Movie Reviews

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss $12 bucks goodbye!!!

Yes, this is the place to leave your movie reviews for posterior — er, posterity. Try to be objective, although almost by definition a movie review is about as deep a personal opinion as it can get. But, hey, Hollywood says they’re trying to get a reaction out of movie goers, right? So react!

I was thinking it could work in this way: There will be one top-level comment per movie. All of the replies to that comment will be reviews and reactions to reviews. We may have to add one more level of comments to make this work right.

Anyway, have at it, and I hope this page enriches the lives of a thousand people at best, and at worst will save people from wasting good money on bad cinema. πŸ˜‰


48 Responses to Movie Reviews

  1. Bitwhacker says:

    Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) — This movie was adapted from the book of the same name, which I read just before I saw the movie. The movie does not exactly follow the plot of the book.

    And you know what? This is the second time where the movie adaptation was better than the book that I have seen (the other was The Firm, because the ending in that Grisham novel sucked and everybody knew it πŸ™‚ ).

    It’s about a retired NYC police detective Matt Scudder, recovering alcoholic of 8 years who does freelance PI work now. He is contacted by a total stranger about helping to find some perps that just abducted, raped, murdered and returned on pieces the wife of a drug dealer who paid $400k to get her back. Scudder doesn’t want to do it, but then another person is abducted (the daughter of another drug dealer), and Scudder knows there is a team of serial killers on the loose. He can’t say no.

    The movie cruises through the tense developments and the machinations of Scudder and this cute young black kid who befriends him and helps Scudder navigate the street scene in Manhattan and Brooklyn that Scudder, being an old, washed-up ex-cop who hates cell phones and computers, can’t begin to fathom and furthermore has no interest in taking up.

    Love the adaptation they did to create this movie. The flow is better, the details of the plot are easier to follow, only the ending was a little disappointing but only because they changed the character who has the untimate showdown with Scudder — I like the other guy from the book, but it all works out.

    See it? Hmm. I would wait for on-demand or Red Box, it won’t be long before it goes there anyway, but not a bad way to spend an evening, especially if you like Liam Neesan. I give it a 7 out of 10. πŸ™‚

  2. Bitwhacker says:

    Gone Girl (2014) — Do you like Benn Affleck? I mean really like him?? I loved him in Good Will Hunting, Boiler Room; liked him in the Clancey movies, Paycheck, Boiler Room and Runner Runner; tolerated him in The Town, hated him in everything else (See Daredevil, Reindeer Games, etc). We won’t eve talk about Gigli.

    I think mostly the reaction is based on how badly miscast he is. Almost the same phenomenon as with Nick Cage, except I think Ben is more talented with greater range. He played the quintessential stupid townie friend in Good Will Hunting, and was passable as the earnest, Boy Scout Jack Ryan. But where he excels is as the seemingly Eagle Scout, perfect gentleman everyman, while hiding this absolutely slimy underside that he jumps through hoops to conceal so as not to tarnish this grand image.

    That’s the case in Gone Girl: He is an idealistic writer from KC who moves to NYC to be an author/screenwriter, meets a socialite with a trust fund who is also a successful writer of children’s books. They fall in love, they marry, everything on the Upper West Side is grand until the market crashes, they both lose their day jobs, money is tight, then his mother gets cancer and they move to Kansas City to be close to mom.

    They keep up appearances until mom dies, then things spiral down until they both are talking divorce. Then she…just disappears one day. And then starts this media spectacle that Ben gets drawn into, which eventually swallows his wife’s parents, his twin sister, and half the town folk.

    And the whole time this is happening, you are believing that Ben is innocent, until things start coming out about how Ben was spending his time during the prior weeks. Let’s just say he is a total Scott Peterson, complete with the double life.

    And then — we find out that his wife has not been so innocent either.

    What ensues is this taut, thrilling drama of their two stories being told kinda separately, kinda intertwined, until it climaxes with an ending that is really kinda novel.

    See it? I liked this movie! It showed all the glitz of media attention and the decadence of gossip and mud slinging, the keeping up appearances and the flawed characters of everyone involved. And what happens at the end you will not believe. You decide whether or not you like it. I give it an 8 out of 10. πŸ™‚

  3. Bitwhacker says:

    Neighbors (2014) — If ever there were such a thing as a Movie Talent Black Hole that, when positioned in the proximity of a cinematic project, sucked the ever-living soul out of said film, then this film must have been made in the exact center of a Movie Talent Black Hole farm. As in acres and acres of them, far as the eye can see kind of suckosity.

    I’m not kidding. This film makes Heaven’s Gate and Ishtar, movies that became legends as moving picture stink bombs, look like all-time Oscar contenders. Produced ostensibly as a comedy, it huffs and it puffs, but all it manages to do is blow.

    Seth Rogen and some unknown Aussie actress play young parents to an infant daughter, living in a single family home in a sleepy suburban neighborhood. All is normal and quite boring until a fraternity moved into the house next door. And then all hell breaks loose as Rogem starts a test of wills by first complaining about the nuisance the frat house is creating with the partying and the noise at all hours, then trying to force them to be quiet by cutting their power, etc. Frat bouys retaliate, rinse, repeat, yadda yadda yadda.

    The ‘comedy’ in this film is asinine, puerile and almost unbelievably sophomoric. Beavis and Butthead, which I detested back in the day, were comedy geniuses compared to this drivel. When the jokes aren’t rapid-fire stupid, the slapstick kicks in to seal in the moronic flavor. (And the slapstick isn’t Three Stooges funny, it’s implausible defies-physics unfunny as well.)

    See it??? Are you kidding? Seth Rogen needs to go be the Jiffy Lube branch manager he was meant to be somewhere out there in Average American Land. I give it ZERO stars out of 10. Not worth the electrons it takes to spin the DVD.

  4. Bitwhacker says:

    Generation War (Unsere Mutter, unsere Vater) (2013) — This little 3-part series, made by the German PBS unit ZDF should have caused nary a ripple in the pond of film making when it came out last year. It played in German and Austrian theaters (I wonder if they had to translate it into Austrian to play in Vienna — HA!!) and grossed 90 Million Euros on a budget of 10, so it was by all measures a modest success.

    Except it caused a stink around Europe and immediate vicinity which is still raging on the internet today. More on that in a little bit.

