Dave’s one-line movie reviews XVI

June 4, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Posted in movie reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment
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Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written any movie reviews.  I guess with all the important news about Bruce Jenner and Deflategate, I’ve been distracted from my obligation to keep my readers entertained.  And now with a Presidential election only 17 months away, the media will be driving me nuts, vying for my attention.  Luckily, I keep a list of everything I watch that’s appropriate for this column, so without further delay, here’s a list of what my eyeballs have been pinned to.

Ex Machina” was really good, and had enough plot twists to keep anyone engaged.  Well, I figured it out about halfway through, but then again, I am a film critic.  (yeah – right!)  Half naked transparent robot ladies are cool to look at too.  Think of this as 2001: a Space Odyssey meets Cherry 2000.

American Sniper” is a gritty thriller about what it’s like to be an Army ranger sniper.  Having never been a sniper, I have no idea how realistic the story is, but it was definitely a good movie.  Jodi sat through it without even complaining, and I didn’t have to watch a chick-flick in repayment, although I’d hardly call this a “date movie.”  Clint Eastwood was fun to watch as an actor, but as a Director he continues to turn out entertaining and thought provoking movies.  And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Whiplash”  Here the story – J.K. Simmons, who doesn’t seem to have a real first name, is a very intense band teacher at some fancy school for gifted student musicians.  I never thought I’d want to watch a 90 minute film about drums.  Now that I’ve seen it, I still don’t.  Now, a naked lady on the oboe, that’s for me.

Stonehurst Asylum” with Ben Kingsley, Michael Caine and Kate Beckinsdale, was a Netflix ditty a few months ago.  With a cast like this and the set design and costumes, this movie must have cost a bundle to produce, yet I believe it went straight to Netflix.  Then again, who would pay $14.00 to watch a bunch of dull actors whine away for two hours?

“Lee Daniels The Butler” was a great film, but I don’t know why Director Lee Daniels had to put his name in front of the title.  I mean, if everyone did that, titles would become so long that it would make it impossible to get movie memorabilia key chains at Universal Theme park.  Forrest Whitaker gave a great performance and Oprah Winfrey doesn’t get beat up in this film.

Speaking of Oprah Winfrey, “Selma” is a fantastic movie that you must see.  Reprising her role from “The Color Purple,” Oprah again gets beat up.   “Selma” was one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, although I must admit that it makes me a little bit ashamed to be Caucasian.

Bad Words” is Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, and I think he plays a great straight man in Arrested Development.  However, Bad Words was a snoozer for me.  I couldn’t make it through the entire film, I tried for three nights, and I like foul mouthed cursing movies.  There are definitely a bunch of belly laughs in there, it just couldn’t hold my interest.  But then again, maybe I couldn’t stay awake because of my drinking problem so you might like it better.

3 Days to Kill” has Kevin Costner portraying Liam Neeson.  You know, an old grey guy running around with a gun killing everyone in sight.  (I don’t know if Costner follows that up with any public statements condemning gun violence.)  It was an okay action movie, some kind of plot about secret cancer cures or something like that.  Think of “Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit” with Amber Heard instead of Keira Knightly.

“Avengers – Age of Ultron – a brian williams review.”  Welcome to this week’s review of a movie I haven’t seen.  In “…Ultron,” a bunch of old guys in Spandex blow stuff up and save the world.  A few funny lines, lots of fights and explosions, and Scarlett Johansson looking pretty.  There’s some character named the Masked Asgardian, and as I haven’t seen the movie, I don’t know what that means, but I don’t want him standing behind me on the line at the snack stand.

I know that in my last column I promised a series of reviews about Reality television, but I’ve been so busy watching test patterns on the high channels that I haven’t had a chance.  Patience grasshopper – patience.

As always, please share this column with your friends, family and the guys in the cells around yours.

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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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January 6, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Posted in movie reviews, Reviews | 1 Comment
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Here we are in 2015.  The past week has been great, I’ve enjoyed a “stay-cation,” which means hanging around the house, doing some chores, sleeping late, eating out and catching up on a lot of movies on TV and Netflix.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been to the cinema since Christmas, but plan to make several visits in the coming weeks which I will share with you avid readers.  But there’s still lots of movies to talk about, so in no particular order, here we go:

her”  The lower case was their idea.  Is this an allegorical tale about current society’s growing addiction to electronic communication at the expense of human interaction?   Or is it a cleverly disguised advertisement for Apple computer products?  Do you really care? A better use of your time would be to shove a pencil into your eye socket and go to the emergency room seeking human interaction from an internist.

Nebraska” is  like that quirky Saturday Night Live sketch that starts at 12:45 AM, only Nebraska is funny and worth watching.  My only concern is I’m afraid all mid-westerner’s are going to think that anyone who lives on the east coast thinks this is what mid-westerner’s are like.

We’re the Millers” is a crude comedy that delivers a few laughs, and not one, not two, but three scenes of Jennifer Aniston, looking darn good at 45, dancing a striptease in her underwear.   Jason Sudeikis plays the same part he usually does and Ed Helms hams it up well, this time with all his teeth.

Walk of Shame” is another crude comedy that delivers a few laughs, but this time we have Elizabeth Banks in a tight dress, looking darn good at 40 years old.  As long as Hollywood has beautiful skinny actresses, I guess we’ll be getting a lot of T&A comedies.  Perhaps some smart movie exec is working on “The Millers Walk of Shame” for next year.

Labor Day.”  Long story about escaped convict James Brolin teaching a young boy how to make peach pies while Kate Winslet gets tied to a chair.  The boy grows up and turns into Tobey Maguire and starts a bakery.  Sorry – I just gave the plot away.  Well, the “entertainment” is in the getting there.

Eternal Spotlight of the Sunshine Mind.”  A highly rated movie by Charles Kaufman, who prefers abstraction to storytelling.  Great cast, enjoyable story.  I’m not sure if it’s a bad Woody Allen movie watched while taking good acid, or a good Woody Allen movie watched taking bad acid.

“The Last Exorcism 2“.  Just because I haven’t seen the film, does that mean I shouldn’t write a review?  All I can ask is how can you make a sequel to something that was called “The Last….”

Thank You for Smoking” is one of the best films of the past decade.  I guess the actors all got paid scale, because they’re all well known talent but the budget was only 6.5 Million.  They obviously spent the money on story, because they got it right.  I’d put this movie in the same category as 1976’s “Network,” and if you want to call yourself a film-goer, you should make sure you’ve seen both.

Draft Day” was a fun movie, even though the visual effects were really cheesy.  While not a fan of football movies, I enjoyed the story about the wheeling and dealings behind the scenes.  This is sort of a football version of “Moneyball,”  and Kevin Costner shows he’s still got it.

Talking about Kevin Costner, “JFK” is making the rounds on cable television.  The plot is entertaining but the movie is really a three hour Oliver Stone tirade against the Warren Commission.  If you want a good movie, by all means watch it, but if you’re interested in JFK assassination conspiracies, there are a lot of well researched books out there that will give far more balanced information.

The Godfather“, “Godfather 2” and “Godfather 3” are also making the rounds on cable television.  The original “Godfather” is a classic crime thriller and an engaging character study of the effects of power on a character.  For all you youngsters out there, “Godfather” is one of the pioneer flicks for gunshot wound special effects.  “Godfather 2” is often described by critics as being better than “Godfather 1.”  Without judgement, I’ll say they’re both worth watching.  “Godfather 3?”   Hmmm, I don’t want to say anything bad, the Corleone’s might be reading.

Thanks for reading and please share my blog with your friends, therapists and probation officers.

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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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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.

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