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Revenge of the Ninja -


I have a high tolerance for cheese, but this movie made me realize I have a low tolerance for sleaze. There were times while watching it when I longed for the class and sophistication of Samurai Cop or the movies of Andy Sidaris. It stars Sho Kosugi as Cho, who along with his mother, his young (and actual) son Kane and American friend Braden leave much-too violent and offensively stereotypical Tokyo for L.A. - which is obviously Salt Lake City - to open an art studio. We soon learn, though, that the studio's collection is not what it appears to be. To be fair, the movie's action scenes - save one which I'll discuss later - and their martial artistry are impressive. They are tense and exciting and made me care about their outcomes. Even so, that does not excuse the wretchedness and ugliness found in the connective tissue that strings them together. Besides having scant character development and shoddy production design, it features every kind of tastelessness you can imagine such as racial stereotyping, misogyny and child endangerment. Believe me, I'm not against movies depicting such material, but there's a problem when their depiction is tone-deaf, humorless and irresponsible like it is here. As for that "other" action scene I mentioned, it starts with Cho and ally Dave going to a park to question some ex-cons about who is interested in their studio. While a decent rumble ensues, they leave with so little to show for their time and effort that it ends up being one of the most hilariously stupid and pointless scenes in a movie I've ever watched. Again, barring this sequence, the action is above average, so if you don't mind if the quality or taste of the content between fights in movies like this one is much worse, you will probably enjoy it on the whole. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself calling your parents, hugging your pets, cleaning your house or donating to charities afterwards.
Hmm... haven't seen this in years, though I recently re-watched both Enter The Ninja and Pray For Death. Always loved Sho Kosugi but I saw most of these movies before I was able to discern good from bad films and anything with a ninja in it was good by definition (including Ninja III: The Domination).
Your write-up makes me feel like I need to see it again and see if it bothers me the way it did you.





Glass, 2019

(NOTE: This review contains general spoilers for both Split and Unbreakable that are not in spoiler text)

I had been well forewarned that many people either didn't like this film or thought it was incredibly underwhelming. I personally really liked Unbreakable (a film I saw twice in the theater) and I also enjoyed Split (which I also saw twice in the theater).

Even with lowered expectations, it was surprising just how fine I found Glass.

As the culmination of the trilogy, you would expect that the problem would be that the movie is overstuffed or working too hard to tie up any and all loose ends. Instead, the opposite seemed to be the problem to me.

The main action takes place in a mental health facility. David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Elijah Glass (Samuel L Jackson), and The Beast (James McAvoy) have all been captured and are under the "care" of a doctor (Sarah Paulson) who tries to convince them that they are not actually super-powered.

The tragedy of Glass is that it sets up two potentially interesting character arcs/themes. The first is how each of the "Supers" relates to their close ones. David's son, Elijah's mother, and Casey (Anna Taylor-Joy), the young woman who survived abduction and assault by The Beast. The other arc/theme is about how the three men actually connect to each other.

Frustratingly, the film achieves, like, a 25% success rate with both of these aspects.

Performance wise . . . eh. Jackson does fine work with Elijah--a man so lasered on his mission that he no longer has any real bearings of right or wrong. Willis plays David with the same smirk he's had on his face in every film for the last 40 years, and it feels less and less like a wry dude and more like an actor thinking "Can you believe I'm getting paid millions of dollars for this?!". McAvoy puts a lot of effort into his DID-diagnosed character, and frankly I don't think it's his fault that the script is so in love with the trick of rapidly switching between personalities. In fact, I felt as though his portrayal of Kevin (the original personality) was really strong and distinct and devoid of the showboat elements of some of the other personalities. Anna Taylor-Joy is basically wasted. It's nice that Carlayne Woodard and Spencer Treat Clark reprise their roles from Unbreakable, but neither are given much to do and as David's son, Joseph, Clark is given some painful "comic relief" moments.

A handful of nice images and some good character moments, but overall just completely forgettable.

And, frankly, I did not care for (major spoilers)
WARNING: spoilers below
all of them being killed in the end. After so much build up it just kind of made me angry.


I agree with all of this but I probably wouldn't be as generous as you.
After The Visit and Split, I thought Shyamalan was back and I was pretty excited for this film but I found it a failure made more dismal by how it's failings and failure kinda ruin the "franchise".



is thouroughly embarrassed of this old username.
Hmm, was looking forward to this but will keep my powder dry.

I can definitely see a lot of my problems with the movie just being problems for me and there's definitely some cool stuff in there. If you're hype for it stay hype



I agree with all of this but I probably wouldn't be as generous as you.
After The Visit and Split, I thought Shyamalan was back and I was pretty excited for this film but I found it a failure made more dismal by how it's failings and failure kinda ruin the "franchise".
Honestly, I think that I will just choose to pretend that nothing that happened in this film was cannon.



