen, I love Ashley Judd. I find her to be a capable actress and she can portray a wide variety of characters. Her acting was quite good in this movie, but that was the only redeeming quality. This movie was a mess and it made not a lick of sense.
If I could change the world.
I had heard the Eric Clapton song, If I could Change The World a long time before I had seen this movie. I knew the song was deep, but after having seen this film, which is where the song came from, it gave me a much deeper appreciation for it.
This is the story of George Malley, played perfectly by John Travolta. George is a simple man, not unintelligent, who owns his own garage in a small town. He has quite a few friends, but his two closest are the town Doctor, played by Robert Duvall, also excellently and Nate played by Forrest Whitaker. The town is so small that everyone knows everyone else. There is a single mother named Lace, played by Kyra Sedgwick, that is the object of George's affection, though it is not reciprocal. On the night of George's birthday, the town has a party at the local bar and as he is heading home, George sees a strange light in the sky, which knocks him off his feet. Slowly, George starts to develop powers that are not explainable. This is perhaps my favorite movie of all time. It explores that thing that makes us human, along with the need to be accepted and loved. This movie is perfectly cast and acted. 23 years later it still stands the test of time.
Chasing Amy (1997)
Smith at his best
My introduction to Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse was late. The first film in the group that I saw was Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I do not know how I missed the films that came before, except maybe that I live in Vermont and our exposure to movies that are not more mainstream is limited. But I digress. I watched this movie for the first time last night, though I have owned it for a while. I am glad that I finally got to see it.
This movie focuses on Holden and Banky, played by Ben Affleck and Jason Lee. They are co-creators of the Bluntman and Chronic comics based on Jay and Silent Bob. While at a comic-con, they meet Alyssa and Holden is instantly into her. While he tries to woo her, he finds out she is gay. Wanting to be around her, no matter what, something many a man can relate to, he befriends her and against his better judgement falls in love with her. This is a thoughtful, well written love story by Mr. Smith, who does not get enough credit in the industry. My only problem with this movie is that Jay and Silent Bob were only in one scene, as they are my favorite characters in these movies.
La guerre du feu (1981)
Agree this is underrated
This is a very thought provoking movie and unfortunately it has been far too long since I have seen it last. This movie takes place during the time on Earth where Homo-sapiens and Neanderthals were alive at the same time. It follows Individuals from one tribe trying to return with fire, which was power and a life giver.
Unfortunately I remember little more about this movie. I can say I remember the acting was extremely good and the cinematography was outstanding. This all stands out in my mind and it has been more than 30 years since I last saw this. Unfortunately finding a copy on this on DVD or Blu-ray is next to impossible. If yo get the chance to see this movie, I urgently encourage you to do so.
Disaster at its best
This movie came out in response to the belief that the Mayan calendar predicted the world would end in 2012.This story is centralizes around a failed author and his estranged family, and the lengths he is willing to travel to protect them all when humanity seems doomed. As with all disaster movies, do not expect great science or plot. I will tell you that out of all the disaster films I have seen, this one has some of the best, edge of your seat action sequences, Woody Harrelson steals the show as Charlie, the semi-crazy conspiracy nut, radio host.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Come on people.
How many times do I need to read other's reviews on disaster films before I remember most people on here writing these think they are actual film critics? It is a disaster movie. Yes, the science is terrible. Yes the coincidences are fantastical. If you watch these for ground breaking stories with rich plots, or for an Oscar worthy performance by one of the actors, then you are watching these for the wrong damn reasons.
This movie shows a future where due to the rise in global temperatures, a modern ice age is triggered. How it is ushered in is by these violent, giant hurricane-like storms that cause flash freezing, and bring in a myriad of disasters with them. These include tsunamis and blizzards that drop so many feet of snow that people are walking level with the signs on the interstate that you would normally drive under. It also tries to throw in a lot of relatable human elements, such as the struggle of a man that is an absentee parent because of his job, trying to connect with his son, a lonely boy dying of cancer, and just the human death that this kind of disaster would bring.
Do not watch this for the science, though I do feel that they had the causation of another ice age correct. Do not watch this for deep plot. Watch this for the enjoyable ride on which it takes you.
They say there is nothing new under the sun. But under the ground....
This is the story of a small town called Perfection. With a population of around 13, the perfection must lay in the rate of crime. Something is mysteriously making people strand themselves and die of thirst, which in the desert town is swift but not merciful. Those that do not commit unwilling suicide are found to have vanished. What could be doing this?
This movie features Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward at about their best. The supporting cast is equally as good with Reba McEntire and Michael Gross rounding it out nicely. I saw this when it came out in theaters and have watched it many a time after.
Alan Rickman was a an acting god
I would have loved to give this movie a higher rating, but the fact that Kevin Costner playing a British character and not being able to speak with the appropriate accent knocked off a few stars.
This is the story we all know and love, the story of Robin Hood, the man that steals from the rich and gives to the poor, told in its own unique way. This movie is cast with some of the best actors of the time. Kevin Costner is Robin with Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio as Maid Marion.They throw in Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater for good measure. But it is the late, great Alan Rickman that steals the movie. His flair and inflections and facial expressions make this movie. His Sheriff of Nottingham is perhaps my favorite iteration of the character in all the various forms I has seen him. This is a great retelling of a classic story.
