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April 2017
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A Beautiful Mind
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Melvin Udall
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Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

Fences



Fences_teaser-poster

Directed by: Denzel Washington
Written by: August Wilson
Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Mykelti Williamson, Stephen Henderson
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Genre: Drama
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: Boogie Buddha (8/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

The Magnificent Seven



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Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by: John Hancock
Cast: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Haley Bennett, Matt Bomer, Vincent D'Onofrio, Cam Gigandet, Byung-hun Lee, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes
Studio: MGM
Genre: Action, Western
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

Let me make one thing clear up front, save for maybe Star Trek Beyond, I don't know that I was more entertained at the theater this year than I was with Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven. It's funny and action packed, has great performances from a likable cast, features a great score (started by the late James Horner and finished by Simon Franglen) and beautiful cinematography courtesy of Fuqua-regular Mauro Fiore...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: acerky (8/10) , Moviefreak2010 (10/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

X-Men: Apocalypse



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Directed by: Bryan Singer
Written by:
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Rose Byrne, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Carolina Bartczak
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Genre: Action, Comic Book, Science-Fiction
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

Have you ever watched a movie after reading numerous negative comments from critics (and even some audiences) and wondered, "Did I see the same movie?" We all have at one point or another. And that is exactly how I felt once the credits rolled on the latest entry in the X-Men franchise...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: cerealkiller182 (7/10) , oscarxp25 (6/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

Zootopia



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Directed by: Byron Howard
Written by: Phil Johnston
Cast: Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, J.K. Simmons, Bonnie Hunt, Idris Elba, Nate Torrence, Jenny Slate, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Don Lake
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

The last time a Disney feature received overwhelming critical and audience acclaim, such as Zootopia has been getting, was last year's Inside Out (a Disney/Pixar production). I allowed my hopes to get quite high, then was disappointed to find that film just didn't appeal to me as much as it did to others. In fact, I slept through at least twenty minutes of it in the theater. That's not to knock it for people that did enjoy it. I certainly intend to give it a second chance someday soon. However, that experience caused me to keep my enthusiasm a bit more in check when Zootopia was released to glowing reviews and big box office. I loved the trailers. They didn't give the whole film away like some do, and one of them was basically just the sloths at the DMV scene from the film, which I probably watched a dozen times because it is just so funny. Anyway, I went into Zootopia with high hopes, but level expectations. Thankfully, this time, I was not disappointed...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: MrsData (9/10) , Moviefreak2010 (10/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

Hail, Caesar!



Hail-caesar-poster-1

Directed by: Ethan Coen
Written by: Ethan Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton, David Krumholtz, Fisher Stevens, Clancy Brown, Patrick Fischler
Studio: Universal
Genre:
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

Hail Caesar! is not an easy review. Let me first say that the Coens are two of my favorite filmmakers, and while I don't think every film they make is a masterpiece, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find writers and directors as creative as they are. And HC certainly doesn't lack creativity. It's full of wonderful set pieces and sequences designed to pay tribute to old Hollywood. And most of these, particularly Hobie Doyle's (Alden Ehrenreich) wild west horse chase, DeeAnna Moran's (Scarlett Johansson) mermaid water dance, and Burt Gurney's (Channing Tatum) sailors song and dance number, are quite dazzling. The best scene in the movie is actually a simple one that involves a group of theologists arguing over whether the film Hail Caesar! would be offensive to Christians (Trekkies should keep an eye out for Voyager's Robert Picardo, who steals this scene...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: cerealkiller182 (8/10) , AlmostFamous91 (8/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

The Hateful Eight



The-hateful-eight-poster1

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Walton Goggins, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Channing Tatum, Zoe Bell, Gene Jones
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Genre: Action, Crime, Independent, Western
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