    The series follows 5 German friends in Berlin who are best buds. It’s just before the invasion of Russia, and 2 of the 5, brothers, one a straight-arrow Lieutenant, the other an infantry dreamer-poet, are scheduled to leave for the Eastern Front. One of girls is also scheduled to leave for the front to be a nurse in the field hospitals. The other girl plans to stay in Berlin, and her boyfriend, a Jewish tailor, is just waiting to see what is going to happen to him and his family.

    Each has a Pollyanna-ish view of how the war is going to turn out, and because they are all the product of Goebbels’s propaganda machine, they all have no doubt that they will be sipping champagne in Paris eventually. At least that’s their public position. Actually, they have no idea what is to come, and so, because they have all been told that Stalin will be crushed by December, they all make a pact to return to Berlin for Christmas and meet up in the saloon that has become their haunt.

    Each of the characters in his/her own way compromise their integrity, honor and self-respect as war-time Germany (and Poland as it turns out) crushes each of them and they each in turn realize that they were naive at best and complicit at worst when the war started.

    I really don’t know why the critics of Europe are so down on the film as not being hard enough on the Germans and their duplicity in the war and the Holocaust. The references to evil are all there but they are oh-so-subtle: The nurse cares for soldiers that brag about ‘making Jews disappear like ghosts’; the Jewish tailor returns to his old apartment in Berlin only to find that there is some other family there now (but using his family’s old furniture) and they are wholly unrepentant about any of it; the scumbag Gestapo Captain who ran a prison for political prisoner who actually puts his own mistress (one of the 5) in the prison for calling his house; and on and on.

    The problem is that it is all too subtle: what the critics want is the Oliver Stone treatment, a country-hating, we’re-all-bad-all-the-time, groveling, sniveling screed of self-loathing. (Kind of what Kevin Kostner did in his portrayal of post-Civil War America in Dances with Wolves).

    The acting is superb in this series, the character interaction is very entertaining, the cinematography is some of the best I have seen in a while, and the depiction of war is just about all you can ask. The only part I found laughable is the way the 5 all say ‘Shalom!’ out loud — in public, on the street, in Berlin, no less — when the Jewish guy shows up at the saloon — which never would have occurred, even if they had wanted to do it, especially after Kristallnacht. But I’ll let them slide on this one. The other controversial bit was the portrayal of Polish partisans as not giving a damn about Jews and actually harboring anti-Semitic sensibilities in their own right. I find this totally plausible, given how the French, Dutch, Danes and Belgians sold the Jews down the river with gusto.

    What the series ends up being is a kind of inside story of the German war experience, mixed with a kind of Letters From Iwo Jima meme.

    Look, if you want the definitive German damnation treatment, just see the original Holocaust mini-series from the 70’s with Michael Moriarty and Fritz Weaver. It goes the whole nine yards on the full extent of evil in charge during those times. And I can’t give this series a 10 because they misrepresented what Germans soldiers did to Russians when they captured them (the movie says they only shot the political officers, but the Nazis prided themselves for shooting everyone, including civilians, indiscriminately), and the first time you see a Russian soldier in action, it’s having him go immediately into rape mode when they get to the German field hospital.

    But you can’t miss the character transformations that go on in this mini-series, where they go from optimistic, naive and invincible inexorably to disillusioned, violated and destitute, morally and materially. Bring some tissues, you will need them.

    See it??? Absolutely. I give it a 9 out of 10 stars. Sometimes less is more.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Agree with so much of what you wrote…and glad you found it worthwhile watching.

      Yes, it’s really about the Eastern front seen thru the experience of 4 of the characters, and their reaction to that particular hell. They were all so naive. I read some of the comments about the controversy, and remember it had a lot to do with the idea that these young people were somehow victims themselves. I can understand that concern . The young people had grown up with the Nazi propaganda only to inform their ideas. They were taken in, and abused in ways that their parents’ generation , more informed, could not claim. But, but… we do know there was student resistance….terribly crushed…but it existed. Remember the White Rose group? So some young people reacted in a better way.

      The singer/performer exhibited her own characteristics: mostly oblivious, and self-centered as such artists can be. I would not have thought the Jewish friend would have survived….but some did. The Poles…many sheltered Jews, but the Partisans were hardened, focused on something else. Those objecting to how the Poles were portrayed should acknowledge the Partisan’s leader sending the young man on his way, and armed, to boot: Not an insignificant gesture….I’m not really sure what happened to the younger brother? Was it the loss of his brother (he thought) or his father’s brutality when he had home leave??

      There was an early scene where he is packing..the camera & the dialogue capture the books going into the suitcase. Of course that showed the young man’s disposition and attitude toward his future in the German army, but I also think the books underscored the German culture of the past – and not so distant, either! and the totally debased present.

      And how ironic…the authorities claiming the Jazz music was debasing the culture??? Goodness, that was a good scene.

      It’s pretty remarkable that 3 of the friends survived and found each other again in the west…out of the Russian’s grip, I think…that was a bit of a stretch for that to happen so quickly, but it’s a movie….how about giving the characters at the end, and their death dates, as if they really existed?

      One last thought…the Danes don’t belong in the same list with the French or Dutch. As a people, they effectively moved their entire Jewish population across the water to Sweden and safety. Sure they had the means (lots of boats and skilled sailors) but that did not guarantee the effort. It is one of the miracles of the war.

    • Bitwhacker says:

      Wow, Molly, you really do get the German WWII experience!

      Agree on all counts, esp. the White Rose uprising — but that was an aberration wasn’t it?

      I like how the mini-series handles the effect of the Hitler Youth and Goebbels propaganda in one single scene (when the nurse shows up at the field hospital and starts spouting ‘We represent the best of the German woman!’ and the head nurse just stares at her πŸ™‚ ).

      In re the younger brother’s choice of books, if you notice, a lot of them were ones that Hitler ordered burned, at least that’s what I took from that scene.

      Love your take on the singer and her narcissism (‘Don’t you know who I AM????’). She didn’t realize that she was a totally made-up creation of a Nazi party functionary who, if she hadn’t been sleeping with him, would never have given her a second glance.

      Although I do like how they showed the selflessness that comes out in all 5 of the friends: The younger brother gets shot in order to save the younger, indoctrinated youth so that they can see what’s in store for them if they persist. Also, the singer who manipulates the Gestapo captain in order to ‘save’ her boyfriend (but we find out later that the Gestapo guy double-crosses the boyfriend and he’s on his way to the concentration camps anyway); the nurse who saves the younger brother when he gets shot, by using her influence with the doctor doing triage…

      And, OK, I’ll give you that the Danes did move their Jewish population to Sweden, but there were two factions of the Einsatzgruppen who were way more fanatical than the Germans: the Ukranians and the Danes. To this day, the Danes apologize for being too German-like. But maybe I am reading too much into that.. πŸ™‚

      Anyway, it looks like we agree on all counts. I thought the movie was very, very deep; it moved me for a long time after it ended. I am happy that you saw the same things I did.

