EppsNet Archive: Movie Reviews

EppsNet at the Movies: Baby Driver

16 Jul 2017 /

The dialogue is awful and the characters are trite — the criminal mastermind in his secret lair, the beautiful but deadly femme fatale, the trigger-happy psychopath, etc. — but once they stop talking and the action kicks in, it’s terrific!

Also: great soundtrack!

Rating: 4-stars

Baby Driver

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel Elgort Baby
Jon Bernthal Griff
Jon Hamm Buddy
Eiza González Darling

IMDb rating: 8.2 (62,813 votes)


EppsNet at the Movies: The Accountant

17 Oct 2016 /

The Accountant

The Ben Affleck character is at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, which means, among other things, that he has no social skills.

I also have no social skills. It’s exhausting just to be polite to people most of the time, let alone trying to be fun and interesting.

I’d like to be diagnosed with something that gives me a medical excuse for not having to do that.

The Ben Affleck character also has some cool and useful skills that he learned from his dad, whereas my dad never taught me anything except how to hold a grudge (not always useful).

Rating: 4-stars

The Accountant

As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities, and the body count starts to rise.

Director: Gavin O’Connor
Cast: Ben Affleck Christian Wolff
Anna Kendrick Dana Cummings
J.K. Simmons Ray King
Jon Bernthal Brax

IMDb rating: 7.4 (175,460 votes)


EppsNet at the Movies: Treeless Mountain

3 Feb 2015 /

Treeless Mountain

I’m in love with this movie. What is about? Read the IMDB plot summary below. It’s also about hanging on to the past, letting go of the past, and the resilience of the human heart.

You’re not into that kind of thing? Fine, go watch Hot Tub Time Machine. Come on, you’re better than that.

Rating: 5 stars

Treeless MountainIn Seoul, Korea, two sisters must look after each other when their mother leaves them to search for their estranged father.

Director: So Yong Kim (as So-yong Kim)
Cast: Chae Gil Byung Pedestrian in City, Jung Gil Ja Minoo’s Mom, Shin Hyun Je Bus Driver, Kim Mi Jung Hyun’s Mom

IMDb rating: 7.2 (1,486 votes)


EppsNet Movie Reviews: We Are the Best!

8 Jun 2014 /

We Are the Best!

Contrary to the IMDB summary below, only two of the girls, Klara and Bobo, have no instruments (or talent). The third girl, Hedvig, is a painfully shy classical guitar-playing schoolmate recruited to teach them about music.

This movie is a joy! I don’t know what else to say. See it.

Rating: 5 stars

We Are the Best!

Three girls in 1980s Stockholm decide to form a punk band -- despite not having any instruments and being told by everyone that punk is dead.

Director: Lukas Moodysson
Cast: Mira Barkhammar Bobo, Mira Grosin Klara, Liv LeMoyne Hedvig, Johan Liljemark Kenneth

IMDb rating: 7.2 (8,401 votes)


EppsNet at the Movies: A Serious Man

19 Apr 2014 /
A Serious Man

When the truth is found . . . to be lies. And all the hope . . . within you dies. What then?

Life is bleak. If you try to lead a good life, bad things happen. If you yield to temptation, worse things happen. Religion offers no more wisdom, insight or consolation than a Jefferson Airplane song.

P.S. I know the lyric should be “joy” and not “hope” but in the movie the rabbi says “hope.”

Rating: 4 stars

A Serious Man

Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics teacher, watches his life unravel over multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking meaning and answers amidst his turmoils, he seems to keep sinking.

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Michael Stuhlbarg Larry Gopnik, Richard Kind Uncle Arthur, Sari Lennick Judith Gopnik, Fred Melamed Sy Ableman

IMDb rating: 7.0 (109,106 votes)


EppsNet at the Movies: Gravity

7 Apr 2014 /

Gravity

As a kid, one of my hobbies was card tricks. When I started learning card tricks, I had the misconception that the quality of a trick was proportional to how difficult it was to perform. Hard tricks = good, easy tricks = lame.

