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All reviews - Movies (3)

Still a Touchstone for Summer Action Films

Posted : 1 year, 5 months ago on 20 February 2017 05:46 (A review of Raiders of the Lost Ark)

This movie is like an old blueprint for summer blockbusters, but it is still wonderfully entertaining. It feels like a comic book movie without actually being one. The hero, Indiana Jones, is a manly guy who gets into fights, dodges booby-traps, and rescues the girl while seeking the mystical super-weapon of the Ark of the Covenant. Harrison Ford gets away with playing Indiana as a somewhat improvised action hero who doesn't plan ahead, but manages to escape deadly situations in ways that have more to do with luck (or an act of God) than his intelligence. Most important: he's just a likable guy who you sympathize with when he's a punching bag, and who you laugh with when he smirks. Without Ford, the movie would be an interesting exercise in escalating violence. Also, John Williams' music sets a really spooky mood at times that makes you wonder if ancient tombs might really hide artifacts that have mystic powers. Anyway. You probably own this on video already if you are any kind of a movie fan.  That's as it should be.

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A Great Superhero Adventure with Good Pay-offs

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 10 March 2016 09:39 (A review of Spider-Man 2)

The extended cut of this movie (available on Blu Ray) is 10 minutes longer and (in my opinion) is even better. Some scenes really flow more naturally and it's a hoot to see Jameson try on the Spidey costume.  Most people admit that this sequel surpassed the first movie in quality. In the comics Peter Parker's life (with his constant guilt and self-doubt) could get tiresome, but this movie molded it into a romantic story with wonderful pay-offs. The comics also had action and this movie is as close to classic Spider-man comics as will ever be put on film. Doctor Octopus climbs buildings as well as Spider-man, making the fight scenes look like dangerous struggles that range all over buildings and elevated trains in impressive ways.

When all is said and done this is a comic book movie with more heart than most.  The love story shines and Peter not only becomes a better Spider-man by the time the credits roll, he finally allows someone special into his life, making his life as a superhero less of a burden. 

As more and more comic book films get made these films will probably be picked apart, but there wouldn't be an Avengers or a Dark Knight if it weren't for the first two Spider-man films. Certainly Spider-man's movie career is not over yet but for the time being this sequel stands as his best moment in movies.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) review

Posted : 2 years, 5 months ago on 30 January 2016 10:31 (A review of The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993))

This movie is a little overrated but it is done with a lot of visual flair and it is a nice alternative to the usual Disney musical. There is no princess in this story that needs to satisfy today's feminists and Disney fans who are always watching these kinds of films for flaws. Instead what we basically have is a remake of How the Grinch Stole Christmas done in the Tim Burton style. It gets a little tiresome near the end, as you realize that Jack is a tragic character like Edward Scissorhands: a character that is doomed to remain outside of the world he actually admires. So even the little nods to happier cartoons like Rudolph and How the Grinch Stole Christmas feel a little inappropriate and make you wish you had watched one of those shorter holiday classics.

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