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  • Whiplash 2013

    ★★★★½ Added

    Excellent film. I was a little worried it would become "misery porn." Who wants to spend a full movie watching a dictatorial teacher attacking his helpless students? Not me. But, any abusive scenes are actually fairly short and few in number, and the abuse doesn't seem too outrageous or unrealistic.

    The story is solid and progresses in interesting ways all the way to the end. I liked the way the characters were well rounded. Student Andrew Nieman (Miles Teller) isn't…

  • Fury 2014

    ★★★½ Added

    Two or three cheesy "war movie moments" here and there, but overall a very solid, entertaining movie. Nice pacing, excellent production value, and a good cast as well. The geography of the final climactic battle wasn't as well portrayed as the earlier battles, but admittedly the battle was at night and didn't detract from the film significantly. I'm so glad that "Fury" didn't feature shakycam and quick edits. They're bane of my existence, especially in action and war movies. The camera shakes because of the explosions, of course, but it's not the endless handheld camera that I was dreading.

  • John Wick 2014

    ★★ Added

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Every so often there's a popular and critically praised film that comes out, and for some mysterious reason, I don't feel it. "John Wick" is one of those films. So, I'd like to make a disclaimer I've made before on other popular films: you should ignore this review and just see (and enjoy) the movie for yourself. This negative review is definitely an aberration. Most audiences really enjoyed "John Wick".

    There are some elements to praise. It is quite refreshing…

  • A Good Marriage 2014

    ½ Added

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    In 1977 novelist Stephen King published a slim novel titled "Rage" under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. "Rage" was about a school shooting, and was later reprinted under King's name once his Bachman moniker was revealed to be a fake. In 1997, in response to a string of real life school shootings, King ordered "Rage" to be taken out of print, thereby opening the door to discussion about the responsibility of a fiction writer to motivating people to carry out similar…

  • Horns 2013

    ★★★ Added

    Better than the book, in my personal opinion. Still not great. For some reason the film omits Ig's encounter with his grandmother, one of the most disturbing and darkly funny scenes from the novel.

    The best scenes are Ig using the power of the horns, but those scenes are too few and far between. The rest of the story is an overplotted and convoluted mystery that just sucks most of the life from the film. Again, the mystery aspect of…

  • Dear White People 2014

    ★★★★½ Added

    Excellent film. "Dear White People" is one of the rarest of things: a satire that doesn't feel the need to be funny or hateful every frame. Plus, it's a satire filled with three dimensional, intelligent characters. How many times a decade does that happen? It's a sad reminder of how many movies today require their characters to be moronic in order for their plots to move forward.

    The only flaw I can see is that sometimes it verges close to…

  • Saving Mr. Banks 2013

    ★★★½ Added

    Decent, fairly straightforward film. As much as I wanted to resist, eventually it won me over. It expertly re-creates the burnished, sunny, strangely artificial feeling of Disney live action films from the 1960's. For some, that may be a drawback. For others, it will have a familiar, nostalgic feeling already built in.

    At times the film is a little too cutesy, most especially with Paul Giamatti as Mrs. Travers' driver. The running joke of him messing up her name made…

  • Grand Piano 2013

    ★★ Added 2

    It's "Phone Booth" on a stage! Actually, that's not a good comparison, because, ludicrous as it was "Phone Booth" is a pretty good movie. "Grand Piano", however, is one of the most profoundly stupid films I've ever seen.

    The good parts: decent production value, it's always great to see Alex Winter on screen in anything, and Elijah Wood does a good job and works hard.

    The bad: did I mention that this movie was ridiculous? There's a terrible early scene…

  • Force Majeure 2014

    ★★★½ Added

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    For some reason this is being sold as a sort of comedy. I don't agree. If it is a comedy, it is very dark humor. It's mostly a sad and serious relationship drama about human behavior. There's a little bit of story fatigue during the third act as some of the built up momentum is lost, but luckily it avoids cheap story cliches and is overall a satisfying and mature watch.

    At times the film verges toward "sadness porn", but…

  • Damien: Omen II 1978

    ★★★★ Added

    I think "Damien: Omen II" is an underrated sequel. It's well made, with excellent miniature work, and a decent plot that builds on the original story without duplicating it.

    Jonathan Scott-Taylor is well cast as Damien, and the character is surprisingly approachable and sympathetic. William Holden is fine, but his character isn't the focus of the film the way Gregory Peck was in the first one. The train death is a little silly, but the elevator sequence is awesome.

  • The Omen 1976

    ★★★★½ Added

    Solid, spooky classic. Probably the best of all the big budget horror films that followed in the wake of "The Exorcist." It is paced and directed well, with high production value. Gregory Peck sure does make for an unusual horror movie protagonist. He is about as far as you can get from the shrieking teenager running through the woods, so to watch him under increasing pressure is different to say the least. The demise of David Warner's character holds up very well, and is still one of the most shocking and spectacular deaths in horror film history, I believe.

  • Beyond the Black Rainbow 2010

    ★★★ Added

    Very difficult one to review. Frankly, I quite enjoyed the first hour, with its industrial strength weirdness, meticulous production design, and deliberately slow pace. It was as if Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch had collaborated on a lost movie. I didn't know what was going on, but it was still somehow compelling.

    And for the first hour, I truly thought it was a film from the late '70's or early '80's. I thought Michael Rogers as Barry was really great.…