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  • L.A. Confidential

    L.A. Confidential

    ★★★★★

    I watched this after I saw Gladiator because I enjoyed Russell Crowe so much, I wanted to find other things he was in. I ended up loving this movie more than Gladiator! Russell is as good as I wanted him to be, and the scene where he interrupts Guy Pearce's interrogation might be the best piece of acting he's ever done. Speaking of Guy Pearce, this movie introduced me to him, and it has been a wonderful relationship ever since.…

  • Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade

    Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade

    ★★★½

    For a Hallmark Christmas movie (Thanksgiving movie), it was way better than it should be. The formula (get an actress with some name recognition and cast a pretty man next to her) works well here because Autumn Reeser is exceedingly watchable and the guy opposite her could hold his own in the acting department (which isn't always the case). The mark of a good made for Hallmark movie is that it makes you smile, and this one definitely does.

  • Turbo Kid

    Turbo Kid

    ★★★★½

    This was such a great tribute to the cheesiness of 80s sci-fi. It nails the tone and the effects, and the synth-pop score is delightful. Getting villainous 80's icon Michael Ironside as the antagonist was fantastic casting. But, the best performance was by Laurence Labeouf as the eternally cheery android. She made the entire process more enjoyable and raised a well executed tribute to the level of a sincerely great movie.

  • Straight Outta Compton

    Straight Outta Compton

    ★★★★½

    This was a risky proposition. To cast a group of unknowns to play some of the most well-known rap artists of all time. But, some truly hidden gems give great performances and NWA is truly honored by this fantastic biopic. Jason Mitchell, who plays Easy-E, gives the best performance of the bunch, managing to find the sensitive soul underneath the roughest of the group members. O'Shea Jackson Jr. gives a good performance as his father, Ice Cube. It may not bare all of NWA's warts, but this was a good movie.

  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★★★★★

    Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro give two of the best performances of the year in perhaps the most suspenseful movie of the year. Emily Blunt is my favorite actress. And given opportunities like this, to perform complex characters in great movies, she will distinguish herself as one of the best of this generation. Benicio Del Toro plays a CIA consultant who has more going on than meets the eye, and has several moments that are more than shocking. And,…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★★★

    Wow. This movie is a pure adrenaline rush. From start to finish, we are treated to some of the greatest action sequences ever put on film. And, most of the effects were done practically, which is all the more impressive in this digital age. The story is simple yet compelling. Furiosa, one of warlord Immortan Joe's War rig drivers, has had enough and absconds with Immortan Joe's harem, stealing the most impressive battle truck in the fleet. Max, who has…

  • I'll Be Home for Christmas

    I'll Be Home for Christmas

    ★★★½

    This is a Christmas movie you can catch on netflix right now. It is a Jonathan Taylor Thomas (remember him?) vehicle about a young guy away at school travelling across the country to make it home by Christmas eve dinner and all the obstacles along the way. Jessica Biel gives a good performance as his estranged girlfriend. There are some unbelievable plot contrivances, and some surprisingly adult humor and references for a family comedy, but Jonathan Taylor Thomas really was a charismatic enough performer to build a movie around. This is one of the better Christmas movies on netflix right now.

  • One Magic Christmas

    One Magic Christmas

    ★★★

    This is an okay Christmas movie you can catch on netflix right now. It's about a mother who isn't in the Christmas spirit, so her young daughter teams up with a Christmas angel to win her over. It is anchored by a great performance by Mary Steenburgen as the mother. Without her, this movie would have been dead on arrival. She props up melodrama and cheesy dialogue with quiet dignity. This movie gets surprisingly dark for a family Christmas movie,…

  • The Nine Lives of Christmas

    The Nine Lives of Christmas

    ★★★½

    I love me some Hallmark Christmas movies. I watch as many as I can every Christmas season. I have to say, this is one of the best ones. Ever since the Superman Returns debacle, Brandon Routh gives one winning performance after another. In this, he plays a firefighter with commitment issues who is won over, first by Ambrose the cat (which may be the best cat name ever), and then by a veterinarian student with the same kind of commitment…

  • Crimson Peak

    Crimson Peak

    ★★★½

    Guillermo Del Toro as a director is a craftsman. Visually, his movies are strikingly beautiful. Crimson Peak takes that to the next level. It is like a painting come to life. It is the most beautiful haunted house I have ever seen. And, he has populated it with likeable actors, specifically the brother/sister team of Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain (who gives one of her better performances and has clearly established herself as one of Hollywood's very best leading ladies).…

  • The Martian

    The Martian

    ★★★★½

    Ridley Scott is my favorite director. Not every movie he makes is a great one. He swings hard and strikes out some of the time. But, when he connects, he hits homeruns. The Martian is a homerun. The story is told so enjoyably. The narrative is interesting and easy to follow. Matt Damon gives one of his best performances ever to make a stranded astronaut someone you care about and root for. That makes it a good movie. What makes…

  • Ant-Man

    Ant-Man

    ★★★★

    Ant-Man certainly isn't a bad movie. Paul Rudd is as likeable a leading man as Marvel has. The tone of the movie is funny and endearing. Michael Pena is a treasure. T.I. gives maybe the most surprisingly good performance of the summer (akin to Batista in Guardians of the Galaxy last year). Corey Stoll made a good, if not great, villain. What it doesn't have is scope. It's sights were set a lot lower than most Marvel movies. But, even…