  5. Bitwhacker says:

    The Frozen Ground (2013) — Pop quiz: which of Nick Cage's movies is the latest to shoot straight to video sales once it was released???? That would be The Frozen Ground, ostensibly a police whodunit thriller starring our hero as a state police detective in Anchorage, Alaska who's just given his 2-week notice yet is sooo good that only he can work a case involving a serial killer and a slew of missing young girls.

    All of them were lured by a normal-looking dude who played on the girls' vanity by offering $300 for an 'exclusive photo shoot' by a glamor photographer. Over 15 girls whose relatives told the same story are missing, but it may be a LOT more because the overworked, understaffed Anchorage PD has over 600 unsolved female missing persons cases.

    So NC does what he does best: he grinds. And as he does so he makes an enemy of everyone involved with the cases, including the PD and families (and I'm sure the victims would be annoyed, too, if only they could chime in).

    They have only one lead, an 18-year old prostitute named Cindy. She had the audacity to break free and escape this perp's dungeon of horror and go to the police — though not that anybody before Nicky believed a word she said.

    And so it goes. I don't know what it is with Nick Cage and why he gets cast in these parts: either a cop/fed agent (It Could Happen to You (1994), Faceoff (1997), The Wicker Man (2006), World Trade Center (2006)); a military officer (Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), Windtalkers (2002)); the most-popular part of ex-con/ne'er-do-well/sociopath (Con Air (1997), The Rock (1996), Matchstick Men (2003), Ghost Rider (2007), Drive Angry (2011), Joe (2013) and the new Rage (2014)); or the wholly laughable Thoughtful Writer/University Professor/smartest-guy-in-the-room (Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Adaptation (2002), Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000), National Treasure (2004), Next (2007), Knowing (2009)). In this one he is almost a combo of smart-guy/Detective. It almost works except when he goes all William Shattner on the other members of the cast. He knows this is a star vehicle for him, even with Dean Norris from Breaking Bad and a couple of other really good actors backing him up, especially John Cusak’s portrayal of the perp, which is creepy beyond belief and was really what kept me in this one ’til the end.

    All NC has to do is let the script speak for itself, but nooooo, the facial expressions need to be full nuke, the cynicism has to be over the top, the empathy needs to be searing….If he ever calmed down and just acted (and his acting in Joe comes very, very close to this, almost brilliant), he would break through as a major actor.

    See it? It's watchable, suspenseful and draws you in: I give it a 5 out of 10 stars. He's trying too hard. πŸ™‚

  6. Bitwhacker says:

    Fire With Fire (2012) — If there were ever a movie for the See And Avoid List, this one is at or near the top (along with Neighbors, reviewed elsewhere on this site).

    Josh Duhamel plays a Long Beach, Ca. firefighter who witnesses a double homicide in a convenience store but manages to get away, and lives to tell his story to the police. He fingers Vincent ‘D’Onofrio (of Law and Order: Criminal Intent fame), who plays a white supremacist gang kingpin, megalomaniac and world-class psychopath, as the killer, and a trial date is set, the firefighter goes into witness protection until the trial, and all is good.

    Except V. D’O. does some homework and starts taking out all of the firefighters friends, trying to convince him not to testify. Which is a no-go at first but becomes reality when a the V. D’O. gang (with the help of scumbag lawyers and bought-off federal agents) locate the witness in New Orleans and dispatch a hit team. He and his WitSec Marshall (played endearingly by Rosario Dawson) — who is also a romantic interest due to the close contact they’ve had waiting for the trial — are almost killed, which convinces him to go rogue and take out the V. D’O. gang on his own.

    Back in Long Beach, Bruce Willis is a police Lieutenant who has gone up against V. D’O. before and lost big, with the body count including his old partner and his partner’s wife. He’s never been able to convict, and hopes this time it will work out.

    The action is fair to almost good. The plot, the twists, and the resolution will have you feeling like a clairvoyant who can see the immediate future — because this movie is so cliche it almost mocks itself.

    And one more thing: The cell towers around the making of this film should have burst into flames, with so many name actors phoning their performances in: Bruce Willis — what were you thinking when you agreed to do this film??? He’s got no lines, no action, gets into a tussle with bad guys only once and is 2 steps behind Duhamel all the way. D’Onofrio as a southern hick, white supremacist???? Come on. His accent is so bad it’s like watching Peter Sellers put on the Chinese costume and the fake buck teeth in The Pink Panther — except that is SUPPOSED to be funny. Only Duhamel and Dawson turn in decent performances (and special mention to Richard Schiff (West Wing) who plays the scumbag defense lawyer)).

    See it? I’d rather use the DVD to prop up a wobby table leg: 1 out of 10 stars. πŸ™‚

  7. Bitwhacker says:

    Erased (2012) — If you are looking for a cool little DVD or on-demand that is semi-interesting while never being a threat for any awards, this one fits the bill.

    Aaron Eckhart (Thank You for Smoking, Battle Los Angeles, Olympus Has Fallen, , Harvey Dent/Two-Face in The Dark Knight) is an American security expert working in Belgium for a company there testing procedures and security devices for weaknesses. He likes his job, because he’s the best at cracking cypher locks, retina scanners — you name it — and he believes he is doing right by finding flaws.

    And then one day, one of his co-workers notices that on one of the devices they are testing the patent number stamped thereon ….is owned by somebody else. He brings it up privately with the CEO of the company, who tells him it will be checked out — oh, and don’t tell anybody else.

    The next day he goes to work and the whole place is cleared out, with no record of the company ever having leased the space. What’s more, his bank records have been wiped clean and his background erased back to the point the when he first came to Europe from New York 2 months ago. He goes to the headquarters of the firm in Brussels, only to find out they never had a branch where he says he worked, and they never hired him at all, least of all as a security expert for devices the firm says they don’t make.

    Pretty good action ensues afterward, with him and his semi-estranged, live-in daughter going on the run to try to figure out why things don’t make sense any more.

    See it? I can think of worse ways to kill 2 hours: 6 out of 10 stars.

