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  • The Karate Kid 1984

    ★★★★ Rewatched 27 Aug, 2014

    I suppose you could argue that John G. Avildsen's patented Rocky formula ... Or, to put it plainly, the Rocky formula in general, has grown somewhat stale at this point. Maybe it's a little difficult to go back 30 years and imagine a time when this movie felt fresh.

    Did it ever feel fresh?

    Probably. Because, formula aside, it's actually a nicely crafted movie.

    The core of the piece - the mentor/apprentice relationship between the title character and the mythical…

  • Sin City 2005

    ★★★★ Rewatched 25 Aug, 2014

    A triumph of style over substance...

    The novelty has worn off. But that doesn't make the movie any less entertaining. And that's because Frank Miller's overwrought noir stories have enough going for them, with elements of camp and satisfying EC crime comics irony to them, it's easy to just sit back and enjoy them.

    Also, they were smart to pick the best of the bunch to give cinematic treatment. The film's basic narrative thrust is driven by those two fun…

  • Charley Varrick 1973

    ★★★★★ Watched 22 Aug, 2014

    A splendid surprise, this movie...

    You want to see Walter Matthau as a badass? Here you go... In which he plays a tough as nails thief on the run from the mob after taking their money from a small town bank.

    Meanwhile, you have the cool exec with a heart of steel...John Fucking Vernon...calling the shots for the bad guys; and slick redneck asshole hitman Joe Don Baker chasing after our hero.

    What more could you possibly want for an…

  • The Expendables 3 2014

    ★★★ Watched 16 Aug, 2014

    I'll say this up front to just get it out of the way... This is the best of the Expendables movies.

    The first one was a good idea... Get the 80s action has beens together in one movie and see what happens. The result was entertaining, but it looked cheap... And it felt like an anticlimax given the little they actually did with the concept.

    For the second one, they roped in more people... But they thought what we REALLY…

  • Humanoids from the Deep 1980

    ★★ Watched 10 Aug, 2014

    Well... It's definitely different I'll give it that much.

    It also isn't very good.

    But, look, far as Jaws ripoffs go... I suppose there are worse ones than this. Certainly less interesting ones than this. Far as late seventies cult movies go... Far as Roger Corman cheapies go... This is probably among the slickest of the bunch.

    Oh, make no mistake, it's a cheap B movie from the late seventies. So... Slick might not be the best word. But there…

  • King Solomon's Mines 1985

    Watched 10 Aug, 2014

    I'm going to be honest... This movie is dreadful.

    But there is an interesting, even good movie buried in here somewhere. You have to look past the fact that it's an absolutely blatant Indy ripoff. And that's not even a big deal in and of itself because there were tons of these back in the day. Even Chuck Norris has one.

    The problem is not the fact it's a ripoff. That would be fine if it went about its business…

  • Super 2010

    ★★ Watched 09 Aug, 2014

    James Gunn is an intelligent filmmaker. And that shows in this witty approach to the "realistic superhero genre." It's definitely the sharpest of the bunch.

    And I think that's mainly because it's the one that displays its protagonists as mentally unbalanced sociopaths.

    Because you would have to be. In the real world, for a person to put on a costume and go out to "fight crime," well... I honestly think that person is deranged. And this movie seems to agree…

  • Divergent 2014

    ★★ Watched 08 Aug, 2014

    Here's what this movie is about...

    Basically, this is the story of a girl born into a family of democrats. And so, at the age of eighteen, the day comes when she must register to vote. This is a grand ceremony where the entire civilized world seems to attend. Including the girl's family.

    Her brother chooses to align himself with the republicans.

    She chooses to be a libertarian.

    Ultimately, she must be the one to thwart an evil republican plot…

  • The Tall Man 2012

    ★★ Watched 06 Aug, 2014

    Much like Pascal Laugier's own Martyrs, this is a serpentine film with a narrative that piles twist upon twist, leading to a final revelation.

    Unlike Martyrs, though, the twists aren't really all that interesting. And there are a good 40-odd minutes to go by the time you've pretty much figured out the end game and are waiting for the movie to catch up with your conclusions.

    On the plus side, this is an atmospheric film. And it does seem to…

  • Out of the Furnace 2013

    ★★★ Watched 06 Aug, 2014

    This violent white trash melodrama is very well cast.

    I don't know that the quality of that cast is justified by such a simplistic, straightforward storyline, though.

    Which begs the question of how they were all roped in.

    It's not so much that the script or plot are "bad" per se... Just that this is pretty standard stuff that offers no surprises and hits all the moody small town notes as it goes through its rudimentary thriller motions.

    But maybe…

  • The Believer 2001

    ★★★ Watched 06 Aug, 2014

    Ryan Gosling gives a very strong performance in this early role. It's a tricky balancing act where he elicits empathy while still portraying an extremely hateful human being.

    The film, on a whole, is very low key. Writer/director Henry Bean cut his teeth writing stuff like Enemy of the State. And, sure, this has certain elements of a thriller. But it works much better as a character study examining the nature of hatred and cultural resentment...even as we're ultimately unclear…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 06 Aug, 2014

    Yeah, the trailers definitely didn't sell this one short and, to some extent, neither did the hype. It really is as much fun as it looks.

    There have been - and will continue to be - comparisons made to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters... There are also the tendencies that started with the trailer, of lining it up with films like Buckaroo Banzai and Big Trouble in Little China. Cult movies that didn't get their due back in the…