Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Last Witch Hunter

This was honestly god awful, and Diesel just sleep-walked through it. Who green lit this project? Ugh. 1.5/5

The Last Witch Hunter on Netflix

Monday, February 8, 2016

Very Young Girls

Lately I've been watching a lot of documentaries about the sexual exploitation and trafficking of young girls in the US. Up until about two years year ago, I didn't realize what a problem sex trafficking was for this country, and now that I'm learning more it's just terrifying. "Very Young Girls" talks about how the average age of entry into sex-trafficked prostitution in New York City is only 13 years old. If that thought doesn't sober you immediately, then listening to the stories these young girls tell about their years being trafficked will. A sobering and enlightening look into the lives and redemptions of these girls. 4.5/5

Very Young Girls on Netflix

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Closer to the Moon

This black comedy has great action & acting butt plot that doesn't deliver the emotional depths needed. 3/5

Closer to the Moon on Netflix

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Jurassic World

I expected this to be terrible, but it was actually quite fun with really good action. Granted, Chris Pratt is wasted, as are most of the actors with the exception of Jake Johnson, who was great. A fun film, certainly better than Jurassic Park 2 or 3. 4/5

Jurassic World on Netflix

Thursday, February 4, 2016

American Ultra

As Jesse Eisenberg is a fantastic actor who makes great movie choices I will literally watch anything that he's in, and rarely be disappointed. This action comedy was no exception. It was witty, quirky, action packed, and had great performances from everyone. And yes, that includes Kristen Stewart, who was surprisingly effective in this. Definitely a good time. 4/5

American Ultra on Netflix

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

George Washington

I rented this film after having conflicting experiences with two other movies by David Gordon Green, and I was interested to see some of his early work. After this, I am still conflicted. On the one hand, this film is shot with a languid beauty that belies the ugliness and bleakness of the film's setting. On the other, the children that star in this film are not great actors - in fact, I often found myself dragged out of the plot by the weakness of the acting. The script to me felt disjointed and scattered, with long, drawn-out scenes that sometimes took me too far away from the plot and message of the film. And yet, despite these flaws, I found myself rather captivated by it, and I can see why Green drew high praise from many for this effort. For me it was a noble failure, but I can see the genius that lies within it. 3/5

George Washington on Netflix

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Heist

Dave Bautista is actually a damn fine & natural actor. Gina Carano, however, is not. Good plot, solid action. 3.5/5

Heist on Netflix

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Riot Club

An interesting story with solid acting but told rather poorly & spottily. More character depth was needed. 3/5

The Riot Club on Netflix

Friday, January 29, 2016

Happy Christmas

I love Mumblecore, but even I couldn't get past how bad this was on every level. Not good at all. 2/5

Happy Christmas on Netflix

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Time Out of Mind

I am so profoundly moved by this movie that I barely have words. I've been crying on and off for the better part of a half hour now, and I'm still shaken to the core by this film. Before I say anything else, let me say this - Richard Gere deserved an Oscar nomination for this. This was the performance of a lifetime, done with incredibly subtlety and with precious few words. The range of emotions he was able to profess with virtually no dialogue was simply astounding - there are no words for it. The director captured the bleak landscape of the homeless in a darkly poetic fashion. We saw Gere's character as the world would - through a dirty pane of glass, from across a crowded street, over a sea of shoulders. It was tragic and dark and yet gorgeously beautiful. At ninety minutes in, Gere shows why he was one of very few people that could have played this role, by displaying a talent rarer still than his tremendous acting was. I won't say more for fear of spoiling the moment, as I hope anyone reading this review will rent this movie with haste. Please do - it is magical. 5/5

Time Out of Mind on Netflix

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Stanford Prison Experiment

I have a lot to say about this film, but I will endeavor to be brief. As a student of psychology, I know a great deal about this all-too-real experiment. I have been waiting for a lot of years for some one to step up and make an accurate film about this terrifying experiment, and that film has finally arrived. This film is scarily accurate in it's detail and attention to the actual events that took place over those six days. I don't think there's one inaccurate detail in the film, due in part to Dr. Zimbardo's ongoing participation in the making of it. Billy Crudup's Zimbardo was scary good, and Ezra Miller as #8612 and Michael Angarano as "John Wayne" were just astounding standouts. The music set the perfect ambiance, the direction was appropriately claustrophobic, and the script was note-perfect. I couldn't be more pleased that Kyle Patrick Alvarez nailed this. A must-see - everyone needs to see this and remember what we learned in these important six days. 5/5

The Stanford Prison Experiment on Netflix

Monday, January 25, 2016

Manglehorn

About halfway through this film, the titular character of A.J. Manglehorn utters the sentence "She was like a great ball of fire, and I was so very small in comparison". It's a beautiful line that evokes a specific and poignant image of this man. The problem comes in that this character is played by Al Pacino, who, even when he is desperately trying to be very small, as he is for most of this film, is, in fact, a great ball of fire himself. And because he burns so very brightly no matter how small he tries to be, his inability to sink into this lush and well-written role takes a wrecking ball to the central themes of this film. I spent most of the movie wondering how Dustin Hoffman would have played this character. I also thought a lot about how another actor, Nicolas Cage, who is also known for being very large, managed to pull off a role of extreme subtlety very recently in a little film called "Joe", which, as it turns out, was directed by the same man as "Manglehorn", David Gordon Green.  I never thought I would see the day when Cage could play small better than Pacino, but that day is here it seems. A beautiful script, but I could never sink into it. 3/5

Manglehorn on Netflix

Do I Sound Gay?

A fascinating documentary about the phenomenon of sounding gay & how it might occur. Enlightening & well done. 4/5

Do I Sound Gay? on Netflix

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Aloft

Outside of one outstanding scene with Cillian Murphy at the end of this film, no attempt is made to forge any emotional connections between characters or between the film and the audience. Shame. 2.5/5

Aloft on Netflix

Friday, January 22, 2016

Avengers: Age of Ultron

So, I seem to have radically different opinions than other Marvel fans. Most of the world thought the first Avengers film was amazing, equal to "The Dark Knight" even. I thought it was fairly average and kind of a waste of talent. This movie has gotten mostly average to bad reviews on Netflix. And I thought it was f'n AMAZING. THIS is the Avengers movie I was waiting for. I loved every moment of it and can see how it will lead perfectly into Civil War. Bravo Marvel for getting this one right. 5/5

Avengers: Age of Ultron on Netflix