Interstellar — Review

3 of 5 stars

I have a confession to make. I think Christopher Nolan is one of the more highly overrated directors of our time. I know you all probably stopped reading this already, but I have to tell you the truth, I cannot lie to you. Nolan is one of the more celebrated filmmakers of our day, and he does indeed know how to craft a pretty good epic. I’ll also say that his treatment of Batman Begins was nothing short of amazing. It was a breath of fresh air to the franchise, and to the super-hero landscape in general. The Dark Knight was, if anything, better. It’s not the sort of film I can watch quite as…

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The Judge — Review

4.5 of 5 stars
The Judge

The death of your mother changes you in ways you don’t understand. Those who have not been through it have no way of fathoming the affect it has on your life. I freely admit that, though I had seen and spoken to my mother just hours before she passed, while Hank Palmer in The Judge had not seen her in years, this aspect of the story may have some amount of resonance with me that it did not with you. I don’t know.

Hot Shot

Robert Downey Jr. plays hot shot lawyer Hank Palmer who has (seemingly?) never defended an innocent man. And he knows it. He even tells people he’s fine with it. When the…

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The Equalizer — Review

3.5 of 5 stars
The Equalizer

Denzel Washington is an interesting actor. He is the son of a Pentecostal minister, but describes himself as a bit rebellious in his teenage years. Then he had a religious experience which he describes as being filled with the Holy Spirit 1, after which time he has been a devout Christian.

Growing up — and even now — I sort of got the impression that his Christianity is often called into question by the more conservative element of the Christian community simply because of the sheer number of R rated films he has been in. From my perspective now, this is silly. In fact, many good and highly…

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The Maze Runner — Review

3 of 5 stars
The Maze Runner

I went to see The Maze Runner with no expectations. I saw a trailer two or three times in the last season that promoted this young adult (YA) dystopian sci-fi, but other than the trailers, I didn’t have prior knowledge of the film.

Dystopian flicks and novels work better this way. I like a movie I know little about.1 And if it’s in the YA category, it helps to keep an open mind and let the movie speak for itself. I’m not a young adult anymore, and sadly I’m finding it harder to relate to the fears and angst teenagers experience. However, a well-made movie can suck me into a story so that I…

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The Act of Killing — Review

5 of 5 stars
The Act of Killing

“It is forbidden to murder. Therefore all murderers are punished, unless they kill in large numbers, and to the sound of trumpets.” — Voltaire

Few people are aware that Indonesia saw one of the greatest genocides of the 1960s, in which between 500,000 and 1,000,000 (an Indonesian official has pegged the number at 2.5 million) supposed communists were slaughtered by a right wing military dictatorship. Here are a few facts I found out about it: When reports of the genocide arrived in the US in the sixties, it was seen as triumph for democracy, a proof that the so called domino effect — the…

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The Giver — Review

4 of 5 stars
The Giver

Books have a lot going for them when they become so successful that public schools make them required reads. The Giver is the first in four novels by Lois Lowry that have earned a place on such a list in America, Australia, and Canada. And only now, after 21 years of popular bookshelf demand, The Giver makes an appearance in cinemas.

Without a doubt, this social science fiction novel has its detractors. Some critics take it to lack “originality” and “literary merit.” Such concerns matter to the critics, as you well know. For what it’s worth, children and young adults usually enjoy the story,…

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) — Review

3 of 5 stars
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

I expected to hate this film. And to be fair, I had every reason to believe I would — not at all the least of which is Michael Bay’s involvement as producer. Then there’s the fact that this is a movie reboot of a franchise that has never been successful in live-action film format and has pretty much been run into the ground. It’s seen several incarnations as a cartoon and is currently being run on Nickelodeon as a terrible 3D hack job.

Now for the weird part: I did not hate this film. I actually thought this film was “just fine”. I looked for reasons to hate it, but there just aren’t any.…

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Galaxy Quest — Review

4 of 5 stars
Galaxy Quest

We’ve decided to take a break from new films on this week’s episode of The MovieByte Podcast because JOE AND CHAD HAVE NEVER SEEN GALAXY QUEST! In what universe am I the one who has seen more films than someone else? It’s been long established that I have a lot of catching up to do.

This gave me the chance to watch the film again, and it still manages to surprise me for how good it is. Sure it’s not serious at all, but it is an almost perfect parody. From the moment the film begins with the cheesy scenes from an old TV show, you’re promised a lot of “not taking ourselves too seriously,” and…

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Lucy — Review

1.5 of 5 stars

Scarlett Johansson is arguably the most popular woman alive. Morgan Freeman is one of the most popular men, thanks to his mature masculine voice. These two performers gave Lucy the promise of offering a compelling sci-fi action flick that had nothing to do with super-heroes, a reboot, or a franchise continuation. That’s why TJ and I at MovieByte wanted to see Lucy: a movie that dreams big but crashes even bigger.

The woman in over her head

Lucy (played by Scarlett Johansson) is your average American living and studying in downtown Taipei, Taiwan. One not-so average day, she’s tricked into…

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Guardians of the Galaxy — Review

4 of 5 stars
Guardians of the Galaxy

That awkward moment when a character who said only three (well okay, five, technically) words throughout the entirety of the film had way more character development than any character in Man of Steel. This is the power of the Marvel creative team at this particular juncture in history.

Guardians of the Galaxy is ostentatious, outrageous, silly, irreverent, and altogether self aware. Where the previous Marvel film this year was a very serious affair with a few funny moments, this film is the polar opposite — a very funny affair with a few serious moments.

The Galaxy?

I’m not sure this film…

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