Dave’s one-line movie reviews XV

February 8, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Posted in movie reviews, Numbskull observations, Reviews | Leave a comment
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As far as trips to the cinema, it’s been a light month, so to prevent my loyal followers (both of you) from having to go another month without hearing from me, I hit Netflix and Cable TV to find some fodder for my frivolous comments.  Then it occurred to me, do I really have to watch a movie to review it?  So, I’ve decided to use the branding “a brian williams review” to identify reviews of films I haven’t seen.

Paddington – a brian williams review.”  In this amazingly original concept, a talking stuffed animal lives with a family and gets into trouble.  Sort of a PG rated version of “Ted” where they say “darn” instead of “f*ck off.”

Making the rounds on cable television is “The Legend of Hercules,”  which must be the worst Hercules movie ever made.  Herc is played by a surfer dude on steroids, there are no monsters, bad stutter motion fighting effects, and no sex.  I mean, come on, Hercules is running around in a diaper and all the women are wrapped up like they were going to a church social.  At the end, Hercules gets an electric sword and good triumphs over evil.  Yeah, like that was really a spoiler.

The Other Woman” is a snorefest about a sleezy husband cheating on his mistress with a younger woman.  Besides a couple of shots of Kate Upton spilling out of her bikini, there is nothing worth watching.  Now that I think about it, it’s not worth watching the movie when you can find the Kate Upton bikini scene on YouTube.

Two Guns” benefits from the presence of Denzel Washington, but they won’t be putting this film in the American FIlm Institute Hall of Fame anytime soon.  Mark Wahlberg plays the same character as he did in “Ted” in this harmless shoot-em-up action film.  The credits say no chickens were harmed in the making of this movie, but it certainly looked real.

It seems I can’t get through a weekend without being coerced into watching a chick flick.  Last weekend it was “Begin Again.”  There’s these two people, they fall in love, then it cools down.  And I’m subjected to two hours of Keira Knightly singing folk music.  Where’s that bottle of Absolute?

The Miracle Worker” was on TCM Classics the same time as “Housewives of Beverly Hills.”  Luckily I DVR’d Miracle Worker so I didn’t have to miss either.  Although lacking in explosions, nudity, chase scenes, zombies or gun battles, Miracle Worker is a great drama that should be on everyone’s “must see” list.  Mrs. Robinson stars as a partially blind teacher come to help a deaf, blind mute who grows up into Catherine Margaret Rowan Lane.

Changing the channel after catching a rerun of the Wrath of Khan reboot,  Star Trek Into Darkness, who did I find but Captain Kirk/Chris Pine, this time staring in “Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit.”  There’s this Russian bad guy who wants to take down the American economy and Keira Knightly is back on my TV and there’s a bunch of shooting and explosions and car chases and Kevin Costner in his 83rd movie this the year as a benign but crusty this that or the other thing.

The Bag Man” is a straight to Netflix movie with John Cusack as a lovable psychotic killer and Amber Heard as a lovable prostitute with a heart of gold.  She walks around in a whore costume, he kills all the other actors, then Robert DeNiro shows up as a lovable murder-mentor and everybody kills everybody.  It’s the kind of movie you can put on pause while you go to CVS for some Advil and not feel like you’re missing out on the cinematic experience.

The Judge” with Robert Downy Jr and Robert Duvall is by far the gem of this bunch.  I’m not going to make any snide remarks for this review, and I’m going to violate my prime directive by suggesting if you haven’t seen it, you should.

I’m really excited about my next one-line movie reviews column, which I am actually starting to work on advance.  It will be a review of Reality television shows.  If you are looking for inane comments about inane entertainment, follow this blog so you will know the moment I click on the “Publish” button.  Until then, thank you for reading, and please feel free to share my column with your friends, followers and the other patients in your support group.

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Dave’s one-line movie reviews XIV

Dave’s one-line movie reviews XIII

Dave’s on-line movie reviews XII

Dave’s one-line movie reviews Number 1

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Dave’s one-line movie reviews XIII

December 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Daily blogs and thoughts, movie reviews, Numbskull observations, Reviews | Leave a comment
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At the top of my list for my favorite film this year is “The Imitation Game.”    Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than this.  A great cast and a great story about the world’s first computer nerd defeating the Nazis.  Unlike a Tarantino movie, this one’s true.  My prediction is Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch and Best Movie on Academy Awards night.

“The Skeleton Kids” wasn’t my kind of movie.  It was a unique story with an amazing cast who have come so far as actors since their Saturday Night Live days, but when it’s all said and done,  there was just nothing there for the Neanderthal in me except 94 minutes of neurotic characters realizing who they are.