Bad Santa (2003)
Great alternate Christmas movie
This movie is often as sad as it is funny. Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie, a professional thief that uses a job posing as Santa to rob malls, along with his Marcus, a little person that plays the elf and brains of the group. Willie is a hard core alcoholic and is seen pissing himself more often than not. This is not a feel good kind of movie, though there are some touching moments between Willie and a kid that he sort of unofficially adopts for sake of a place to stay.
As I said earlier though, there is a shadow of sadness over this movie as it does touch on the reality of life around the holidays and how difficult it is for some people to cope. This is a good movie that is a yearly holiday watch for me.
We all have our holiday favorites, movies or TV shows that we revisit each and every year, and this is mine. This is the story of the Griswalds and their debacle that is Christmas. Clark, Ellen, Audrey and Rusty set out to have "an old fashioned family Christmas", when all hell breaks loose, as is par for the course with this family. Both Clark's and Ellen's parents are invited and cousin Eddie and his family crash the party.
To me, this is the best of the Vacation movies. Even thirty years on most of the humor is still current enough to be relevant. Even though I will be watching this for the 30th time this year, I know I will still laugh along with their mishaps. If you have not yet welcomed this into your yearly holiday viewing, please do so this year and be ready to laugh.
Very thoughtful movie
This is the story of Leonard, a man trying to track down his wife's killer. The catch is Leonard suffers fro ma disorder where he cannot retain any new memories. I forget exactly how long this takes, but within minutes, if he has not written down something to remind him of what has just happened, it is lost to him forever. He has taken to tattooing clues on his body, so not to ever lose them. This movie is told from a different perspective that i do not believe has been repeated, in reverse. It is a great story and one that you need to pay attention to. It will linger on you mind long after having watched it. The ending is probably the best part. That and the fact that if you cannot remember what happened an hour ago, how can you know who to trust, including yourself...
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Hopkins' finest work
I was 18 when this came out and newly discovering what I liked in movies. In adolescence I was held hostage by what my family wanted to watch. I only preface this with that information because this was the very first film in which I was introduced to Sir Anthony Hopkins. What an introduction.
This is a story of a young FBI Trainee, for lack of a better term, brought on board and investigation into the kidnapping and murder of women. Agent Starling, played here flawlessly by Jodi Foster, is a psyche major. She is asked to talk to a notorious serial murderer name Hannibal Lecter, or Hannibal the cannibal, played by the Great Hopkins. It is hoped that Lecter can shed some light on who is perpetrating the murders, as his latest kidnapped victim is a senator's daughter. Foster and Hopkins are excellent together, and the story is solid. It does keep you wondering through the end if Buffalo Bill, the serial killer's nickname, will get caught. But seriously, Hopkins is what made this movie. The man is an acting god.
Really? 18 years old already?
I cannot believe that this film is 18 years old as I sit to write this. Having read the book and sat through the horrendous animated version of this from the 70's, or was it the 80's?, I was beside myself with excitement. Peter Jackson was tasked with bringing this sweeping epic to life on the big screen, and boy did he deliver. He basically divided up the book into three parts for the sake of transferring them to live action and include as much as possible. That was a wise choice, though in truth he could have done five or six movies and still not got everything in.
This first movie deals with the discovery that Bilbo Baggins had been in possession of the ring of power since his adventures as told in the Hobbit. There are dark forces seeking the one ring, and Gandalf tasks Bilbo's nephew Frodo with bringing the ring to the elves. Once there, there is a meeting of all the beings that make up middle Earth and it is decided that a fellowship shall be formed to see the ring safely to Mount Doom, where it was formed and the only place where it can be destroyed.
This film is gorgeous, It makes me want to visit New Zealand where it was filmed. At around three hours, it is still not enough and I was aghast at where it left you. That place is known as hanging. Even familiar with the story, I could not wait to see the sequel. This is definitely, along with the other two in the series, a must see before you die movie.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
When Harrison Ford was crapping gold
This is the first movie in the Indiana Jones series. It is also the best film in the series. Indy is hired by the US government to track down the sacred arc of the covenant. While he is on his quest the Nazis are also searching for the arc. This is a wonderful adventure story that covers many countries. Harrison Ford was born to play this role, and he does it with flair. After having seen this film quite a few times, you also get to pick out the Easter eggs that are scattered around. One hint is be on the lookout for two well known Star Wars droids.
I do not think that there was a better combination in the 80's than Lucas and Spielberg. This in everything you would want from an adventure movie and more.
The Nun (2018)
I would not describe myself as a fan of the Conjuring movies, but I did find them entertaining and at some points on the creepy/scary side. The demon of the nun was one of the creepier that were introduced. My god, I wanted to see this movie. I though it would be scary and enjoyable. What I was met with was typical Hollywood rushing out something they thought would be a hot commodity without putting any thought into it. The jump scares, which is what qualifies as a common horror trope now, were not even scary, you could see them coming from a mile away. What a turkey.
This is the first adult novel I had ever read. I think I was fourteen. The novel, so excellently written actually gave me chills. I have reread this book several times, and it still has that effect. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It is that good.
This movie does not do that. This movie is not that good. It is the story of a small Colorado town. The town doctor, Jenny, is returning with her younger sister, who is supposed to be 14 but is played by the clearly 20 something Rose McGowan. This age difference does take away a lot from the narrative. When the women get to town, everyone is either missing or dead. Fearing some contagion, jenny calls in the police from the next town. With the help of a scientist, they are tasked with solving the mystery of where everyone went.
Damn if this movie did not have A LOT of potential. Damn if it did not squander it all away.