Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Justice League (2017)

CGI crap. Every scene is a meaningless photograph with meaningless characters. Pretty much what you’d expect from Zack Snyder.

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The Shape of Water (2017)

Part fantasy, sci-fi, drama, romance, musical, and fairy tale, all blended together with a bit of whimsy. The caricature characters, a weird mix of accents, nostalgic sets, an appreciation of classic television and film, fun edits, and a French score by Alexandre Desplat give everything a timeless, Amélie feel. The…

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Labor Day (2013)

The emotional story, gentle pacing, slow beauty, and Gattlin Griffith’s soulful eyes give the movie a wonderful, melancholic feel. And good tension in many scenes, though a bit forced at times, keeps things interesting. Brolin has a great presence. I love how in his career, he has vacillated between playing…

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Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life (2018)

These guys both certainly have a gift for comedy and great chemistry. It’s fun to watch. You can tell that much of the show is rehearsed, but there’s just the right amount of ad-libbing and riffing and rolling with mistakes. The back-and-forth self-deprecation really defines their style. It’s really a…

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The Company (2003)

It’s Altman, so it’s aimless and boring. An almost documentary-like look at ballet. If you like ballet, see it. Classically trained Neve is impressive. I guess she and Franco wanted to add an Altman art film to their repertoires.

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)

As a kid, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood had unbelievably corny levels of friendliness and warmth. So over-the-top that it was often hard to watch. Who knew it was genuine and motivated such by a poignant and insightful philosophy? Rogers describes the first time he watched television. At the very inception of…

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Ready Player One (2018)

Kind of fun. The story and themes feel a lot like Avatar (entering a world as another character) and The Matrix (things you do in one world affect the other world). But it feels like a lot of story points were glossed over, perhaps because the story in the novel…

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Jurassic World (2015)

Good effects, but who cares anymore. These movies are just formulaic money grabs now.

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The Great Outdoors (1988)

Goofball, low-brow comedy, much in the same vein as Candy’s Summer Rental. Raccoons with subtitles and rock-themed circus music playing? Really? John Hughes intended to direct the picture himself. I wonder how much better it would have been if he had. Lucy Deakins is cute in a rebellious yet accessible…

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Slap Shot (1977)

Comedy from this era… Ugh. Though it’s fun seeing all the racial and gay jokes that would never be in a movie today. This is pretty much the story of Major League, isn’t it?

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

More of the same. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. Impressive cast of stars and cameos. Risqué shot with the finger.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

I think the critics are right when they say that there’s Star Wars fatigue. There have been a lot of these freakin’ movies now, and they’re coming out pretty frequently. To keep the momentum going, each film has to be at least as good as the last, and this one…

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Deadpool 2 (2018)

Pretty much what you’d expect in a sequel, with Reynolds doubling down on everything that made the first movie unique. But it goes a little too far. The movie is one big joke, and Reynolds makes sure to tell us this every few minutes. Being reminded in pretty much every…

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War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

An interesting reboot of the original storyline. I see how it’s all coming together, and I think I like it. Reeves is taking this franchise and running with it, and this is the best of the new bunch so far. Nicely paced. This one’s definitely slower paced and more dramatic…

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Nice little story, with a good mix of laugh and cry. With the fun characters, offbeat humor, obscure but interesting location, and Frances McDormand, it feels a lot like a Coen brothers movie. The mix of drama and comedy is delicate, though. If the comedy is any goofier, the whole…

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Phantom Thread (2017)

Awkward relationships and awkward pacing, mixed with beautiful costumes and sets, seductive camera movements, and a pleasantly simple score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. The whole thing has an odd feel. Unfortunately, it’s also slow as hell. There’s not much story here. Day-Lewis once again nails an eccentric, obsessed, and emotionally…

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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

A really impressive job weaving a complex soup of characters, storylines, styles, and humor into something understandable and entertaining. Lots of credit to the Russo brothers for bringing it all together without making a big mess of it. An amazing cast of characters, and an equally amazing job juggling their…

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Outbreak (1995)

I’ve always avoided this movie because I thought it would be typical mid-90’s fare: a cheesy, melodramatic, overscripted movie with stock characters, scientific types acting like complete idiots, an awkwardly shoehorned love story, and perfectly exposed, safe cinematography. I was right. How come Dustin Hoffman stopped making real movies? Spacey…

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Black Panther (2018)

The Marvel movies I like best are the ones that are the most plausible, the ones that tell a fantastic story but remain connected to our real world. This one was a little too mystical and magical for me. The only thing connecting it to the real world are a…

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Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

Goofy fun. Jam-packed with references, including an impressive number of cameos and authentic sets from older movies. Lots of attractive starlets and a young Chris Evans.