Instead of whining neurotic characters, you might want to check out “Lone Survivor,” a tough to watch dramatization of a small squad of Navy Seals who run into a group of goat herders while on a mission in a remote area of Afghanistan.  This is a tense movie about people with real problems.

When the advertisement prominently displays Jane Fonda with a pair of double D’s that Russ Meyer would be proud of, you run to the theater.  However, after one short scene with a lot of prosthetic cleavage, you realize you’ve been bamboozled into yet another chick flick.  “This is Where I leave You” reminds me of The Big Chill without the 60’s soundtrack, another film with troupe of neurotic characters whining about their personal problems.

For some reason, it was my girlfriend’s choice to watch “Gone Girl.”  I don’t know if the chick network posted some bad info, or she just has a thing for Neil Patrick Harris, but this movie gets a definite thumbs up.  Rosmund Pike deserves an Oscar for her performance.  Gone Girl is about as much of a chick flick as Silence of the Lambs.

If you look at this year’s top grossing movies, you won’t find Jon Favreau’s “CHEF,” because instead of special effects they had a story, which seems to be an unfortunate trend these days.  Or maybe I’m just getting old.  The movie is fun, the Mom’s out there will enjoy it, Dads will empathize, and twitter fans will say “I told you so.”

Following his untimely death, any cable channel that had the rights to a Robin Williams movie broadcast it, so I finally got a chance to watch “Dead Poets Society.”   I’ve been a Robin Williams fan since day one, and I know he received a lot of accolades as an actor for this movie.  I’ll be nice and say check it out for yourself, but I don’t see why comedians also have to be actors to be considered successful.

When I heard about the concept of filming a movie over 12 years as the actors aged and could play the same role at different times in their life, I thought “12 disjointed stories edited into one long dull move.”  I was definitely wrong on that, and I’m glad I was talked into seeing “Boyhood,” an entertaining story following a boy growing up from the age of 5 to 18.  Skip Sons of Anarchy for one night and treat your mind to a great movie.

I’ve often said that any movie with Christopher Walken is a must see.  “Stand Up Guys” also adds Alan Arkin and Al Pacino.  The movie’s not particularly great, another aging gangster flick with Viagra jokes, but still worth a view.

And while you’re on Netflix, you might also take a look at “Inequality for All,” a documentary about the widening income gap in the USA.  If you’re a liberal democrat, you’ll yell “yeah!  just like I’ve been saying.”  If you’re a conservative right-winger, you’ll yell “socalist propaganda!”  I prefer to forgo judgement and just pay attention to the figures, which I found interesting.  If you read the newspaper even once in a while, I don’t think you’ll find any new revelations here, but I enjoy seeing a movie without explosions every once in a while.

This is the last review column for 2014.  Like big deal, right? New Years eve is two days away.  Thanks for reading and please share with your friends, your twitter feed and your parole officers.

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Dave’s one-line movie reviews XI

Dave’s one-line movie reviews X

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Dave’s one-line movie reviews XII

December 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Posted in movie reviews, Numbskull observations, Reviews | Leave a comment
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In my last post, I wrote that I had seen so many great movies that I didn’t know where to start.  No similar problems today.

“Interstellar” – Astronauts uncover a monolith buried on the moon by aliens, and when the first sunlight strikes it, it sends a powerful radio beam to Jupiter.  A mission to Jupiter discovers a wormhole there, and the one remaining astronaut goes through the wormhole to a different dimension where aliens and funny colors mesmerize the audience.  Oh sorry, I was describing “2001: A Space Odyssey.”  What’s the difference?  In 2001, the computer becomes neurotic and tries to kill the crew.  In Interstellar, an actor who emotes like a computer does the same.

Jersey Boys” – How can a collaboration between Clint Eastwood and Christopher Walken be anything but good?  Not a fan of Broadway musicals, I had no real desire to see this movie, but when the Mrs. and I couldn’t agree on a zombie movie, it was either this or a Julia Roberts chick flick.  Jersey Boys was a really fun movie.  Clint – I’m sorry I doubted you.

Oblivion” – Another post-apocalypse movie that answers the universal question, will Morgan Freeman wear a cape in the future?  Good special effects, if that’s what you’re looking for.

RIPD” – I’m not positive, but I think this was an attempt at a sequel to the Coen brothers version of “True Grit” but the filmmakers didn’t want to pay royalties for character rights.  The basic story line is that when a cop gets murdered, he has to join the police force in the “next world” where they fight the undead.  Lots of action, and Jeff Bridges always gives a performance worth watching.

