Movie Review: The Girl on the Train *****


The Girl on the Train is a suspense murder mystery drama starring Emily Blunt. A woman rides the train to and from the city every day. She is an alcoholic who starts to daydream about one particular house and the attractive couple that lives there. It turns out that she used to reside in the neighborhood and has some bad memories of her life there with her ex-husband. She wishes their relationship had been more like the couple in the other house. She has a history of blacking out and has to be told what happened when she awakens from her stupor. The girl in the house disappears, and she gets involved in the search, which leads to her becoming one of the suspects. Her drunkenness prevents her from being able to recall what happened over several hours during the night of the disappearance.

This movie has a very high sexual theme with brief nudity, a lot of erotic situations, and blunt sex talk. The movie depicts drunkenness, infidelity, and loathsomeness of several characters. Some of the characters are depicted at the very worst level of human abomination. Some of the characters could be heroes. Which is which? This movie has some very disturbing scenes with some very ignoble people and earned its R rating. Do not even think of letting your teenager see this movie. The story unravels very slowly and is told through shifts back and forth in time. Pay attention, as two of the characters have a similar look. The acting and the story were outstanding. You need to know going in to the theater that there is a lot of evil out there. I was creeped out by a lot of this movie. It is not a show for everybody. However, the film was done so well, that I loved it. 5 out of 5 stars.

P.S. My wife would have walked out.

Published in: on October 7, 2016 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: The Magnificent Seven *****


The Magnificent 7 is a remake of the 1960 classic western movie that starred cool guys Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and James Coburn. This one stars Denzel Washington as a cowboy who is hired to lead a group of mercenaries to keep their town from the control of the evil robber baron mining company. He assembles a group of 7 misfits who try to help the town fight back against an army of bad guys.

The story is very straightforward. The character development is excellent. 9 main roles are researched and formed into people we care about. There is a lot of horseback riding, a lot of shooting, a lot of killing, along with some burning and explosions. It earned its PG-13 rating. I liked everything about this movie more than the original that I watched on Turner Classic Movies just the other day, with the exception of the musical score. The story is believable in front of an outstanding backdrop of the Rocky Mountains during the Wild West era. This is one of the best westerns I have seen in a long time. I loved it. 5 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on September 25, 2016 at 6:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Snowden *****


Snowden is the true story about the guy who released secret NSA documents to the media. Edward Snowden is a self-taught computer coding genius who dropped out of high school, received an administrative discharge from the Army, and became a private contractor with the CIA, NSA, DIA, and other government agencies. His intellect, conscience, and loyalty are compromised when he witnesses covert operations that are deemed normal, but are morally reprehensible. He is torn about what is pragmatic, what is his job, and what is his duty. He decides to work with the press to secretly get them documents that would uncover the level of spying that the NSA is doing on regular Americans. His plan is successfully executed, he goes on the run, and gets stuck in Moscow.

I think that most people recognize Ed Snowden’s name, but do not realize exactly what he was trying to do. This film identifies Snowden and shows who he was, what he did, and why he did it. It explains the level of information that has been gathered about our enemies, our allies, and our citizens. It shows the soul searching that lead to what some will call an act of treason and others and act of patriotism. This is an important movie that will be in the news again when his asylum runs out. It may be renewed, he could be smuggled out, or he could be extradited. This story is not over, yet. Snowden wants to come home and face the consequences, but he wants to be tried in a public court. This movie is filmed like a news expose. This Oliver Stone movie is over 2 hours long. The story is told very well. There are some bonus scenes during the credits. The movie is excellent for the information it provides. The actor looks like Snowden. The story is outstanding. I loved it. 5 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on September 16, 2016 at 7:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Sully *****


Sully is the real life news movie about the airline pilot that safely landed a jet in the Hudson River. Tom Hanks plays Sully. Birds get sucked into both engines of a jet causing it to lose thrust. Without power, Sully decides to make a forced water landing, and saves the lives of everyone on board. The movie is based on the investigation that follows. It presumes Captain Sully is guilty of making a bad decision when there was an airport just a few miles away where he might have safely landed the plane. The movie focuses on the Traffic Safety Board’s investigation and Sully’s testimony that eventually leads to his exoneration.

Sully is directed by Clint Eastwood, which automatically makes it a must-see movie. The acting is great. The story is familiar, but I did not remember the details of the investigation. There are a lot of flashbacks that accurately depict Sully reliving the event to try to remember every minute detail to reason that his decision to land in the river was a better choice than hoping to make it to an airport. There are two bonus scenes during the credits that are worth waiting around to watch. I love true stories. This one gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on September 16, 2016 at 5:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: War Dogs *****

movie war dogs

War Dogs is a Jonah Hill movie about civilians who sell arms during war time. It is a true story. A couple of buddies reunite a few years after high school and discover that anybody can buy and sell military equipment to the government. There is a lot of money to be made by being the middle man who puts the buyers and sellers together without ever directly handling the merchandise. They start small, but find a connection of a lifetime that could make a huge score. There is some shadiness, fear of double-crossing, and skirting of foreign and domestic laws that get them into a lot of trouble. They find a unique but ridiculous solution to their problem that just might work.