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Heartburn (1986)

Started out interesting, with a fast-paced and charming love affair. But the ensuing squabbles are a little scripted and forced. It’s apparent that this is a personal story written by someone who’s been hurt, but instead of a story of growth, redemption, or hope, it comes across as a whine…

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Roman Holiday (1953)

The location shooting and mobile camera stand out. Lots of great shots around Rome. Loved the pacing, tension, and gentleness of the last few moments. Hepburn was a cutie, wasn’t she? Lots of natural charisma for a 24-year-old, a ringer as she’d say. It’s no wonder she got the Oscar.…

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Torn Curtain (1966)

Decent spy thriller. Dark and suspenseful, which you can chalk up to Hitchcock. The setting is interesting. This is barely a generation after WWII, things are still kind of fresh. I like all the German language. You don’t have to know what they’re saying in these scenes, and it really…

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What the Health (2017)

Yet another in a long line of veggie movies. There are good explorations of dietary science and politics, and a lot of it is worth considering, but some of it is alarmist and distorted. To claim absolutely that we are biologically supposed to be vegetarians, going so far as to…

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

Good to get the guys together again, but kind of goofy. Some of the effects and action are pretty awful.

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The Best of Times (1986)

Awful. Decent cast, but who thought this would be a good movie to make?

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Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016)

Wish it was a bit funnier. Light and goofy, with a dumb ending. Gadot continues to be a magic combination of sultry and tough.

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The Girl on the Train (2016)

Moody and creepy and heavy as hell, much in the vein of Gone Girl. A little hard to follow at times with all the jumping around. Blunt is great at playing disturbed. Ferguson’s adorable, and Bennett is pretty foxy.

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Airplane! (1980)

One of the few movies of the early 80’s that really tried to be funny. This one established Abrahams and the Zuckers as the modern day godfathers of goofball comedy.

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Girl, Interrupted (1999)

This is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for girls, focusing more on emotional problems than just pure craziness. Nice cast. Ryder is impossibly cute, even when she’s crazy. She’s a pretty good actress, too. It’s a shame her career would go downhill shortly after this movie, due to what…

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Probably my favorite of series. A nice continuation of the story, though as with any extended franchise, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all the characters and place names. The Star Wars formula seems to be fantastic effects, mostly unknown actors turning in slightly campy performances, cheesy dialogue, cameos…

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Atomic Blonde (2017)

All style, no substance. Characters trying to outcool each other with dialogue, Tarantino-esque levels of nonsensical violence, and a 80’s soundtrack that is so in your face that it’s Baby Driver annoying. The punches and kicks and plot twists don’t matter because I don’t give a crap about any of…

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Shot Caller (2017)

Takes a bit long to figure out who this guy is and what his motivations are, so it’s a bit boring at first. But it kind of picks up. Seems like Waugh and Coster-Waldau’s trying to channel Bana’s Chopper or Hardy’s Bronson or Mikkelsen’s Pusher, but Coster-Waldau’s just not as…

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The Disaster Artist (2017)

Not a whole lot of story, but it’s kind of fun. Franco’s good, portraying Wiseau’s weirdness with a gentleness and innocence. Too many shaky, handheld closeups. The reenactments are impressive. I wonder how Wiseau is handling all of this attention. Everyone really is laughing at him, but at the same…

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Lion (2016)

Beautifully shot, well-paced. The quality acting, leisurely pace, and minimalist score really let us soak everything in. Heck of a debut for director Garth Davis. So nice to see Patel finally take on a dramatic role, and he nails it. He carries this film and proves that he can hang…

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Away (2016)

Takes a while for it all to come together, but it’s kind of sweet with an emotional ending. Spall is the real-life Droopy.

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Icarus (2017)

Started out like Super Size Me, where Fogel is a guinea pig in the spirit of documentary research. But it quickly changes course to a much larger story about Rodchenkov. This is the real meat of the film. In the end, the guinea pig segment is just a distraction that…

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Tower (2016)

An interesting story that most young people probably haven’t heard about, but I have mixed feelings about the animation and reenactments. The clean, colorful animation and the stark, white backgrounds for some of the interviews sterilize the whole experience. And the interviews with the younger versions of these adults are…

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Lots of silly, light-hearted humor from Waititi, and a few giggles. But I think that making the whole thing a light comedy is a dangerous choice. One of the reasons the Marvel movies have been so well-received and successful is because there is a concerted effort to make the stories…

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Your Name (2016)

Fun concept. The concept of interdimensional communication and love is reminiscent of Interstellar, and there’s an opportunity to make something really emotional here, but the story falls a little short, and it’s all a little too magical for me. Portrayal of gender roles will surely outrage today’s sensitive crowd, as…

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Hidden Figures (2016)

The filmmaking and dialogue are basic, science is dumbed down, and the race thing is a little on the nose.