The Family” – I’ve got to admit, as long as Ben Stiller isn’t in the cast, Robert DeNiro can make even the silliest movies worth watching.  There’s nothing amazingly original here: you’ve got the gangster in the witness protection program, the wise-ass kids, the tough as nails mom who will do anything to protect her kids and Tommy Lee Jones playing the benevolent but devoted cop.  Throw in some gun fights, a few explosions and you’ve got a movie.

Cold Light of Day” – Stock broker turned secret agent defeats the CIA and a bunch of bad guys after some incessant chase scenes, gunfights and intrigue.  I’m sorry, but if a movie starts out on a beach in France, I expect topless sun-worshipers, not Bruce Willis.

“Lord of War” –  Nicolas Cage is a Ukrainian immigrant who becomes an arms dealer, marries a super model, evades capture by the FBI and sells weapons to African war-lords.  Now, that’s a cool job title, “war-lord.”  Where do you go to college for that?  Cage keeps talking to the camera to try to give the film a “cinéma vérité” look,  but I know a movie that’s just an excuse to blow things up when I see it.  Lord of War is definitely worth a viewing, but don’t expect a lot of deep introspection on the human condition.

All is Lost” – Robert Redford lost at sea as his sailboat falls apart over the two hour length of the movie.  I actually loved the film, but a lot of viewers may be turned off by the lack of dialogue.  You could compare this to Tom Hanks in “Castaway,” only Redford doesn’t have a volleyball to talk to.   Too bad they couldn’t fit the  Sundance Kid’s line “I can’t swim” into this movie, it would have been a nice homage to a great actor’s career.

Dave’s one-line movie reviews X

June 4, 2014 at 1:14 am | Posted in Daily blogs and thoughts, movie reviews, Numbskull observations, Reviews | Leave a comment
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While I haven’t gotten out to the cinema in quite a few months, I’ve been eagerly catching up on old and missed movies, courtesy of Netflix and Cablevision.  I’m also proud to report that this is the tenth installment of my one-line movie reviews.  Sorry to disappoint readers who thought Movie Reviews X meant pornographic films.

“Taming of the Shrew” – I really like this Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor version of the Shakespeare play.  This somewhat vulgar male-fantasy of how to “tame” a woman is easy to follow for those who can’t handle 3 syllable words or who think Shakespeare is too difficult.  As far as the Burton-Taylor match up, think about Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf as a comedy.

Las Vegas” –  Hey, here’s an idea:  Let’s take 4 of Hollywood’s highest box-office draw actors and put them in a hotel with a bunch of young girls and call it a movie.  Funny thing is, I like all the actors, I just couldn’t stay awake for the whole movie. “The Hangover” meets “Cocoon.”

The Campaign” –  Okay, Will Ferrell is a box office draw. Zach Galifianakis (hope I spelled that right) is the latest up and coming comic movie star, plus he looks a little like Seth Rogen.  Let’s put them together in a rewrite of “Mr. Smith goes to Washington.”   Folks, you’ve probably seen this before.  As usual, the stars deliver the laughs, but there’s no new territory covered here.

Kiss the Girls” – There’s a psychopath who’s kidnapping girls, and a police detective’s young niece is missing.  Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd provide the marquee names for another movie about tormenting helpless beautiful young women.  A few twists, but you know how this is going to end before the opening credits are over.

The Attack” –  A brilliant Arab surgeon, living in Israel, deals with the trauma of his wife’s death.  Turns out she led a secret life as a suicide bomber.  Well, a suicide bomber trainee.  You can only perform that task once.  Interesting film about loyalty, being an outcast, and wanting to find the truth, even if you don’t want to know.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” – Two and a half hours of glorified crime starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman.  A perfect example of a 1960’s movie: you’ve got rebels, authority, some civil disobedience, lovable villains for pathos and a beautiful woman for good measure.

Blackthorne” – Sequel to Butch Cassidy et al with Sam Shepard as the aging outlaw.  No Raindrops on my head, no Redford or Newman, and no Academy Awards going out for this one, but watchable if you’re a fan of western movies.

“The Sting” – Since Butch and Sundance got killed at the end, we need another way to make a sequel.   Throw in Robert Shaw for kicks, and it’s guaranteed boxoffice.  If only Katherine Ross was available…

Saving Mr. Banks” – Mary Poppins without the singing penguins.  A good cast pulls it off, but when it’s all over I kind of thought “so what?”  Still, it’s about time a movie character’s psychological issues weren’t blamed on their mother.