Today I can perform exactly zero card tricks. I don’t remember even one. What I do remember though is the general principle that the quality of a trick depends on the effect – what the audience sees – and not at all on how the trick is done. An audience doesn’t know or care if you’ve practiced a trick for years or if you just learned it five minutes ago.

The principle applies to things other than card tricks. You can read on IMDb and elsewhere about the technological challenges that had to be overcome in making Gravity. The state-of-the-art cinematography and visual effects would not have been possible even a few short years ago.

Again, I don’t care how the trick is done. I just care about what’s on the screen, not how easy or hard it was to get it there.

Rating: 3 stars

Gravity

Two astronauts work together to survive after an accident which leaves them alone in space.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: Sandra Bullock Ryan Stone, George Clooney Matt Kowalski, Ed Harris Mission Control (voice), Orto Ignatiussen Aningaaq (voice)

IMDb rating: 7.8 (629,194 votes)


EppsNet at the Movies: City Lights

19 Mar 2014 /

City Lights

Could there be a more perfect ending to a film? I’m a sap for a great ending, so I don’t even care that there were maybe a couple of moments where I caught myself thinking “This bit hasn’t really held up well over time.”

Rating: 5 stars

City Lights

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Cast: Charles Chaplin (as Charlie Chaplin) A Tramp, Virginia Cherrill A Blind Girl, Florence Lee Her Grandmother, Florence Lee The Blind Girl’s Grandmother

IMDb rating: 8.6 (120,890 votes)


EppsNet at the Movies: The Monuments Men

20 Feb 2014 /

The Monuments Men

This movie is getting killed on Rotten Tomatoes — 34 percent as I write this. Granted, it’s not in 3-D, doesn’t have robots or aliens or other really fake-looking bullshit, and despite being set during World War II, has only a minimal amount of violent action.

(If you like that kind of thing, fear not! We were shown previews for Pompeii, Spiderman, X-Men, some Tom Cruise sci-fi thing . . . rest assured there’s plenty of crap in the pipeline.)

The Monuments Men tells an interesting story in an entertaining way, with memorable scenes and characters, and the best female role I’ve seen in a movie since Come Back, Little Sheba.

Rating: 4 stars

The Monuments Men

An unlikely World War II platoon is tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners.

Director: George Clooney
Cast: George Clooney Frank Stokes, Matt Damon James Granger, Bill Murray Richard Campbell, Cate Blanchett Claire Simone

IMDb rating: 6.1 (108,927 votes)


EppsNet at the Movies: Singin’ in the Rain

13 Jan 2014 /

Singin' in the Rain

We saw Singin’ in the Rain on Netflix this weekend. Why this film is so beloved is a mystery to me. It feels thrown together, like someone took a bunch of unrelated songs and wrote a plot around them. Which in fact is what they did.

And the songs aren’t that great either. In particular, “Singin’ in the Rain” is not a great song . . . the melody is boring and it’s not a great lyric.

The Cyd Charisse sequence seems to have been dropped in from a different movie.

The Music Man is better. Mary Poppins is better. The King and I is better. My Fair Lady is better. That’s just off the top of my head.

The Wizard of Oz is better, but I’m not sure that counts as a musical.

Great dance numbers though.

Singin’ in the Rain

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Director: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Cast: Gene Kelly Don Lockwood, Donald O’Connor Cosmo Brown, Debbie Reynolds Kathy Selden, Jean Hagen Lina Lamont

IMDb rating: 8.3 (166,962 votes)


EppsNet at the Movies: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

11 Aug 2013 /

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

When you are young, your potential is infinite. You might do anything, really. You might be Einstein. You might be DiMaggio. Then you get to an age where what you might be gives way to what you have been. You weren’t Einstein. You weren’t anything.

That’s a bad moment.

Chuck Barris was way ahead of his time in recognizing how many Americans are willing to make an ass of themselves on television.

The tone of the movie is inconsistent — is it a comedy? a thriller? a tragedy? — but it’s entertaining.

Thus: Recommended!