The feel-good family comedy you've all been waiting for is finally here: Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. Now if you know anything about movies you know I'm being sarcastic. Tarantino's movies have a reputation for vulgarity and graphic in-your-face violence. H8ful takes that to another level. It should be noted that at its core this is a comedy and the gross over-the-top violence is really meant to elicit a comic effect. Still, for some viewers it will be very off-putting. As for the controversy surrounding the N-word frequently used in the film-much of the film is about racial tension. Viewers that don't realize that aren't really paying attention. Heck, one of the chapters in the movie is titled "Black Man, White Hell." So hearing the N-word flying around in this film is much like hearing it in Django Unchained or 12 Years A Slave. As unfortunate as it is, this negative word was common for the time period. And to be fair, Samuel L. Jackson says it just as much as anyone else on screen...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: cerealkiller182 (8/10) , HoyleHaw (9/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

Spotlight



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Directed by: Thomas McCarthy
Written by: Thomas McCarthy
Cast: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup
Studio: Open Road Films
Genre: Thriller
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

This seems to be a Winter movie season full of topical films with tough subject matter. Movies like Room, Concussion and The Danish Girl are already making waves. So is Spotlight, director Tom McCarthy's (The Station Agent, The Visitor) account of the Boston Globe journalism team that took on the Catholic Church and helped uncover decades of child abuse at the hands of priests. Understandably, Spotlight is one of hardest movies to watch this year simply because the subject is so unsettling. Hearing detailed accounts of child abuse isn't supposed to be easy to hear, and while the film thankfully doesn't spend enormous amounts of time wallowing in those details, it doesn't pull its punches either. McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer deserve a lot of credit for writing what I believe is the best script of the year. It's a talkative movie, for sure, but the dialogue doesn't feel phony or unnatural, and wise decisions were made in choosing exactly what details to include to help create a motion picture that would be informative but also intriguing and well-paced...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: psykowrks (9/10) , oscarxp25 (8/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

In the Heart of the Sea



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Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Charles Leavitt
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Michelle Fairley, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw
Studio: Cott Productions, Enelmar Productions A.I.E., Imagine Entertainment
Genre: Drama
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

With the exception of a few films like A Beautiful Mind, Ron Howard seems to really enjoy skipping over heavy exposition and jumping right into the action with a lot of his films. This can be both to a film's benefit and its demise. When you choose to jump right into the action, instead of taking the time to help us learn about the characters' backstories and connect with them, you're forced into the difficult task of relying on characters' actions and words to create character development. While this often prevents a film from being boring, it also can make it difficult for audiences to connect with characters and care about them. It worked great in Rush, Howard's previous film with star Chris Hemsworth. In his latest film, In The Heart of the Sea, it works some of the time, but not always...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: AlmostFamous91 (6/10) , acerky (7/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

Steve Jobs



Steve-jobs-poster

Directed by: Danny Boyle
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet, Katherine Waterston, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sarah Snook, Jeff Daniels, Perla Haney-Jardine
Studio: Sony
Genre: Biography
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

Steve Jobs is probably the best play you'll see on a movie theater screen this year. (Take that Fathom Events!) Now while some may take that as a negative criticism, it is actually meant as a compliment. The reason I call it a play is because that is just how the film feels. We are essentially given three very long scenes that all seem to take place on a similar stage. The actors show up in and out of the scene, almost like they are entering and exiting an actual stage. The film is almost entirely dialogue-driven. There is no real action to speak of here that an actor couldn't do on a literal stage. As such, the film becomes dependent on script and performances, making it all the more an accomplishment that it is so compelling...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: oscarxp25 (7/10) , AlmostFamous91 (9/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

Pan



Pan-jrposter-gallery

Directed by: Joe Wright
Written by: Jason Fuchs
Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, Adeel Akhtar
Studio: Warner Bros
Genre: Action, Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

