Drag Me To Hell (2009)

0

Posted on by

Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me To Hell

A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.

Not much to say on this one. What could have been a creepily-fun horror flick is ruined by ridiculous grossness aimed at making the audience nauseous. Gets one on the Word of Mouth Scale because some (mostly teenage boys) are into that sort of thing.

It does well with critics & audience reviewers, so…you may enjoy it.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 92%; Users 79%

The Conscientious Objector (2004)

0

Posted on by

The Conscientious Objector

If Hollywood were to make a feature based on the heroics of Desmond Doss during World War II, most viewers would dismiss it as far-fetched nonsense. Terry L. Benedict’s documentary about Doss, “The Conscientious Objector”, illustrates how truth can often outdo fiction.
 
It’s hard to imagine a greater combination of morality, religious faith and courage than that which emerges in this story of an aging Virginian who received a Congressional Medal of Honor from President Truman.

D has a great talent for finding small movies, indie gems and documentary gold. This week he found the compellingly told story of a Medal of Honor winner that NetFlix was streaming. When he put it on, I didn’t expect to be sucked in to the narrative. Boy was I wrong.

I found myself exclaiming “Wow” out loud, more than once. Truly a story that sounds like the stuff of a dime-store WWII paperback novel, told here by the men that actually lived through it.

If you want to know the specifics of the CMH citation, you can read it here, but I would recommend watching the film. So much more compelling to make the full journey with Doss from childhood through “outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty”.

A rare 5 of 5 on the Word of Mouth scale because I can’t imagine anyone in my circle who would not appreciate this well made flick.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics N/A; Audience 88%

Up (2009)

2

Posted on by

Up

By tying thousands of balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn’t alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.

This gets a rare 5 of 5 rating for me, as there is something for everyone. Romance, adventure, comedy, drama…all well done and all palatable to young, old, male, female. You’ll remember that my ratings are based not only on the quality of the product, but on the likelihood of my recommending it to my family and friends. A perfect score of 5, therefore, doesn’t mean I think this is a perfect movie – just that I believe it will appeal to most everyone I know.

In tracking down the Rotten Tomatoes rating, I found this review by Ian Freer that tells you all you need to know. Here is an excerpt:

It’s a character study of a cantankerous old git. It’s a buddy movie where the buddies are separated by 70 years. It’s a love story where the love transcends death.

Verdict

If it had lived up to its golden first five minutes, Up would have been the film of the decade. As it is, it remains the best animated flick of 2009, a funny, moving, beautifully made argument that dreamers can move mountains.

In that golden beginning is one of the most touching montages, animated or otherwise, you are ever likely to see.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98% critics; 94% users

The Dark Knight (2008)

0

Posted on by

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

When Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent launch an assault on the mob, they let the clown out of the box, the Joker, bent on turning Gotham on itself and bringing any heroes down to his level.

Heath Ledger won The Golden Globe which reminds me of something. I’m sure this will get me no end of flaming comments, but here goes….

I saw The Dark Knight, and it was fine. It was a Batman movie, it was enjoyable – but it was nothing near what the hype suggested it would be.


* I can’t stand Katie Holmes. I think her acting is just fine, but her personal life has rendered her nearly intolerable. However, replacing her with Maggie Gyllenhaal was ridiculous. Gyllenhaal was nowhere near appealing enough to have us believing the major characters were both in love with her. Holmes is much more attractive physically and as Rachel Dawes.

* Christian Bale is one of my favorite actors, ever since his appearance in Empire of the Sun. He is a performer who you can count on to deliver a quality performance, and in Batman Begins, I think he did. For some reason, this time out, he decided to adopt an odd verbal style. While in the suit, he was nearly unintelligible. His first foray as Batman was great, this time I wanted to smack him upside the head and yell, “spit it out!”

* And, this will really get me in trouble, Heath Ledger . . . not that great. Much like his performance in Brokeback Mountain, where he did a poor imitation of Karl Childers, Ledger relies on affectation rather than acting. It is tragic that he died, but that doesn’t make his performance better – it makes it poignant and sad, but not better. I didn’t feel anything for this Joker but confusion – as to whether it would have gotten anywhere near the positive press if Ledger hadn’t died. I have nothing against the guy, but seriously, if you watch that performance objectively, does it truly deserve to effusive praise that has been heaped upon it?