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Tulip Fever (2017)

Interesting backstory for the film. Shot over three years ago. It’s not great, but not as horrible as everyone’s making it out to be. Part may be my attraction to this period of Dutch history. The story is a bit aimless at first, but the complicated love triangles eventually gain…

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Mudbound (2017)

A really well-made, authentic period piece that just feels right. Mostly steady camera and minimalist music and score allow us to concentrate on the characters and story. Pacing is perfect, editing is clean. It’s beautifully shot, with loving detail paid to the costumes and smaller sets, though I feel like…

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The Florida Project (2017)

As a meandering, art-house film set in Florida, this is the new Moonlight. Hardly any story, mostly a shaky camera following some kids around. If that was the goal of the film, well done. But it’s not for me. Despite the lack of story, the last scene did have some…

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Split (2016)

Definitely Shyamalan, with it’s suspense, minimalist editing, flashbacks to establish character, a touch of the supernatural, and a twist at the end. Some of his dialogue can seem a little scripted, though. McAvoy is great as a loony. Taylor-Joy’s pretty good, though perhaps a few too many shots of her…

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50/50 (2011)

Cute, inspirational story. Gordon-Levitt isn’t that annoying, actually pretty good. Rogen is his usual charming self. Kendrick is cute as always.

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Wonder (2017)

As this generation’s Mask, it’s heavy stuff. But the storytelling is a little confusing. Are we telling the story from the perspective of Auggie? His parents? His sister? His sister’s friend? Chbosky tried to make it interesting by telling a few different stories, or maybe that’s how the original novel…

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Anything Else (2003)

It seems like everyone in this movie is supposed to be Woody Allen. They’ve all got the same schtick: overly neurotic, nervous energy, monotonous philosophical drivel. In other movies, his actors can sometimes pull this off naturally (like Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris), but in this one, everyone seems…

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Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Pretty much everything that I had hoped for in a sequel. Villeneuve treated the story with reverence, paying homage to the original film and extending the story, visual style, and score with great care and creativity. A sci-fi epic. Villeneuve is helped by a rich, deep story with nice pacing,…

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Hold On (2016)

Well-shot. Definitely captures a mood, but not much of a story. Shorts can have more story than this, right? Characters and performances are authentic. Dagelet is entirely believable, and a talented musician to boot.

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Wind River (2017)

Nice little story in an exotic location. Well-made and beautifully shot, except for some needless shaky cam during some of the more emotional scenes. Casting and performances are all good, though there seems to be some occasional mumbling.

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Good cast. I think this one helped make Cera an icon for our hipster generation. Lots of goofy but quick humor, whimsical editing, fun graphics, and some pretty good fight scenes. Don’t know much about the graphic stories, but this was a fun movie.

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Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)

So formulaic and cheaply made. Statham’s still cool, but his movies are really getting shitty. For an old guy, he can still move. And Alba still looks great. Michelle Yeoh is wasted. Poor Tommy Lee Jones.

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Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)

90’s cheese.

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The Peanuts Movie (2015)

A collection of all the Peanuts plotlines over the years. Cleverly intertwined, but there’s not much story. Animation is really good, faithful to Schulz but updated with subtle 3D effects.

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10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

With the same creative team and a similar title, I thought this would be more of a sequel to Cloverfield. But while the themes and feel of the film is similar, the connection between the two stories is not really there. There is talk of a third Cloverfield film, which…

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More American Graffiti (1979)

Definitely a slice of the 70’s, both in its subject matter and style. The split screens, changing aspect ratios, and psychedelic animation are a bit distracting. Charles Martin Smith is kind of funny.

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Boulevard (2014)

Williams continues plunging into darker, more psychologically introspective, more dramatically challenging roles. Why did he go in this direction? This was one of his last films. Was he sensing his own mortality? Thin story, but it’s moody, and Williams seems very comfortable there.