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

An adaptation of the cult memoir of game show impresario Chuck Barris, in which he purports to have been a CIA hitman.

Director: George Clooney
Cast: Sam Rockwell (Chuck Barris), Drew Barrymore (Penny), George Clooney (Jim Byrd), Julia Roberts (Patricia Watson)

IMDb rating: 7.1 (74,199 votes)


EppsNet at the Movies: Mother

1 Jul 2013 /

Mother

We rented Mother from Netflix. As I explained to my family before screening it, the movie’s about a crazy Asian woman and her devotion to her mentally challenged son.

“You can see why it resonated with me,” I said. “It’s like someone made a movie about our lives!”

“You are not a nice person,” my wife said. “Our boy is not crazy.”

“No, you’re crazy,” the boy corrected her. “I’m mentally challenged.”

That said, I enjoyed the movie, although it contains a lot of profanity, which I don’t like.

Mother (2009)

A mother desperately searches for the killer who framed her son for a girl's horrific murder.

Directed by Joon-ho Bong. With Hye-ja Kim Mother, Bin Won Yoon Do-joon, Ku Jin (as Goo Jin) Jin-tae, Je-mun Yun (as Jae-moon Yoon) Je-moon

IMDb rating: 7.8 (31,055 votes)


HW’s Movie Reviews: 42

12 Apr 2013 /
42

Look at this — before Jackie Robinson, they didn’t let black guys play major league baseball!

Right . . . that was 70 years ago, in the 1940s. Let’s move on already.

You know what else they did in the 1940s? They rounded up Japanese Americans, just took them right out of their homes and their jobs, and stuck them into “relocation camps.”

When’s the last time you heard a Japanese person talk about relocation camps? They don’t talk about relocation camps because they’re too busy being engineers and doctors and businessmen and raising their families and sending their kids to top universities.

You can focus your mind on what other people did a long time ago or you can focus your mind on what you’re doing right now.

Let’s move on already.

Rating: 1 star

Footnote: We’ve come full circle on blacks in baseball. The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants don’t have a single black player on their current roster (although some of the Latin players are pretty dark). Black men can play baseball if they want to but they don’t want to.


EppsNet at the Movies: Babette’s Feast

3 Dec 2011 /
Babette’s Feast (1987)

Directed by Gabriel Axel. With Stéphane Audran, Bodil Kjer, Birgitte Federspiel, Jarl Kulle.

There comes a time when our eyes are opened and we come to realize that mercy is infinite. We need only await it with confidence and receive it with gratitude. Mercy imposes no conditions. And lo! Everything we have chosen has been granted to us. And everything we rejected has also been granted.

This movie brought a lot of joy to my weekend.

Highly recommended!


EppsNet at the Movies: Arthur Christmas

25 Nov 2011 /
Arthur Christmas

Now I know how Santa delivers all the presents in one night!

By the way, if you like to avoid the crowds, Thanksgiving night is a great time to go to the movies! Everyone’s either in a food coma or resting up for Black Friday shopping.

We went to the 9:30 show at the Irvine Marketplace. There was no ticket line, no one in the lobby, one girl working the box office and one at the snack bar.

The box office girl had to work double because there was no ticket taker on duty. Instead of just selling the tickets and handing them to us, she also tore them in half and said, “You’re in Theater 2.”

“We’re in Theater 2,” I repeated for the boy’s benefit.

“Are you sure she didn’t say we’re the only two people in the theater?” he asked.

Recommended!


EppsNet at the Movies: Day for Night

10 Sep 2011 /
Day for Night (1973)

Directed by François Truffaut. With Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Léaud, François Truffaut, Valentina Cortese..

A movie about making a movie . . .

The director says, “Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. By the halfway point, you just hope to survive.”

Highly recommended!


EppsNet at the Movies: Out of the Past

14 Mar 2011 /
Out Of The Past

Kathie Moffat: Oh, Jeff, I don’t want to die!
Jeff Bailey: Neither do I, baby, but if I have to, I’m gonna die last.