  8. Bitwhacker says:

    The Counselor (2013) — O, The Counselor, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways….or not. I’ll spare you this go-round. πŸ™‚

    But suffice it to say that any time Ridley Scott is involved you expect a certain level of quality which just ain’t there in this flick. Some day they are going to make up a time capsule and in it they will put 2 movies from the 21st century that epitomize depravity, nihilism, greed, random tragedy and just all-around unfathomableness (is that even a word?): The Counselor, and No Country for Old Men.

    Which is kinda ironic, because Javier Bardem plays a nihilistic, rich scumbag in this movie and THE nihilistic scumbag in NCFOM. Looks like they wee going for the same things in the casting.

    Michael Fassbender (who really gave his all in the acting here) plays a typical criminal defense attorney who gets over-extended in his lifestyle and starts looking for ways to enhance his income. He toys with a few things but ends up hooking up with a charming drug trafficker (Brad Pitt, who was pretty good playing the cynical drug dealer who expects the doors to come crashing in eventually). But before he even gets started with that, he has to close up some loose ends by defending a woman charged with murder for whom he was appointed by the court to defend. It’s pretty ho-hum until her motorcycle-riding drug-courier son gets busted doing 202 mph on a Texas back road. As a favor to the kid;s mother, he makes bail for the kid, just doing what lawyers normally do.

    Except the kid gets killed for what he was carrying and a massive drug shipment is stolen — and the cartel now thinks the lawyer set the kid up by springing him from jail. And now, verily, the lawyer’s life (and everyone else’s he knows personally and professionally) is over, just like that.

    The movie is full of senseless acts of depravity, ruthlessness, mercilessness, and other kinds of unseemly -lessness’s you can think of. It rambles on with the lawyer trying to make amends somehow, but the wheels are in motion and the bloody aftermath has to play out.

    Like NCFOM, this shameless rip-off has no logic to the cruelty, no honor code among thieves, and certainly no one except the lawyer trying to do anything like the right thing. It just goes until it ends. Period. Oh, and Cameron Diaz as the conniving plotter to profit from all of the misery is out of her depth — she should stick to comedies from now on.

    See it? Only if your life depends on it: 2 out of 10 stars (without Fassbender and Pitt this movie would score nil). And WARNING/Spoiler Alert: There are 2 graphic, stupid, totally unnecessary sex scenes (one being the opening scene of the movie which is completely superfluous to the reed-thin plot) that may offend the sensibilities of some — in case you thought this was something like a Grisham novel….NOT. πŸ™‚

  9. Bitwhacker says:

    Out of the Furnace (2013) — Man, I love Christian Bale, I really do. Seems like he takes parts that stretch him as a non-charismatic, moody type, and that’s what he is in this movie. Filmed in Braddock, Pa, a dying steel town just east of Pittsburgh, he plays Russel Baze, a foundry worker at the local steel plant (he can see it from his back window).

    His brother Rodney, played by a ferocious Casey Affleck, is an Iraq War vet trying to find his place in the world and make his way in life, which definitely is NOT at the steel plant. He has rage issues, which he assuages by fighting bare-knuckle style for money. He’s pretty good at it, but the promoter he hooks up with (Willem Dafoe, in a so-so performance) fixes fights and wants him to take a dive on every fight to make his stable of other fighters look good.

    Rodney wants in on the action up in the Jersey hills of Ramapo, and gets Willem Dafoe to set up a fight up there through another promoter who also fixes fights, played brilliantly by a demonic Woody Harrelson (and after True Detective, I am starting to get an appreciation for Woody’s range as an actor).

    Long story short, things go to hell in a hand basket in Jersey, Rodney and Willem Dafoe are murdered by Woody and the gang, and it’s left to Christian Bale to avenge all of the above.

    The pace is really slow at first, almost taking an hour to get to it, but the character development and the action is really, really good. They also get a lot of the details right, down to the brands of beer the guys are drinking and even the accents. (Although there is a real undercurrent of Deer Hunter rip-off to this movie.)

    See it? Get it on demand if you want a brooding, bleak, can’t buy a break kinda story that almost redeems itself. I said almost: 5 out of 10 stars. πŸ™‚

  10. Bitwhacker says:

    Elysium (2013) — It’s 2125 and the 1% have move up in the world, waaay up: So far up in fact, they are are in orbit!!! Actually, the elites of Earth have moved to an orbiting space station that looks like a wheel in the sky (with spokes).

    Matt Damon is a former juvenile delinquent and current parolee on probation for stealing cars back on terra firma. He's trying to go straight, stay on the straight-and-narrow, goes to work every day at the robot (droid) factory, comes home every day to the barrio, rinse, repeat…

    But he dreams of someday going to Elysium (the aforementioned wheel in the sky which keeps on turning), has dreamed so since he was a little kid. And lots of people on Earth dream of going there, too — in fact, pretty regularly, the rabble save their money and sign up for an illicit shuttle ride to Elysium aboard dilapidated but functional shuttle craft. They come complete with passable fake credentials in order to get in (in the form of a burned-in 'tattoo' on their wrists looking like bar codes). And of course the 1-percenters' are too sophisticated to be fooled by such and nobody ever gets to stay — they are either rounded up and deported as soon as they get there or are blown to smithereens with missles while in transit, just to make an example of them for the rest of the proles.

    Jody Foster is perfect as the Ice Queen cum Defense Minister, whose tactics get ever increasingly ruthless, and she has designs on running the whole works, not just the Defense Ministry. So she plots to 'reboot' Elysium with hacked software in order to remove the current ruling party and install herself as the new Prez.

    She recruits for this scheme the elite dude who owns and runs the droid factory back on Earth, who also built the operating system of Elysium. This guy writes the new software, and, just to be safe, stores it in his own brain for safekeeping.

    Meanwhile, Matt Damon suffers a catastrophic exposure to radiation due to the careless/unsafe/OSHA-shoulda-been-on-this working conditions the terrestrials have to endure, and it turns out that Matt now has only 5 days to live until he succumbs to radiation poisoning. It also turns out that Elysium has magical medical technology that, if only ol' Matty were up there (and part of the 1-percenter caste, of course), he could be cured. Matt finds out about that, and is determined to get up there pronto.

    So they find out about the guy who has the reboot program in his head, and they decide to kidnap him and steal the data, both to be ransomed off. But the kidnapping goes horribly wrong and the hacker dude expires — but not before Matt Damon uploads the data into his own head via this hardware he had installed for the occasion.

    The rest of the film is the typical, allegorical, little guy beats the powers that be and all live happily ever after.