I'm a big fan of both of these films, Ms. .45 going back to when I was way, WAY too young to be seeing anything like that and Tourist Trap a movie I always wanted to see (but really knew nothing about) until I finally pulled the trigger just like 3-4 years ago.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Darkness in Tenement 45 (Nicole Groton, 2020)
5/10
Long Farewells (Kira Muratova, 1971)
6/10
Haven's End (Chris Ethridge, 2019)
+ 4.5/10
The Legend of Tomiris (Akan Satayev, 2019)
6/10

Tomiris grows into a warrior queen to the Massagetae.
Nappily Ever After (Haifaa Al-Mansour, 2018)
5.5/10
Narco Soldiers (Felix Limardo, 2019)
5/10
Operation Christmas Drop (Martin Wood, 2020)
+ 6/10
Born to Boogie (Ringo Starr, 1972)
6.5/10

In between some awesome T. Rex concert scenes, Ringo and Marc Bolan cut up in some skits.
The Assault (Jacob Cooney, 2017)
5/10
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (Alex Gibney., 2019)
6.5/10
The Night Watchmen (Mitchell Altieri, 2017)
+ 5/10
The Dark and the Wicked (Bryan Bertino, 2020)
6/10

Sister Marin Ireland and brother Michael Abbott Jr. return to their parents' farm for their dad's imminent death, and things get really weird.
Major Arcana (Josh Melrod, 2018)
6/10
My Uncle John Is a Zombie! (Robert Lucas & John A. Russo, 2016)
5.5/10
Mortal (André Øvredal, 2020)
6/10
Proxima (Alice Winocour, 2019)
6/10

While worrying about leaving her young daughter behind, Eva Green trains for her year on the international Space Station.
Citation (Kunle Afolayan, 2020)
5.5/10
Triggered (Alastair Orr, 2020)
5/10
Queen of Hearts (May el-Toukhy, 2019)
6/10
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Tim Hill, 2020)
6.5/10

Patrick and SpongeBob lose focus of why they've come to the Lost City of Atlantic City.
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My IMDb page



Ride the High Country - Another classic that I had never gotten around to watching. This one is a western and stars veteran actors Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott as two ex-lawmen who have fallen on hard times. They agree to transport gold from a mining camp to a nearby bank. I went into this thinking that it had a completely different plot and that they would face down outlaws intent on robbing them. There is confrontation but it comes from unexpected circumstances. McCrea and Scott turn in understated and masterful performances. Director Sam Peckinpah, in only his second movie, hadn't yet developed the violent, hard bitten style he became famous for so the focus is more on the contemplative than on mayhem. Scott gets the best lines and the third act Peckinpah orchestrates ends things on a thoughtful and righteous note. 90/100
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By no means great, but decent. A bit like Sea Fever and Spring with their marine biology subplot. A little lacking in action, a lot of crawling around and heavy breathing dialogue with little plot development.




Nothing But the Night - Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing co-starring again as a police inspector and a pathologist investigating the mysterious deaths of three trustees of a philanthropic fund. An additional accident involving other trustees and a busload of orphans get Lee and Cushing involved. You're never quite sure if this is supposed to be horror or a mystery of a combination of both. That's the end result of a confusing plot in that there's little to no clues provided for the viewer. There are red herrings but the fact they're recognizable as such is due more to the poorly written script. It's all wrapped up adequately enough I suppose but it's not very engaging. 65/100



Daniel -


The technique of switching between time periods does not have the best track record. For every attempt that knocks it out of the park like The Godfather Part II, there are a dozen that do not leave the infield like this movie. To the movie's credit, the story, which is inspired by the Rosenbergs' execution, provides a valuable history lesson and shows how the activism life burdens the children whose parents espoused it. Also, from Timothy Hutton's convincing portrayal of the adult Daniel's shift from cynical to desperate for truth to Mandy Patinkin's as his dangerously confident and passionate father, Lumet continues his reputation as one of the great actor’s directors. I also really liked the appropriateness and placement of Paul Robeson's songs in the soundtrack. Unfortunately, the movie's not so good execution of the aforementioned technique dulls its impact. For one, it never spends enough time in either period to let us truly get to know anyone, so I always felt like I was being kept at arm's length. What's more, the elder Isaacsons' criminal activity the movie shows us is mostly liminal and neither implicates nor exonerates them. While Daniel's quest is to discover what really happened, his evidence and the payoff to his efforts are equally uninvolving and only extend the arm even further. The Rosenbergs' execution is one of the 20th century's most controversial scandals and thus has the potential for a deeply affecting movie adaptation. Unfortunately, with its flaws and emotional detachment, Daniel is a merely decent one. Thankfully, Lumet gave us a much better and more emotionally affecting movie about the activism life a few years later with Running on Empty.