Sometimes, I have to wonder if I am watching the same movie critics saw. Pan has been slammed by critics (and even by audiences-though a B+ Cinemascore isn't terrible). Those that like the film have deemed it a bit of a hot mess. I guess I can see where they are coming from. Pan is a very colorful film with lots of ideas thrown on the screen. A couple unique things may well take some viewers out of the movie. We're introduced to the pirates chanting the lyrics to Nirvana's "Teen Spirit", a song that won't exist for another seventy or eighty years following the story's timeline. The Never-birds are so cartoonish looking you'd swear they just took Kevin from Up and tossed him into the movie with no skin. When a "native" is killed they burst into a bright-colored powder (can't have too many dead bodies laying around-this is a family movie after all). And that's just a sampling of the weird stuff you'll find in Pan. Plus when the movie does ditch CGI in some scenes in favor of practical effects and sets, those sets look quite stage-playish. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a little distracting...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: oscarxp25 (3/10) , AlmostFamous91 (7/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

The Walk



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Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Genre: Biography, Drama
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

Robert Zemeckis' The Walk is one of those movies where it is tough to separate the movie from the spectacle. A lot of comparisons have been made to Gravity, and those comparisons aren't unwarranted. Like Gravity, The Walk shows off some truly amazing technical wonder in the world of filmmaking and shows us just how good and useful 3D can be when it is used to enhance the viewing experience and not as a mere gimmick. Unfortunately, like Gravity, The Walk lacks so much in the way of story, screenplay and character development it makes you wonder if it was really a good movie or not...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: oscarxp25 (6/10) , AlmostFamous91 (6/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

The Martian



The-martian-poster

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by:
Cast: Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Sebastian Stan, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Genre: Drama, Science-Fiction
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

The Martian is gonna be this season's "Did you see?" movie. People will be discussing at work and school and so forth. Being based on a popular book and being both family friendly and brainy enough that just about anyone can enjoy it, it was bound to be a hit. It doesn't hurt however that this is Ridley Scott's best film since his director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven and his best sci-fi movie since Alien. Damon also does some of his best work here. Really, any good actor could've played the part, but Damon also has the advantage of being very likable. Had they placed someone with less behind-the-scenes grace like Christian Bale or Russell Crowe in that spacesuit, the audience may have found it more difficult to identify with him. Damon is one of our good ol' American boys and he is easy to root for...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: cerealkiller182 (8/10) , oscarxp25 (8/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

Sicario



Sicario-poster-2

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Written by: Taylor Sheridan
Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal, Victor Garber
Studio: Lionsgate
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

Well, it's here. Sicario was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, right up there with Spectre and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now that I've seen it, I wouldn't dare call Sicario a disappointment, but I wouldn't label it as my favorite of the year. After Denis Villeneuve's underseen gem Prisoners back in 2013, I eagerly awaited his next major film (he made the limited-release film, Enemy, between then and now-I've yet to see it). The two films share the similarities of being intense, suspenseful and bleak, but where Prisoners featured limited venues and focused more on characters' emotions, Sicario is a globe-trotting film (between the US and Canada anyway) that focuses on characters' actions...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: cerealkiller182 (9/10) , oscarxp25 (7/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

Black Mass



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Directed by: Scott Cooper
Written by: Russell Gewirtz
Cast: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Scott, Kevin Bacon, Sienna Miller, Corey Stoll, Juno Temple, Jesse Plemons
Studio: Universal Pictures
Genre:
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

Black Mass is a difficult movie to review, for me anyway. I believe I just went in with my expectation set too high. Judging by the excellent trailers, I thought for sure we had the next great gangster epic on our hands. Something on par or at least close too on par with Goodfellas and The Departed. Unfortunately, Black Mass doesn't measure up to those high hopes. It is by no means a bad film mind you. This if very good film-making and this is a very good film. It just isn't a great one...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: cerealkiller182 (5/10) , HoyleHaw (8/10) > Display all
Melvin Udall posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 4 months ago

The Gift



Gift_poster

Directed by: Joel Edgerton
Written by:
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall
Studio: Blumhouse
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Official Site:
Plot:

Review:

What an appropriate title. Cinemas were in need of a well-written, well acted thriller with an excellent twist-a movie you don't have to turn your brain off to enjoy. And The Gift, actor Joel Edgerton's feature directorial debut, is just that...[more]...

Other reviews of this film: oscarxp25 (10/10) , AlmostFamous91 (8/10) > Display all
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