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  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 27 Jun, 2015

    There are really only two reasons a sequel is valid. You either have more story to tell or you can somehow improve upon what came before. At least one of these is true in this case, and James Cameron understands that. So, he closes the book on his man vs. machine saga in grand fashion: with awesome spectacle and a sense of fun.

    Cameron paints the sequel to his own work with the same brush that he did for Aliens...…

  • Ouija

    Ouija 2014

    ★★ Watched 25 Jun, 2015

    What are you expecting? Something good? Something classy? It's a basically standard haunted house movie, built around the concept of a spirit board, co-produced by Michael Bay and the Hasbro toy company as a promotional tool for the mass market spirit board sold in toy stores around the world and put out by the Hasbro toy company.

    Two things... Far as movies based on board games go, I can say it comes off as a more adequately mounted and serviceable…

  • The Terminator

    The Terminator 1984

    ★★★★ Rewatched 19 Jun, 2015

    The first entry in the classic action series might seem slightly tame now. When compared to the more bombastic sequels, certainly, but also when placed against all the more elaborate sci fi thrillers it influenced.

    And it is not without clear influences itself... Yes, the Harlan Ellison short stories that were ultimately acknowledged. But also, James Cameron was very clearly a student of the people he'd worked with coming up: Roger Corman and John Carpenter. The latter's influence is all…

  • Jurassic World

    Jurassic World 2015

    ★★★ Watched 14 Jun, 2015

    Right from the get go, you can tell this movie is a torch passer... Executive Producer Steven Spielberg resurrects his nearly twenty year dormant franchise and the result is ultimately not unlike the pile of adventure fantasies he put his stamp on throughout the 80s. That is to say: A Spielberg movie that he didn't direct, but could have.

    While it may not capture the sense of surprise and wonder present in 1993 and, let's face it, special effects have…

  • Before I Go to Sleep

    Before I Go to Sleep 2014

    ★★ Watched 04 Jun, 2015

    This is going to remind people of Memento.

    Sure... It's a little of that. It's like if Lifetime had aired a thriller sometime in 2000 trying to capitalize on the success of Memento. It's also, get this, what you'd have of you took that Adam Sandler movie 50 First Dates and remade it as a thriller.

    It's also not as good as either of those movies.

    Nicole Kidman is terrific. Don't get me wrong. It's a harrowing premise for a…

  • San Andreas

    San Andreas 2015

    ★★ Watched 31 May, 2015

    The idea of The Rock performing big time heroics during a massive earthquake is, I'm sure, as enticing for everyone as it is for me...

    Added to that, we just like to see shit get blowed up real good, don't we? I mean, last time we saw The West Coast slide into the ocean (just as a plane took off in the nick of time) was in Roland Emmerich's masterpiece: 2012. And that was a whole lot of fun.

    Yup.…

  • Shining Through

    Shining Through 1992

    Watched 30 May, 2015

    Oh, no doubt about it, this one is pretty bad. Right from the get go too; and it never improves.

    Maybe there's a good movie in here...somewhere. But, of course, you'd have to pick one. Because one of the problems, I think, is there's too much movie. I've never read the book upon which this is based. But you can kind of tell it's based on a novel because of the fact it's so needlessly sprawling and epic in its…

  • Inherent Vice

    Inherent Vice 2014

    ★★★ Watched 25 May, 2015

    It's possible that Paul Thomas Anderson has made the first stoner movie that doesn't require the actual stoning... As the experience of watching it already makes you feel as if you're positively baked beyond all reason.

    Oh, for God's sake, don't ask me to explain any of this to you because I promise I don't have the first damn clue.

    Besides, I don't think it matters.

    This is all attitude and pure atmosphere... You're expected to take it all in,…

  • Focus

    Focus 2015

    ★★ Watched 24 May, 2015 1

    Scam movies are usually a lot of fun. We can delight in watching con men pull off one intricate swindle or another and we don't have to feel too bad about rooting for them, since their prey tends to be obnoxious rich assholes.

    Glenn Ficarra and John Requa certainly understand that principle. And they've applied the basics of the con movie genre to this amalgam of The Sting and The Thomas Crown Affair...

    Especially that last one. And, in case…

  • The Late Shift

    The Late Shift 1996

    ★★★ Watched 23 May, 2015

    Yeah... This is okay, I guess.

    At the time this was made, the subject was topical. Now, I suppose it's just a story about a bunch of assholes who all want the same slice of cake.

    Whether or not there was ever any kind of emotional investment, much less weight, to any of this I really don't know. Back when the tug of war for The Tonight Show between Dave Letterman and Jay Leno happened, it was a big deal.…

  • Maggie

    Maggie 2015

    ★★★ Watched 22 May, 2015

    This is most definitely not the zombie movie Arnold Schwarzenegger would have made in 1985.

    And I'll just go ahead and assume most of his lunkhead "fans" probably walked out of this low key, limited release effort either scratching their heads or bitching loudly or both.

    For the rest of us, that is to say, just regular people who appreciate a good little movie, all of this is pretty much good news.

    It's kind of fascinating, really, to watch Arnold…

  • Left Behind

    Left Behind 2014

    Watched 21 May, 2015

    It's a surprising and interesting turn of events... When I can say, with absolute certainty, that the cheaper low rent version from a decade ago - starring Kirk Fucking Cameron - is superior to the big, glossy remake headlined by Nicolas Cage...

    ...of all people.

    A relatively hefty expense was, in any case, placed forward into this silly enterprise - that bends over backwards trying to distinguish itself from standard Christian tract cinema, while never quite getting there either way.…