All in all, The Dark Knight was full up to the brim with overacting. The early Batman films were big, cartoony movies – overacting fit. These latest films seemed to be aiming at more grown-up, more serious – the performances should be tailored to fit.

In the words of another comic book hero, “Flame on”


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 94%, Users 93%

UPDATE: I seem to agree with this guy

Shirley Valentine (1989)

2

Posted on by

Shirley Valentine

Shirley’s a middle-aged Liverpool housewife, who finds herself talking to the wall while she prepares her husband’s chip’n’egg, wondering what happened to her life. She compares scenes in her current life with what she used to be like and feels she’s stagnated and in a rut. But when her best friend wins an all-expenses-paid vacation to Greece for two, Shirley begins to see the world, and herself, in a different light.

One of my favorite flicks for many reasons. It completely reinforces my trip to Greece fantasy. It illuminates the drawbacks of a small life, and highlights the options. It makes being “of a certain age” seem a bit more palatable. It has several laugh out loud lines, along with all the chuckles. It also has a great message and some very touching moments. It has gorgeous scenery. It has Tom Conti 😀

Shirley Valentine is an anthem to the freedom of the soul–with a generous dose of salt of the earth.

I have yet to see Mamma Mia, but I doubt it will replace Shirley Valentine on my “chick flick set in Greece” list. The only reason it doesn’t get the full five stars is because of the chick-flickiness….and some bad language…and nudity.

If you haven’t yet seen it, rent it soon. You may not love it as much as I do, but you are sure to be entertained.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 73%; Users 76%

Baby Mama (2008)

0

Posted on by

Baby Mama

Baby Mama

Successful, single businesswoman Kate Holbrook has long put her career ahead of a personal life. Now 37, she’s determined to have a kid on her own. But her plan is thrown a curve ball after she discovers she has only a million-to-one chance of getting pregnant. Undaunted, the driven Kate allows South Philly working girl Angie Ostrowiski to become her unlikely surrogate.

Simple, predictable, treacly premise…in anyone else’s hands. In the hands of Fey & Poehler, it is a hit. It definitely manages to touch a nerve, but with humor. Combine Fey’s wit with some great casting and you are guaranteed a good time.

Poehler’s Angie was a bit over-the-top (is there ever a time she isn’t over the top?) but the obnoxious behavior at the outset is necessary to illustrate the journey her character, and Fey’s, travels.

Greg Kinnear always adds to a movie and this is no exception. When I see him on screen I know I will enjoy his performance, even if the rest of the movie sucks.

A nice surprise is Romany Malco as the over-involved doorman – with a heart of gold 😉 Even with all the lines she gave him, the part could have been a throw-away in lesser hands (or, more likely, considerably overplayed) He keeps you laughing

Steve Martin is one of my faves, more as a writer than a performer, and his part here seems more stunt (or homage) than anything else. It works fine, but was unnecessary. Sigourney Weaver pulls off her bit quite well, though I never really connected to what she was trying to convey – is she a good guy or a bad guy? Compassionate or opportunistic?

In supporting roles we have Maura Tierney (good), Holland Taylor (fabulous), and several SNL alums (fine).

I did have a few nit-picky complaints, though nothing serious enough to be a deal breaker (see below, they’re spoilers). You don’t need to see this on the big screen, though, unless you want to see it NOW.


Rotten Tomatoes: critics 61%; users 69%;

the spoilers: Continue reading →

Iron Man (2008)

0

Posted on by

Iron Man

Iron Man

Based on yet another Marvel series, Iron Man has plenty of things going for it, the main assets being an enjoyably sardonic Downey, his hardware, and the downturned mouth of his new metal visage – a warning that this self-styled messiah means business.

~ Tim Robey; Daily Telegraph

 

Just a quick note because I have to get to work: very well done, definitely worth your time to see on the big screen. Not much graphic violence, not much sex, great cast (except Gwyneth Paltrow, and she is fine, not good, but OK)

Robert Downey Jr owns this movie, as usual.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 94%; Users 87%

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 17 18