    I hate allegories. The parallels between the proles vs. the 1-percenters and the current ‘social justice’ pap are clumsily overwrought, to the point where you are bludgeoned with them (See? The proles all speak Spanish in the barrios! They're 'illegals' on Elysium! They're denied health care because their lives aren't worth it!! And on and on…).

    Elysium is well-acted, with pretty good special FX, the action is good, the casting is excellent, and Matt Damon manages not to over-act even though this movie is right up his alley: the smarmy, scolding, sanctimonious morality play set to science fiction, but could have been played out in Nottingham Forest.

    See it??? I say if you like sci-fi, then go for it, because it's possible, but not likely, that you can ignore all the liberal agitprop being thrown at you. But all in all, I give it a 4 out of 10 — the film can't get past its moralizing. πŸ™‚

  11. The Raven says:

    And I won’t be as verbose as Bit….but watched the DVD’s Taken and Taken 2 this weekend. If you like James Bond, you’ll like these.

  12. Bitwhacker says:

    The Monuments Men (2014) — You know how in real like George Clooney is a boorish buffoon about his politics, and how Matt Damon is a pedantic sanctimonious know-it-all twit whenever he opens his mouth??? Well you are in luck, because in The Monuments Men, both suppress their lefty wingnut tendencies and deliver a really watchable film.

    I’m serious! Not only do Clooney and Damon come off wholesome, likeable, patriotic and all-around swell, the whole cast seems to click in a way no other cast would have.

    So here is the synopsis: It’s late WWII, and the Allies are just turning the tide in 1943. A Harvard-trained authority on art preservation and restoration convinces the Roosevelt Admin. to let him build a team (eventually numbering 300) to locate and return art stolen by the Nazis and shipped to Germany.

    Clooney picks 6 other men, all 4F during the war (too old, bad heart, etc.) but specialists in various art disciplines: Damon is curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; John Goodman and Bill Murray are architects who also know sculpture, etc. They are a rag-tag band of wannabe brothers, who go through basic training not really feeling that they earned the right to wear the uniform, but determined to complete their mission.

    They spread out over western Europe in their search. Along the way they lose some of their number when they inadvertently get in the line of fire. It is then that they know they have earned the right to wear the uniform, paid for in their own blood.

    Matt Damon first goes to Paris, because that city was the source of a lot of the looting. He meets a woman there who worked as a collaborator of the Nazis cataloguing the artwork to be shipped. Secretly, she is working for the Resistance, and is maintaining records (with owners and destinations of shipments) in preparation for the day when the artwork is recovered (played by a gaunt Kate Blanchette, who was spectacular in the role).

    The plot is pretty predictable, even racing the Russians to get to the stolen art. But overall this movie works because of the cast interactions and the visible emotions and sense of urgency portrayed by the cast. You really believe that they believe in the mission, and that’s all you can ask of an actor.

    See it? Not quite (but almost) good enough to see in a theater, it is definitely a must-see on DVD or on-demand video. I give it a 7 out of 10. πŸ™‚

  13. Bitwhacker says:

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) — If you are a Tom Clancy fan and a purist, you are gonna hate this move with a passion. If you’re a Clancy fan open to interpretation and updating for the times, this movie has real potential. And if you’re not a Clancey fan, then you need professional help. πŸ™‚

    I approached this movie with some trepidation because: a) I have read all of the major Clancey novels (NOT including any of his co-written stuff done simply to buy his vacation homes and yachts), b) I was curious to see how they were going to handle the prequel story of Jack Ryan since they already handled the main storyline in other films, and c) I was wondering how the Jack Ryan character would stack up against Harrison Ford’s portrayal (we won’t even speak of Alec Baldwin or Ben Affleck, who both swung and missed in their attempts).

    So Chris Pine (the new Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek) plays a modern day Jack Ryan, who is almost finished his Ph, D. in Economics and currently at the London School of Economics when the Twin Towers are hit (they fast-forwarded Jack Ryan;s life to September 11th, 2001). Jack is so deeply moved by 9-11 that he joins the Marines, gets a commission as a Lieutenant after graduating from the Naval Academy, then promptly almost dies in a helicopter accident, having been shot down in Afghanistan.

    Jack struggles to recover, they don’t know if he’ll ever walk without crutches again, and he sort of loses his will to even try amid all the pain, frustration and disappointment. The only bright spot through the grueling rehab is a final-year med student who is doing her rotation in physical therapy before specializing in eye surgery.

    During the rehab, a mysterious man regularly observes Jack from the shadows, and eventually approaches him when Jack works his way up to jogging. The man, played by Kevin Kostner, recruits Jack to be a CIA analyst who will be embedded in Wall Street looking for terrorism from the financial aspect. He goes to New York, and takes up with the medical student he met in rehab who is interning in a Manhattan hospital.

    Speaking of Kevin Kostner, here he is again as the old-guy, grizzled veteran CIA department head character actor and is pretty damned good at it. He’s believable, almost deadpan in his delivery, which only old dudes who have seen everything can pull off.

    The plot forges along at a pretty good pace, with Jack eventually uncovering a Russian plot to bring down America with a one-two punch (pretty poignant these days and right on in technical terms). The action is decent, sometimes unbelievable but forgivable, and the cast interactions are great, especially Kenneth Branaugh, who plays the villain (and who also directed the movie).

    See it? I’d wait for video or on-demand video. I thought I was a purist Clancey fan but I found myself liking the fast-forward update to contemporary times, mainly because the suspense is much better with today’s technology, and because who wants to see people walking around in elephant-ear bell bottoms and platform shoes??? I give it 7 out of 10 — but the next one will be better, I suspect. πŸ™‚

  14. Bitwhacker says:

    3 Days to Kill (2013) — I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Oh no, here comes Kevin Kostner again with another lame-o haircut, cast as a gun-toting security dude — could this film and his acting be as bad as 1992’s The Bodyguard????”

    Well, bottomless as KK’s propensity is for dreck-o-rama (c.f. Water World (1995), The Postman (1997), et al), somebody somewhere must have grabbed him by the lapels and shouted, ‘No mas! No mas!’, because something funny happened on the way to wrapping this movie: It doesn’t suck!!!!

    I know — who knew??? He keeps this up and he might be coming back as an old-guy, stately G-man character actor (which is well under way already, if Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) is any indication (See review elsewhere in this site).

    OK, so it’s about a CIA hit-man who has literally lost himself in his job, so much so that he’s been estranged from his (now ex-) wife and daughter to the point that he still thinks of his daughter as a 5 year-old when in fact she’s in high school now. But that’s ok by him; he may have lost his family but he still has his job to do and his country to protect.