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Get Out (2017)

Suspenseful, well-made, and some wonderful social commentary in there. Behind the story being told, there is a nice, gently explored angle on racism here. Kaluuya is good. For an English guy, he authentically conveys the American experience with perfect accent and mannerisms. He’s also good at crying. Allison Williams is…

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Mulholland Drive (2001)

If you spend 75% of the movie trying to tolerate completely horrible dialogue and acting and 25% trying to figure out WTF, that’s not a good movie. If you fail to find anyone smarter than you on the internet to explain what you just watched, then it’s not a good…

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Dunkirk (2017)

An experimental epic from Nolan. You can tell that a lot of care went into the film’s structure, visuals, and seat-shaking sound. The experience is visceral, and the action is riveting. Truly stunning visuals. Reviewers around the country are encouraging viewers to see it in IMAX, and for good reason.…

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What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Pretty funny. I had a grin on my face throughout. A lot like the British version of The Office with its mockumentary structure, quick dialogue, focus on the mundane, and comedic timing. Effects are very good and used just enough to to keep things interesting. To nitpick, I think it…

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John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

A collection of action scenes filled with unbelievably extreme brutality. The number of graphic, execution-style headshots in this one is just shocking. The story that loosely holds the whole thing together is pretty thin, with actors in just about every scene trying to outcool each other with crappy dialogue. The…

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Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Nice little sports movie. Impressive turn for Egerton, coming fresh off a role as stud in Kingsman: The Secret Service that put him on the map.

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Baby Driver (2017)

Some decent music, pretty good car chases, and some admittedly great editing, maybe even Oscar-worthy. But with a nearly nonexistent story, this is one of the most boring movies I’ve ever seen. The soundtrack, goofy anachronisms, and overly stylistic visuals act as icing on the worst cake you’ve ever had.…

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Gifted (2017)

The story is a bit formulaic, and the characters are a bit stock. It’s the performances that give the film a bit of warmth. Evans has looks, coolness, and subtle control of his expressions to effectively convey a full range of emotions. Grace is charming. Duncan is really good in…

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Wonder Woman (2017)

The relatively inexperienced Patty Jenkins takes on a huge project and does great. As Zack Snyder’s visually masturbatory direction threatens to cheapen the DC universe, Jenkins’ more traditional direction and storytelling allows for good character development while still remaining faithful to the Snyder look and feel. People and places are…

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Adam (1992)

Cute.

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Not Without My Handbag (1993)

Weird, almost Tim Burtonish. But it’s slow and drags a bit, even for a short.

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Wat’s Pig (1996)

Not bad. I’ve seen this story somewhere before.

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Creature Comforts (1989)

Park establishes what would be his signature claymation look. I love how the audio track is made of actual interviews of people. It definitely feels natural.

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Achtung Baby: A Classic Album Under Review (2007)

For a big fan, it’s an interesting look at the band during a transformative period. Playing music samples in the background would have been a great way to liven up the critical interviews, which tend to drag a bit.

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The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)

A tragic story about the injustice of war, one man’s existential journey and exploration of the failings of humanism in wartime, and a harrowing descent into madness. Thought-provoking, but a bit slow. Epic in scale, especially when considering that this long work is only part of a trilogy. Director Masaki…

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The Redemption: Kickboxer 5 (1995)

Direct to video is right. Dacascos is a nice specimen from the same mold as Brandon Lee, but this is a pile of crap. Odds of hitting three numbers in a row on that roulette wheel is 1/50,653, or 0.002%.

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House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Mystical kung fu with extravagant costumes on beautifully decorated sets, with slow-mo and and wire work to heighten the action, much in the vein of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The formula is getting old. Ziyi Zhang is a treat, and the kung fu is decent. But the story is lame,…

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That Thing You Do! (1996)

As an actor, Hanks’ roles have been very funny or very dramatic. This movie, though, is quite plain. Neither funny nor dramatic. It’s well-made, but there’s just not much to it. Why is that? Did Hanks just want some safe material so that he could give directing a shot and…

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Abortion: Stories Women Tell (2016)

Not a documentary of the biology and history and legality of the procedure as much as it is a profile of women who have dealt with it. A delicate, even-handed look at a very complicated social issue.

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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

This is a quality production. The story is deep and well-told, the effects are all motivated and realistic, and the musical numbers are well-choreographed and shot. The live-action retelling is new territory, but tis is one of Disney’s best. Watson does a great job. Overall, it’s a great cast, with…

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Keanu (2016)

Silly movie, but these guys are funny. Good cat footage.