“Stranger Among Us” – You probably don’t remember this one.  Detective blonde-haired helium-voiced Melanie Griffith pretending she’s an orthodox Jew in Brooklyn to catch a murder.  Oh, that’s believable.  If you can buy that, I’ve got a bridge in the same neighborhood I can give you a great deal on.

Three O’Clock High” –  This small film is a well made, fast moving high school comedy that doesn’t have anyone farting or getting drunk in the lavatory.  An early Jeffrey Tambor vehicle, good for kids and adults.

Amistad” – I don’t know how I missed this when it first came out, but this Spielberg courtroom drama about slavery is both fascinating in its story, and revolting in its depiction of the slave trade.  After watching how bad some people can be, you can’t help but wonder when the next flood’s coming.

Private Parts” –  If you like Howard Stern, you’ll like this movie.  If you don’t like Howard Stern, you’ll probably still like this movie.  Funny and entertaining.

Jobs” – Whenever I see Ashton Kutcher, I can’t help but think about “That 70’s Show.”  Still, the movie is an interesting bio on the first half of Steve Jobs career, and the Jobs makeup is good too.  I don’t know how truthful it is, but I do remember the “Lisa.”  Maniacal, driven people are always fun to watch.

Grindhouse: Planet Terror” –  Remember when a movie could be so bad that it was good?  Planet Terror is an homage to all those bad, good movies.  Directed by the Quentin Little Me Rodriguez, what can be bad about Rose McGowan fitted with an Assault Rifle artificial leg?  Still, I was disappointed to find out it was CGI instead of a real gun.

Red 2″ – I never sat through the entire “Red” movie; it always seems to be half over whenever I catch it on HBO.  The sequel is pretty much what I remember from the original:  explosions, chases, Bruce Willis & Helen Mirren shooting people and John Malkovich providing the comic relief as the nerdy homicidal computer geek.  Still, you’ve got to love a movie with lines like “I want to defect to Iran.”

Dave’s one-line movie reviews IX

March 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Posted in Daily blogs and thoughts, movie reviews, Numbskull observations | Leave a comment
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Sorry I haven’t posted any reviews in the past month.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks, I’m working on a scuba diving blog and  a medical training video script (which I can’t share).  I haven’t been to the movie theater in over two months, so I’m going to have to review only “available on TV” movies.  There’s a few new ones and a few older ones, the choice in films being completely at the whims of my insomnia and drinking problems.

“Admission” with Tina Fey and Justin Bateman.  Er, Paul Rudd.  Sorry, I always get them confused.  A few plot twists as some off-beat student tries to get into Harvard.  Er, Princeton.  That memory problem again.  Lily Tomlin steals the show as Tina Fey’s redneck mother.   I enjoyed the movie, and would much prefer it to a visit to the dentist.

“Arbitrage.”  With a name like that, I thought this was going to be a Wolf of Wall Street kind of film, but it was more of a sneaky husband cheating on his wife movie.  Richard Gere is always enjoyable to watch, but I prefer Susan Sarandon when she sings ” touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me.”

Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies.”  I’m trying to review movies that begin with the letter “A” this time.   This film covers the time period between the battle at Gettysburg and Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.  You see, a Zombie infection has fallen upon a Confederate fort and Honest Abe leads a battalion of tuxedo dressed secret service agents to decapitate the walking dead in this gore fest.  Hmm, don’t remember any of that from History 101.  Lots of violence, and a very Hamlet-esque scene where John Wilkes Booth tries to assassinate Lincoln.   Emancipate this!

Enough with the “A” list.

“Dallas Buyers Club” –  Great movie.  By now, you’ve probably heard about the plot and the star.  If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor: go to your living room couch, dig out the change behind the pillows, and rent this movie.  The cast is great.  As usual, the government and big pharma are the bad guys.

“W” – The George Bush story staring Josh Brolin.  The movie needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  Obviously the director, Oliver Stone, isn’t  president of the local branch of the  GWBush Fan Club.  The story is a biography of a bull locked in a China shop.  Enjoy the fun as he breaks everything.    Elizabeth Banks is stunning as usual.

“Sea Beast” – Invisible amphibious monsters slaughter and kill the locals in this low budget made for DVD film.  Think “Predator” vs. “Humanoids from the Deep.”  (go look that one up.)  CG effects are about sophmore college level.  An armed posse is slaughtered by the mosters, but teenagers with knifes defeat them.  Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler,  you knew how it was going to end.

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