    Until he finds out that he has inoperable, terminal lung cancer and is promptly cashiered within days of the diagnosis by the CIA — and he is left to try to go back to his old life and pick up the pieces and enjoy what’s left of his life (3-6 months tops).

    Except that his old life has merrily sailed on without him. Even his old apartment in Paris (the city where his ex and daughter still live) has a squatter family from Nigeria living in it and he can’t get them out until the weather warms up (it’s late winter), and the interaction between KK and the squatter family is not to be missed.

    Anyway, he’s trying to get right with dying when suddenly a CIA operative contacts him and wants him to do one more job: get the Wolf, a notorious dirty-bomb terrorist. KK almost got him on his last job but his illness took him out of action mid-execution as it were, so KK is conflicted. KK decides to go through with it finally because the CIA agent tells him that if he agrees, they will give him some experimental treatment for his cancer that will prolong his life and possibly cure it. He mulls it over, but given how bad his relationship with his daughter is, he realizes he is gonna need all the time he can get so he agrees.

    What ensues is a pretty decent thriller pitting KK and the CIA agent against the Wolf and gang (get it? He’s German: Wolf-gang??? HA!), with the story interspersed with KK’s equally lame-o attempts to try to reconnect with his daughter. Some of the scenes with the daughter are in turns hilarious, frightening and actually heart rending.

    The story goes on as expected, but the action is pretty good and the ironic twists of KK alternately being CIA executioner and then shifting gears trying to be the newly-sensitive Dad make it very interesting — trust me, I never wanted to turn it off and that says a lot.

    See it? Well, I wouldn’t pay good $$$ in a theater for it, but it is definitely worth a Red Box, Amazon Instant Video or Netflix shot. I give it 6 out of 10. πŸ™‚

  15. Bitwhacker says:

    Nebraska (2013) – Bruce Dern, Will Forte.

    Well, first off, this film is not nearly as good as people are saying it is. There are flashes of brilliance interspersed into a plodding muddled mess of monotony.

    Bruce Dern is an elderly alcoholic retired auto mechanic who gets one of those YOU’VE ALREADY WON $1 MILLION DOLLARS (if your number matches the grand prize number) kind of magazine subscription come-on in the mail, and convinces himself he needs to go to Nebraska to go collect. Will Forte is the youngest son who decides to drive Dad to Nebraska after several attempts by Dad to walk there, then take the bus, etc.

    What ensues is this sometimes hilarious, mostly boring tale of their travels, with a side trip stop to Mom and Dad’s old hometown before they moved to Billings, Montana. Dad’s a hero in this small town once the townfolk find out he’s a new millionaire.

    Lots of good scenes, especially the ones where the relatives and townsfolk all make runs at Dad to try to get a piece of the $1 Million, especially Stacy Keach, who is Dad’s old business partner and threatens a lawsuit about some nebulous ‘loan’ he says Dad never repaid. Also be on the lookout for Bob Odenkirk (Saul from Breaking Bad) who plays the older brother perfectly and you would swear that he and Will Forte are really brothers. And Will Forte is definitely woth seeing as the long-suffering Son.

    See it? If you have 2 hours to waste and don’t mind feeling unfulfilled afterward, then by all means. The film seems to muddle on in a stupor most of the time, satirizing family situations and relatives and small towns and mean, nasty old people (Mom in this film is one mean, nasty selfish old hag who is truly despicable for the way she talks to and about people, even right in front of them). It’s an OK film, but not a masterpiece and by no means is it as good as the critics made it out to be at Oscar-time. 7 out of 10, only because of the casting.

  16. Bitwhacker says:

    Dallas Buyers Club (2013) – Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner

    I had no idea what this movie was about before I saw it, and it’s a good thing, because if I knew it was about AIDS in the 80’s I probably wouldn’t have seen it. But it’s also a good thing I saw it because this has toe be the best movie of 2013.

    Matthew McConaughey is a Texan electrician by day and rodeo bull rider by night, who is all macho all the time. He lives life on full throttle and so it was only a matter of time before the unprotected sex and drug use caught up with him. The problem is that this was the mid-80’s, when AIDS was literally a death sentence. He’s told he has 30 days to live, and he can’t accept that, so he devotes his entire life to finding out about what he has and how to fight it.

    And he’s got lots of time to do it, too, after his ‘friends’ ostracize him and his co-workers won’t let him continue as an electrician on the job site.

    So he does research in libraries and finds out about AZT, but also that it’s experimental and toxic. He bribes some hospital orderly to steal it for him, until that gets cut off, so he goes to Mexico, where everything can be had for a price. He comes back to Dallas and starts a ‘Buyers Club’, first for AZT, then other cocktail drugs common today. He gets around the law by charging a ‘membership in the club, and the drugs are ‘free’.

    The plot takes several twists and turns, with the usual butt-hole government beureaucrats getting in the way (FDA even sics the IRS on hm, shades of things to come…). MM is great, looks gaunt, and maintains his dignity throughout with a flair that I don’t know anybody else could pull off. This role also was training for his True Detective stint (and if you haven’t seen TD, you should start watching NOW.).

    Jennifer Garner is so-so as the disillusioned doctor who eventually takes up his cause, but the real star is a Jared Leto as Rayon, a fellow AIDS patient who is a transvestite waiting for a sex change operation. Just steals the show and is so believable it’ll make you cry.

    See it? Definitely: ranks 9 out of 10, and MM deserved the Oscar.

  17. Bitwhacker says:

    Gravity (2013) — I didn’t want to see this movie at first because I didn’t think Sandra Bullock could be a credible astronaut — but I was wrong. The movie centers around a Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. George Clooney is the dashing military manly-man mission commander, and Sandra Bullock is a mission ‘specialist’ whose job is to fix some electronics on the Hubble. She’s a geekazoid Ph.D. something-or-other who hates space (which relieves her of having to try to be a real astronaut) but during the repair space walk it starts to grow on her.

    That is, until things go into the commode at light-speed. Everything is quiet, serene, beautiful one minute, and then the next they’re dodging space debris from some kind of military action that is destroying satellites and causing the wreckage to come at them at bullet-like speeds. Catastrophic damage occurs all around Clooney and Bullock while they are still on the spacewalk, and the other members of the Shuttle crew (who you only see for about two minutes total) are like the guys with the other-color shirts on the Star Trek Original Series landing parties — they are there to die. πŸ™‚

    Anyway, after the first wave of damage is done, they make it back to the Shuttle only to find that the Shuttle ain’t gonna be doin’ any more shuttlin’ — it’s wrecked. It gets worse: Clooney tells Bullock to set a timer for 90 minutes — the time it will take for the debris to orbit and come crashing through their locale again. (you need to get a load of Bullock’s face when Clooney explains about orbits), and every 90 minutes thereafter until the orbit decays.