The absence of sentimentality is essential to the film noir.

Everyone was so young in this one: Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas. Great black-and-white cinematography and a classic final scene with the girl and the kid at the gas station.

Rating: Five stars (out of five)


HW at the Movies: Hall Pass

17 Feb 2011 /

Are you kidding?! I’d rather take a shower with my mom than watch this crap.

Only an idiot who knows nothing about life thinks that being married or unmarried has anything to do with happiness.

You’ll be just as miserable either way, albeit for different reasons.


EppsNet at the Movies

5 Sep 2010 /
Cover of
Cover of
Cover of

Thanks to Netflix, I’m catching up on movies that I never got around to seeing. It’s a long list because I don’t see a lot of movies.

Almost Famous

With the exception of the boy’s mom, there aren’t any interesting characters in this movie. It’s like spending two hours with uninteresting people.

The Lester Bangs character doesn’t count because Lester Bangs was an actual person who was interesting in real life. You don’t get credit as a writer/filmmaker for creating an interesting Lester Bangs character.

Cameron Crowe seems to have learned his directorial style from an Olive Garden commercial.

Great soundtrack.

Rating: Blah.

The Big Lebowski

Look at the scene and ask yourself “Is it dramatic? Is it essential? Does it advance the plot?

Answer truthfully.

If the answer is “No” write it again or throw it out.

This movie has interesting characters and snappy dialogue. I laughed a couple of times. But most of the scenes are just dropped in randomly out of nowhere.

My wife fell asleep early on as we were watching this. When she woke up she asked me what happened.

I said, “The girl wasn’t really kidnapped.” What else is there to say?

If you removed all the scenes (and characters) that aren’t essential and don’t advance the plot, there might be a good movie left, but it would be a very short movie.

The soundtrack includes a couple of songs I really like but rarely hear — “The Man in Me” by Bob Dylan, and (a cover of) “Dead Flowers,” originally by The Rolling Stones.

Rating: Crock of shit

Rushmore

Now this is a great movie.

Rating: Highly recommended!


EppsNet Movie Reviews: Slumdog Millionaire

11 Jan 2009 /
Slumdog Millionaire ticket stub

Good story, good music, brilliant editing and cinematography.

One of the things I don’t like about movies is that conflict, even in feel-good movies about love and destiny, is too often resolved with violence, whereas much of the dramatic tension in real life stems from the number of people you’d like to physically assault but can’t.

Rating: Four stars (out of five).


EppsNet Movie Reviews: Gran Torino

27 Dec 2008 /

It’s sad to see Clint Eastwood get old but somebody’s got to do it.

It seemed to me as far back as Unforgiven and In the Line of Fire that while other actors were trying to stay artificially young forever, no one else was putting on screen an honest portrayal of what it’s like to be an old man, what it’s like to feel yourself diminished.

Gran Torino ticket stub

And that was 15 years ago, when Eastwood was in his early 60s. He’s now 78 and looks it.

I was trying to think of another leading actor who’s doing roles where the central fact about the character is that he’s gotten old and tired and scared . . .

Robert De Niro? No, he’s still doing the same cops and mobsters roles he’s been doing for decades.

Al Pacino? Dustin Hoffman? No. Same roles, plus they’re both around 70 years old with absurd fake pompadours piled on top of their heads. In order to do these roles, you can’t be someone with cosmetic surgery and fake hair who has to use makeup effects to look his own age.

I once read where Michael Douglas is proud of the fact that he has taken on “challenging” roles. You want a challenge? Knock it off with the facelifts and the young wife and show people what it’s really like to get old.

They can’t even admit it to themselves, these guys.

Jack Nicholson? He looks his age, but he’s doing wacky old guy roles in Rob Reiner and Adam Sandler movies. Eccentrics. Not the same thing.

Sylvester Stallone? He’s only 60 but you can tell already that he’s not going to do it. He’s still making Rocky and Rambo movies, for god’s sake.

Rating: Four stars (out of five). I added one star for Clint Eastwood being the only man brave enough to get old in front of a camera.


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