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Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

A fun continuation of the story. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. Is the whole girl power thing is a joke? It’s a confusing message for those who take it seriously. A guy helps them make it all happen, and being slutty is ultimately what allows…

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Seven Samurai (1954)

A rich story for its time, with a nice, slow build to the climactic battle scenes, dynamic camera movements, and innovative lens choices. There are a lot of qualities here, and I see how the film has a place in film history. But it’s all a bit slow by today’s…

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Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004)

A boring film with a boring actor playing a seemingly boring real-life historical figure. Horner ripping off his own Braveheart themes was distractingly awful. Why are they playing Scottish music, anyway? I know the game originated there, but this movie is about a guy from the American south playing in…

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Doctor Strange (2016)

Good character development. I was skeptical, but Cumberbatch ended up being a good choice for the lead. I always found him to be a bit stiff, but he’s actually kind of funny in this one, and his American accent and personality is pretty authentic. The dialogue feels a bit stunted…

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Rogue One (2016)

People are making a big deal about it, but I don’t see it as any better than the rest of the movies in the franchise. Faithful to the look and feel of the other Star Wars movies, but if you take away the nostalgia and effects, the actual drama is…

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Moana (2016)

Creatively, it’s an interesting, and perhaps the most successful, Disney/Pixar collaboration. The story of innocence and growth, the respect for tradition and elders, the mystery of folklore, and all the musical numbers are pure Disney. The quality of the animation is pure Pixar, and it’s pretty great. Looks like they…

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Race (2016)

Pretty good casting with James. He nailed the running posture, I wonder if he got the personality right. Sudekis is quality. It’s a good story, but it’s all a little plain and formulaic. The football players all look and talk and sound like bullies, the Nazis all make mean faces.…

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John Wick (2014)

Pretty standard revenge story. The violence, polished visual style, and ambient funk rock techo laid on top of just about every scene helps to hide that this is a pretty boring and thin storyline. Reeves looks pretty cool, and it’s obvious that he did a lot of tactical training for…

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Sully (2016)

It’s a dramatic real-life story, but maybe it’s not dramatic enough for a movie. Eastwood did what he could with the source material, but I’m just not sure there’s enough there. Not sure that all the flashbacks improved the story. If they did anything, they distracted from the fact that…

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Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

Kind of interesting, but it’s all a bit weird. The story doesn’t really build, it just kind of hovers in this unfamiliar, unstable place where you’re not really sure what’s going to happen next or what ever should happen next. It sort of delivers in the end. Ejiofor and Tautou…

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Ghostbusters (2016)

Lame story, good effects, a few small giggles. The girls have good chemistry. McKinnon’s got some talent. Appreciated all the cameos.

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Tickled (2016)

Interesting and a bit scary. Farrier’s careful organization of the content and casual and friendly eloquence makes it a pleasure to watch.

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Hell or High Water (2016)

Another story about the Texas cop smarter than all the rest, like No Country for Old Men and Nocturnal Animals. Overrated. Pretty good shootout scene, but not much else. Story is thin, decent performances. Is Ben Foster trying to look shittier with every passing year?

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Exam (2009)

Noble effort to make a small, claustrophobic drama like 12 Angry Men, but the mood is ruined by the characters trying to outcool each other with dialogue. Whoever was pulling focus on this film should be fired. Many of the closeups are distractingly blurry.

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Marley & Me (2008)

Polished and easy to like with all of the fun actors, but it’s a bit weird thematically. This is a tragedy disguised as a comedy.

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Resident Evil (2002)

Awful. Jovovich is nice to look at in a few scenes, but that’s about all there is.

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X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Getting hard to keep all the stories straight. And to be honest, they’re all starting to get a bit repetitive. Quicksilver’s mansion run was good comedy.

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Logan (2017)

At the start, I’m confused about where and when we are. This is obviously a continuation of the X-Men story, but what has happened? Why are these the only mutants left? What happened to Magneto and all the others? I’ve been pretty faithful to the X-Men franchise, but did I…

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The Invitation (2015)

The characters, the actors who pay them, the way story is told… The whole thing oozes LA. Everybody is pretty and trendy and cool, hiding their insecurities and hollow lives with big smiles, well-timed laughs, and hipster fashions. The story is superficially tense, the scenes are are unrealistically awkward. Just…

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Moonlight (2016)

Bold subject matter, but Best Picture? If the award is given to the film with the boldest subject matter, and not the one which is most engaging or well-made or entertaining, then I think that’s a shame. Even more confusing is the Best Supporting Actor. He was only in the…

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Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005)

A couple of laughs and some hot women, but overall it’s pretty goofy.

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