I had overlooked this thread previously, but I'm just going to post all my reviews in here from now on, starting with this one, which, instead of being another repost of an older writing, is my very first Movie Forums exclusive!:

Face/Off (Woo, '97):




To catch him, he must become him.


WARNING: spoilers below
It's a sad, old, familiar tale; a foreign director starts their career off strong by taking advantage of the creative freedom afforded to them in their home country, but, whether it's a combination of a language barrier, culture clash over artistic sensibilities, or (most often) the interference of a meddling, overbearing studio system, when they come "across the pond" to try hacking it in Hollywood, the cinematic magic that they used to wield at will just seems like it's been denied entry at the border. And, even though he was already one of the most influential Action directors of all time based solely on the strength of his work in Hong Kong, John Woo ultimately proved to be no exception to that rule, as his immense talent was mostly wasted on forgettable Hollywood dreck in the 90's & 2000's, resulting in a string of Action-ers that were either so bland that it's almost impossible to believe that Woo had anything to do with them (Broken Arrow, anyone?), or resorted to self-plagiarization so blatant that they devolved into unintentional self-parody (doves AGAIN, Mission: Impossible II?). However, there was at least one worthwhile film produced by the director's Hollywood era, one that served as the world's biggest exposure to the blood-soaked glory that is "the full Woo", and proved that the director could've done so much better in the States if Hollywood had just let him be himself. That film in question? 1997's Face/Off, baby!

It tells the story of Sean Archer (John Travolta), an FBI Agent whose obsessive, years-long manhunt for "freelance" terrorist Castor Troy (Nicholas Cage) isn't merely born out of a sense of occupational duty, but out of an incredibly personal reason, due to Troy's murder of Archer's son in a botched assassination attempt six years ago. And, after an insane airport shootout, Archer seemingly manages to kill Troy (in the most over-the-top fashion as possible, of course), finally obtaining his long awaited vengeance. However, what little relief Archer might have felt is immediately dashed upon learning that Troy is not only still alive (albeit in a coma), but has also left behind a time bomb ticking away somewhere in Los Angeles, one big enough to wipe out the city of angels completely off the map. And so, with a tight time table and no other reasonable options, Archer must resort to an unreasonable one, by undergoing a state-of-the-art medical procedure that takes his face… off, and replaces it with Troy's, so he can go the deepest of undercover with his former "coworkers" to get the intel he needs, a development that gives the film's title an unexpectedly literal turn.

Of course, this fails to go to plan when Troy wakes up and engages in a bit of turnabout-is-fair-play-ism, escaping with Archer's face upon his own, resulting in the film's central premise/gimmick; John Travolta acting like Nicholas Cage, and vice versa, as the two leading men face off with their faces off, in a series of wild, escalating shootouts, chewing just as much scenery as the bullets destroy in the process. All of that being said, though, it is a gimmick that adds a lot to Face/Off, as the actors go all-out in getting into each other's characters (so to speak), with Travolta throwing out the relatively sleepy, subdued acting style that's often characterized his later career in favor of the kind of manic, coked-up energy of, well, Nicholas Cage, while Cage himself goes back and forth between letting the glum, straight-arrow Archer underneath shine through, while also indulging in the occasional freak-out that the actor's patented so well over the years, with the identity crisis he suffers through being caught between the two different personas rendering his arc surprisingly compelling, despite the ridiculous premise, with a lot of the acting riding that thin line between intentional and unintentional comedy so finely that it's often impossible to tell which it is, but it's so damn entertaining nonetheless, you end up not caring either way.

And as far as the film's style goes, Woo finds a balance between referencing his Hong Kong works with certain nods (did anyone say, "church shootout"?), while still finding ways to refresh it by retaining the (extremely) soft Sci-Fi elements of Mike Werb & Colleary's original script, evening out his own sensibilities with those of his collaborators in the process. However, with the additional creative freedom that Paramount afforded Woo on this project, the kind that he had never been blessed with in Hollywood before this point (or after), there's no denying that Face/Off is ultimately his baby, with the kind of gratuitous, beautifully violent slow-mo, gracefully acrobatic, dual-wielding gunplay he specialized back in HK, although pumped up with a Hollywood budget (hello, crashing jets!), along with the relationship-driven drama he specialized in, through the various character dynamics such as Archer's domestic troubles with his neglected wife and moody daughter, and even Castor gets a nice, personal moment here when he mourns the death of his on-the-spectrum brother by tying his shoelaces together for him, just like always (just after shooting a guy in the head for unintentionally downplaying the tragedy of it, that is). All in all, Face/Off ia a wonderfully entertaining, glouriously unhinged Sci-Fi/Action hybrid that fully submerges us into its particular (un)reality, and packs the craziest thrills and biggest emotional punches of any of Woo's American films, and so, keeping all of that in mind, are you ready? For the big ride this film offers, baby? Because I know I am.