    From there it becomes a race for survival while their oxygen holds out. There are options to actually survive all of this, but I won’t give it away.

    The movie itself is kind of stark and bleak. During the struggle to survive Clooney and Bullock share personal details they didn’t know about each other before the mission, mainly to keep their minds off going bat-guano trying to figure out how they are going to make it. The special effects, especially the action-reaction thing is a little off (things are weightless in space but they still have mass, and I think some of the bouncing-off-of-things is a little over-done for dramatic effect. Still, it does have clever plot twists and even when they try to give up, they find the will to see it through.

    Not sure everyone would like the marooned in space, sci-fi Gravity. I am still conflicted about how good a movie I think it is, and I think the dialogue could have been better. Effects are good, and the plot twists are outstanding. But overall, See it? Yes, but only expect a 6 out of 10 — and you will have to wait a while for your anxiety level to go down afterwards. πŸ˜‰

  18. mustknowhistory says:

    Anybody seen the little gem Quartet with Maggie Smith?

    It takes place in Britain in a retirement home for aging musicians. Lovely music centering on the quartet from Rigoletto.

  19. Bitwhacker says:

    Two other movies that have been out a while but are excellent as On-Demand or Red Box selections:

    Side Effects (2013) — A great little drama in which a psychiatrist (Jude Law) gets involved with a patient who kills her husband under his care — and then watches as his career and family are destroyed by the whole episode. Catherine Zeta Jones appears as a psychiatrist who once treated the patient and she plays a role you may never have seen her in before. Very entertaining, especially Jude Law’s incredulity at how easily his life is shattered by complete strangers. 7 out of 10.

    Derailed (2005) — An older one that I had missed until someone suggested it. Clive Owen is a Chicago businessman who lives in the suburbs with his wife and very sick daughter (kidney failure, complete with home dialysis machine) who takes the train to work every morning into Chicago. One day he misses his usual train and gets on a later train without any cash (he gave it to his wife and kids that morning) and didn’t have time to buy a ticket, so the conductor tells him to either buy a ticket or get off at the next stop. What to do? An alluring young woman (Jennifer Aniston) buys him his ticket, and so he promise to pay her back the next day. Except that he’s smitten by her and keeps taking the later train until he finally succumbs to her charms and goes with her to a seedy hotel — where they’re robbed and she’s raped! From there, the robber/rapist makes CLive Owen’s life a living hell, extorting first $10k, then $20k and then finally $100k (his daughter’s anti-rejection medicine money they had spent a decade saving for when there was a kidney transplant available), until he’s wiped out. Clive Owen smells a rat and decides to do his own investigation, and finds out he’s being had. I don’t normally like Clive Owen, especially when he tries to affect an American accent, but he is great here, and you will LOVE the ending of this movie — and you’ll never see it coming. πŸ˜‰ Also a 7 out of 10.

  20. Bitwhacker says:

    World War Z (2013) — Everybody keeps saying that this movie marks the beginning of Brad Pitt’s intention of just phoning in his performances for his annual $20 million and that we’ll never see him do a stretch role again.

    And I had all kinds of bias against seeing it in the first place because a) I don’t like zombie movies and b) I’m not all that wild about Brad Pitt in the first place, post-Angelina Jolie.

    So I saw this movie expecting to hate it and waited for it to start sucking. But from the very beginning of this movie, they get right to the point: Pitt and family are in Philadelphia, Center City, for some unspecified reason and all of a sudden the entire population starts turning into zombies all around them. From there it all goes downhill from one narrow escape to another, until they are rescued by a government helicopter. (!)

    Turns out Brad Pitt is some kind of spec ops guy who used to work for the Sec. General of the UN (I know) as a lead investigator and is some kind of bad ass who got married, had a family and got out of the business because it was too dangerous. Except now he is drawn back in because the UN (I know, I know) needs him to find out how the whole thing started and how to stop it.

    The action is pretty damned good, the plot is bearable and the acting is decent. I don’t know what it is about Hollywood anymore, but they insist on making all of the action scenes blurry, dark and way too closely shot so you will have some trouble figuring out what just happened in some scenes.

    Brad Pitt’s wife is played by Mirielle Enos — Detective Linden from AMC’s The Killing — and right away you can see how dynamic an actress she is. I had never seen her in anything other than The Killing and she plays a stiff, wooden, emotionally distant but relentless, stone-cold bloodhound in search of The Truth, even if it destroys the people close to her. In this movie she’s emotional and caring and is a good compliment to Pitt’s retired-but-never-really-was-that-far-from-the-action former gov’t. operative.

    The children are insufferable, except for a little boy they pick up along the way, but they aren’t on screen that long.

    The plot kinda follows along I Am Legend lines, except for an ingenious twist at the end which I really liked, and they set it up for a sequel if it works out.

    Also: The way the people turn into zombies and how they act, both alone and in mobs, is way better than The Walking Dead or other such zombie efforts.

    Should you go see it? Well, if you’re into Brad Pitt or zombies, then definitely go see it. Otherwise, I’d wait for the DVD or On-Demand — it’s good but not that good. πŸ˜‰ Too many cliches, though: 6 out of 10.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Hi Bit

      Re : the Brad Pitt movie..did you see Goldman’s column at PJ media on zombie cultures??

    • Bitwhacker says:

      No, but I am going over there now to read it. πŸ˜‰

    • Bitwhacker says:

      In re Goldman’s column: Eh. I think he is way too deep into the weeds on this.

      Is the current zombie fascination a sign of cultural decline and collapse? I don’t think so, mainly because I don’t see the public demanding zombies so much as Hollywood latching onto a fad and playing it to death (pun intended).

      As for why there is a zombie fad, if you want to try to pair it with ‘hedonism starting in the 60’s’, well go ahead, but I think it’s an outgrowth of the secular materialism prevalent among the cultural and ruling elite in this country: Religion is being driven out of everyday life to the point that admitting you are Christian anywhere in public is fodder to a Zero Tolerance event (at school, in a gov’t. setting, etc). We are also being demanded to accept the perverse as mainstream and then forced to admit that the mainstream (i.e. what you hold dear) is ‘outdated, fascist/bigoted, etc.’