Jonah Hill is one of my favorite young actors. I liked his role in this movie. The story is real–that is what made it intriguing. The plot was set up and unraveled very well. The locations were seedy, not glamorous as many other movies project. The acting was very good and the soundtrack was outstanding. I loved this movie. 5 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on August 19, 2016 at 11:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Suicide Squad ***

movie suicide squad

Suicide Squad is a DC comics superhero movie. Gotham City is concerned that if a powerful being like Superman or Batman were to go rogue, how would they defend the city? The answer is to take convicted criminals and have them do the dirty work. Of course, they could eliminate the mercenaries at any time by igniting an internal capsule bomb, so the criminals are forced to do their bidding. Other super villains attack Gotham City and the Suicide Squad is tested.

Very interesting concept in handling crime with criminals. I was introduced to new comic book characters like the instant icon, Harley Quinn. A new Joker had a good look and a limited part, while Batman made a cameo appearance. Most of the rest of the characters were new to me. They did a decent job of introducing the new cast and told a decent story. I still didn’t like it. Too many new characters with insufficient backgrounds and an incomplete story line. I loved Joker and Harley Quinn, but I didn’t like the movie very much. Barely worth 3 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on August 19, 2016 at 11:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Free State of Jones *****

movie free state of jones

Free State of Jones is a Matthew McConaughey movie about the American Civil War. A Confederate soldier watches his kin die. In bringing him back home to be buried, he starts thinking about why they are at war. He doesn’t own slaves and the slave owners are exempted from fighting to reinstate slavery that would benefit them. He decides the Confederacy is not what he stands for as a man, so he deserts and defends women and children against pillagers in his home county of Jones, Mississippi. Soon he is joined by runaway slaves and more deserters. Eventually, they get a large enough following to declare their own state. They call it Jones and defend it against Confederate soldiers until the war ends. Further problems ensue during Reconstruction and the struggle for true freedom continues.

This is a little known true story that tells about one man who disagrees with his country’s decision to go to war and what this one man does about it. Rebelling against your rebellious nation is a concept I had not thought had happened in our history. The story is very well told, but moves very slowly. It touches on many social issues and tells about historical eras surrounding the war that are familiar, but not necessarily recognized for what they actually allowed. The acting is good, the story is very interesting, and the history lesson is fantastic. I loved it. 5 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on August 19, 2016 at 11:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond *****

movie star trek beyond

Star Trek Beyond is the latest movie in the Star Trek saga. Young Captain Kirk and his crew are trying to save the universe once again from a really bad guy. The bad guy is hiding in a hard to get to place and is developing weapons to destroy the Federation. Kirk and his crew must stop the assault before the inter galactic peace is broken.

I love everything about Star Trek. I especially like this new cast. Another new adventure for the crew of the StarShip Enterprise was very well done. The characters are familiar, the special effects are great, and the story was good with a brand new nemesis who was easy to despise. 5 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on August 19, 2016 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Jason Bourne *****

movie jason bourne

Jason Bourne is the latest in the Bourne movie series. Jason has lost a lot of his memory, but some of it is coming back. He is investigating new programs IronFist and BlueDream while trying to find out more about his past. The CIA is trying to take him out. But why? He remains one step ahead of them as he travels across Europe and America. A final confrontation in Las Vegas ends the movie but leaves room for another sequel.

I love all things Jason Bourne. I like the character. I like the operations. I like the cat and mouse game. I like the intelligence, the technology, and the chase scenes. This movie has plenty of all of that. It would help to have seen the previous Bourne movies, but any mentions of information from the previous movies are handled very well for newcomers. The plot was easy to follow. The action was intense. The final chase scene was spectacular. It involved a muscle car and an armored truck in Las Vegas. Matt Damon is my favorite modern actor. This is not the best of the Bourne series, but I still give it the full 5 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on August 19, 2016 at 11:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Jem and the Holograms ****

movie jem and the holograms

Jem and the Holograms is a movie from last year that is now playing on HBO. The cartoon character from the 1980s is a real girl. Jem and her sister are orphaned when their geek dad dies. They move in with their cousins and spend time singing and playing musical instruments together while this extended family struggles to survive. Jem’s cousin secretly takes a video of her performing an original song. Unbeknownst to Jem, the video goes viral. Nobody takes credit for the hit, until a shady promoter finds her and signs her to a contract and plans a big opening mystery tour. Scheduled appearances around L.A. create a buzz that young people want to see who the mystery performer is, while Jem looks for messages her dad has hidden all around town. The girl group breaks up, and everything seems to be falling apart until a final dramatic ending.

This movie was rated as one of the biggest movie flops of 2015. They averaged just 14 people per screen during their widely distributed opening week. This movie was aimed at the pre-teen/early teen demographic–they didn’t respond, even though the story is good, the fashions are fun, and the soundtrack is excellent. There is a sidekick robot that is pretty goofy, but was necessary to tell the story, so I was OK with it. There are several cameo appearances that I enjoyed very much. There are bonus scenes after the credits that are worth watching and let us know that there could be a sequel. The story is very predictable, the acting is just alright, the casting was just alright. I still liked the movie enough to give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on August 19, 2016 at 10:59 am  Leave a Comment