Final Score: 8, or



Just sat through Guardians Of The Galaxy again.
It's weird, I am a big Marvel fan, the movies for sure but also the comics since I was old enough to look at "picture books", and I know this was a big, big hit for them and lots of people love it, but I was terribly disappointed in it in the theater. And I keep giving it another try every once in a while, because it definitely has moments and some of the characters are enjoyable or at least work ok. But ultimately, I think the script is pretty weak, the movie rushes from action sequence to actions sequence with mostly expository dialogue in between the quippy bits, and it also ruins a lot of the comic-book lore for me.
I am aware that that last one is probably the biggest factor and that may not be fair considering that I have been completely fine with how the MCU has retconned SO many characters and stories, but this group really bothered me. Gamora is probably the biggest failure and that's a shame because she fascinated me in the comics and I think Zoe Soldano is well-cast for it, but her character... well, barely even has a character in this movie. The changes to Drax were really bothersome to me and while I have come to accept him and even enjoy him in the other films, it still bothers me in this first one. Nebula barely makes any sense at all as they try to shoe-horn her into this one, the Nova Corps is completely ruined, just a joke, and Ronan was a ****ing tragedy, arguably the most one-dimensional, mustache-twirling, throwaway villain in the MCU.
So yeah, it's just really hard for me to have much fun with this movie, outside of appreciating that they brought both Rocket and Groot successfully to the screen, they brought Marvel to Space (where I like it), and it has a good soundtrack.
I never read any of the Guardians comics, so I can't comment on any of the changes they might have made to Ronan in the translation from page to screen, but to me, his "one-dimensonality" in the film felt not just intentional, but also necessary, in order to serve as a starker contrast to the heroes. I mean, if he was being used in a more run-of-the-mill Marvel effort (like Captain Marvel), he'd be dull, but in Guardians, he serves as a sort of straight man to the motley crew of the Guardians, so I think he works out perfectly in that context (I mean, his dumbfounded reactions to Starlord's "dance-off" challenge could not have been any more perfect, if you ask me). And of course, besides him, I just feel it's a really fun breath of fresh air in the MCU as a whole: https://letterboxd.com/stusmallz/fil...of-the-galaxy/



❤️Dominic Sherwood+Katherine McNamara❤️
I had overlooked this thread previously, but I'm just going to post all my reviews in here from now on, starting with this one, which, instead of being another repost of an older writing, is my very first Movie Forums exclusive!:

Face/Off (Woo, '97):




To catch him, he must become him.


WARNING: spoilers below
It's a sad, old, familiar tale; a foreign director starts their career off strong by taking advantage of the creative freedom afforded to them in their home country, but, whether it's a combination of a language barrier, culture clash over artistic sensibilities, or (most often) the interference of a meddling, overbearing studio system, when they come "across the pond" to try hacking it in Hollywood, the cinematic magic that they used to wield at will just seems like it's been denied entry at the border. And, even though he was already one of the most influential Action directors of all time based solely on the strength of his work in Hong Kong, John Woo ultimately proved to be no exception to that rule, as his immense talent was mostly wasted on forgettable Hollywood dreck in the 90's & 2000's, resulting in a string of Action-ers that were either so bland that it's almost impossible to believe that Woo had anything to do with them (Broken Arrow, anyone?), or resorted to self-plagiarization so blatant that they devolved into unintentional self-parody (doves AGAIN, Mission: Impossible II?). However, there was at least one worthwhile film produced by the director's Hollywood era, one that served as the world's biggest exposure to the blood-soaked glory that is "the full Woo", and proved that the director could've done so much better in the States if Hollywood had just let him be himself. That film in question? 1997's Face/Off, baby!