      This happened before in America when Woodrow Wilson and the Progressives were in charge the last time. And yet by the 50’s the tide had turned completely around. I think we are in one of those same cycles now, and when Amerika finally wakes up (and they WILL wake up and take this thing back, if guns and ammo sales are any indication of intent) we are going to see Progressives taking the next plane to Paris where they belong.

      But I don’t think the current zombie thing is any indicator of cultural collapse, in and of itself. πŸ˜‰

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Okey dokey . I understand what you mean about Goldman’s pessimism…he may be lookin for connections that aren’t really there…

  21. Molly Pitcher says:

    Is Atlas Shrugged out yet??

    I want to write about an old movie that I watched in sections over 3 days last week: Watch on the Rhine…it had been ages since I’d seen it, and was wary because that old Communist, Lillian Hellman wrote the play & screenplay, but I found its message of anti-totalitariananism straightforward and moving, and really, quite topical.

    So when it was over, I didn’t regret watching it again. AND there was one of those wonderful movie lines at the end…you know…the kind you like to save in your brain and savor.

    The family matriarch, used to getting her way, and comfortably rooted in her complacency, is forced to confront what her daughter, and her daughter’s German family have been living thru in a Europe going dark and very nasty.

    In her “wake-up” moment, the older woman announces to her son, “Well, we’ve been shaken out of the magnolia!” Yes, indeed they had.

    • lysie says:

      From what I see it opens April 15th.

    • 4littlebears says:

      Why doesn’t someone do book reviews too?

    • Bitwhacker says:

      Hey — update on Atlas Shrugged: AS III is in the works, and is supposed to be out 12 SEP 2014, according to the usual suspects. This installment will be interesting because, after the first two parts, each with different people in the major roles, the third one went unloved by the moguls of Hollywood. So, this being the Internet Age, the producers went to Kickstarter to get funding. Kickstarter, in case you don’t know, is the kida people’s entrepreneurship site, where ordinary people kick in money in hopes of bootstrapping projects that have been neglected by the Big Money. The game console Ouya is one example (I got one of the first units and it ain’t bad).

      So anyway, if AS III has even a smidgen of success, it was all due to fans dropping $$$ to make it happen — so maybe it will be free of the Hollywood editorial taint. It does set a precedent though, and H-wood should sit up and take notice that movies don’t necessarily have to be vetted by the moguls, big studios and financiers in order to get made. πŸ™‚

  22. Molly Pitcher says:

    Bit Did you see the recent list at NRO of the top 20 conservative movies?

    Some I’m familiar with…some not, and others I need to go back and watch again , like Stillman’s Metropolitan

    • Bitwhacker says:

      Yeah, I saw their list. The big, big problem I have with it is that they only go back 25 years, so even the great movies of the 60’s aren’t there (A Bridge Too Far, 12 O’clock High, etc.). If that’s the same list you mentioned.

  23. Jemian says:

    Seven Brides For Seven Brothers is on tv right now. I love that movie. My favorite parts are the dance at the barn raising and the song Sobbing Women.

  24. lysie says:

    Thanks for the review. I’ll watch it when Sarah buys the dvd. She’s a dvd movie collector.
    I’ll try to be fair when I watch it, but I’m not a big remake fan.

  25. Bitwhacker says:

    Tue Grit (2010) — Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin

    • Bitwhacker says:

      True Grit (2010) – Heavy *sigh*. Why does Hollywood insist on remakes, especially a remake of a movie that is a classic in its own right?

      I had the pleasure (or misfortune) of seeing the original True Grit from 1969 with John Wayne, Glenn Campbell and Kim Darby again very recently, so I’m afraid the chances of my reviewing this version totally on its own merits are about nil. But that is as it should be — if they wanted a totally different take on True Grit, they should have called it something else.

      I need to say right off that Jeff Bridges is no John Wayne. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his moments, and he kind of settles into an approximation of Rooster Cogburn that comes very close to working. But, really: he takes the stammering-drunken-marshal meme to the extreme, so much so that half the dialogue spoken by him in the first half of the movie is obscured by his overwrought, slurred speech. (It occurs to me, however, that he may have been method acting, in which case it was VERY realistic πŸ˜‰ ).

      The Coen Brothers remain fairly faithful to the original plot almost all the way through the movie, which is gratifying to those of us who are fans of the original. I can’t say enough good things about Hailie Steinfeld, who plays the 14-year old Mattie Ross. She is prissy and focused and unrealistic and childlike all in the right combination at the right times. Kim Darby did a decent job in the original; Hailee Steinfeld just owns the role.

      Matt Damon turns in a above-average performance as Texas Ranger Le Boef (‘but I pronounce it LA BEEF’ he proclaims). I don’t know what to make of his clipped, super-formal dialogue (which is the first departure from the original). Glenn Campbell played the part as a folksy, country boy who made good and took his duty as a Texas Ranger deadly seriously, while not being above the occasional side deal like the one that brings him to the Western Territories. Matt Damon — seems like a northerner who settled in Texas and is stiff as a board around people he doesn’t know. There is almost no trace of a Texas accent (although Campbell had that Arkansas twang working). Still, he pulls the role off because of his reactions to Bridges’ antics, particularly when they are arguing over who’s more qualified to bring in the outlaw (you have to see the shooting contest, in which a drunken Bridges tries to prove to both Le Boef and Mattie that, even with one eye and belly full of rotgut, he can still shoot the eye of a pigeon at 90 yards — and almost shoots everyone watching).

      Oh, by the way, Josh Brolin is in this pic. He sucks out loud. He should be so ashamed of his performance that he should mail the money he made back to the studio and get a real job. At least his dialogue was understandable, I’ll give him that. But anybody could have played his role — he brought nothing to the party. Jonah Hex he was not in this film.

      The Coen Bros. stray from the original plot in the end, so much so that it really ruins the ending. And even through the first half of the movie, you really don’t get the interaction or the depth of the relationship Cogburn has with the Chinese housekeeper and his cat. Also, several key scenes were cut from this movie, especially the ones during the initial ride out, where Le Boef and Cogburn are trying to lose Mattie on the trail.

      See it??? Yes, by all means, go see it. The cinematography is superior to the original — which looked like a 70’s movie made about the 1880’s. If you are looking for a faithful remake of the original movie, this ain’t it, but it is watchable in its own right because of the unique acting that takes place this time around.

      I give it a 7 out of 10. πŸ˜‰

    • The Raven says:

      I give your review a 10 0f 10. You should do this for a living.

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