It tells the story of Sean Archer (John Travolta), an FBI Agent whose obsessive, years-long manhunt for "freelance" terrorist Castor Troy (Nicholas Cage) isn't merely born out of a sense of occupational duty, but out of an incredibly personal reason, due to Troy's murder of Archer's son in a botched assassination attempt six years ago. And, after an insane airport shootout, Archer seemingly manages to kill Troy (in the most over-the-top fashion as possible, of course), finally obtaining his long awaited vengeance. However, what little relief Archer might have felt is immediately dashed upon learning that Troy is not only still alive (albeit in a coma), but has also left behind a time bomb ticking away somewhere in Los Angeles, one big enough to wipe out the city of angels completely off the map. And so, with a tight time table and no other reasonable options, Archer must resort to an unreasonable one, by undergoing a state-of-the-art medical procedure that takes his face… off, and replaces it with Troy's, so he can go the deepest of undercover with his former "coworkers" to get the intel he needs, a development that gives the film's title an unexpectedly literal turn.

Of course, this fails to go to plan when Troy wakes up and engages in a bit of turnabout-is-fair-play-ism, escaping with Archer's face upon his own, resulting in the film's central premise/gimmick; John Travolta acting like Nicholas Cage, and vice versa, as the two leading men face off with their faces off, in a series of wild, escalating shootouts, chewing just as much scenery as the bullets destroy in the process. All of that being said, though, it is a gimmick that adds a lot to Face/Off, as the actors go all-out in getting into each other's characters (so to speak), with Travolta throwing out the relatively sleepy, subdued acting style that's often characterized his later career in favor of the kind of manic, coked-up energy of, well, Nicholas Cage, while Cage himself goes back and forth between letting the glum, straight-arrow Archer underneath shine through, while also indulging in the occasional freak-out that the actor's patented so well over the years, with the identity crisis he suffers through being caught between the two different personas rendering his arc surprisingly compelling, despite the ridiculous premise, with a lot of the acting riding that thin line between intentional and unintentional comedy so finely that it's often impossible to tell which it is, but it's so damn entertaining nonetheless, you end up not caring either way.

And as far as the film's style goes, Woo finds a balance between referencing his Hong Kong works with certain nods (did anyone say, "church shootout"?), while still finding ways to refresh it by retaining the (extremely) soft Sci-Fi elements of Mike Werb & Colleary's original script, evening out his own sensibilities with those of his collaborators in the process. However, with the additional creative freedom that Paramount afforded Woo on this project, the kind that he had never been blessed with in Hollywood before this point (or after), there's no denying that Face/Off is ultimately his baby, with the kind of gratuitous, beautifully violent slow-mo, gracefully acrobatic, dual-wielding gunplay he specialized back in HK, although pumped up with a Hollywood budget (hello, crashing jets!), along with the relationship-driven drama he specialized in, through the various character dynamics such as Archer's domestic troubles with his neglected wife and moody daughter, and even Castor gets a nice, personal moment here when he mourns the death of his on-the-spectrum brother by tying his shoelaces together for him, just like always (just after shooting a guy in the head for unintentionally downplaying the tragedy of it, that is). All in all, Face/Off ia a wonderfully entertaining, glouriously unhinged Sci-Fi/Action hybrid that fully submerges us into its particular (un)reality, and packs the craziest thrills and biggest emotional punches of any of Woo's American films, and so, keeping all of that in mind, are you ready? For the big ride this film offers, baby? Because I know I am.


Final Score: 8, or
one of my favorite 90s movies



Missão dada é missão cumprida!


The introduction is more violent than I remembered. Of course, it is not a film that will please everyone, but for me, it is almost perfect for what it proposes! Testosterone 2000!
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Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum



My Octopus Teacher (2020)


I knew going in that I would be hard pressed to not like this, and it is a very pleasant 90 minutes. I've read some books on octopus intelligence and research so I wasn't taken by surprise on most of what was presented, but it was just beautiful to watch and actually see how these animals interact.



I had overlooked this thread previously, but I'm just going to post all my reviews in here from now on, starting with this one, which, instead of being another repost of an older writing, is my very first Movie Forums exclusive!:

Face/Off (Woo, '97):




To catch him, he must become him.


Final Score: 8, or
I think this is an almost perfect balance of great action, cheese, and excesses. IMO, Woo still pushes a bit too hard, particularly in the last act (I would've ended it at the chapel. The whole boat chase feels like a tacked on afterthought), but it's still a whole lot of fun. Travolta's scenery chewing is *chef kiss* I still maintain that the scene where he first visits Sean/Castor in prison is an excellent showcase of his skills.
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2001 Monolith spotted at McDonald's Drive Thru
original jumanji with robin williams always the best , rip robin williams
I did like Robin Williams, though I preferred the Zathura movie to the Jumanji movies, which was also based on Chris Van Allsburg's books. Unfortunately we never got a sequel to Zathura.
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2001 monolith recently seen at McDonald's Drive Thru