A Most Wanted Man — Review

4 of 5 stars
A Most Wanted Man

If you were looking for a modern spy thriller with lots of bangs and explosions, a lot of high paced action scenes and over the top explosions and bombs going off in all directions, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this film is not the right one for you. There is only one scene in this film which might fall under the heading of action chase scene — and the chase part lasted exactly 5 seconds.

The thing is, this film is almost too slowly paced. Almost. Perhaps this is what actually elevates the film that much higher. There was a knife edge to ride, and this film rides it brilliantly…

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — Review

3.5 of 5 stars
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the latest in the reboot of the Apes franchise. I really love it for a few reasons.

But first, newsflash: I’m new to the franchise. I know, I know. This series of films is a cult classic, and you have to be a pitiable noob if you haven’t at least seen the original.

I’ve actually watched documentaries that addressed Apes at length. I have seen interviews with the cast and directors. I’ve watched a really decent review of the first film in this reboot. Friends have told me I have to watch at least the good ones.

So my excuse is that I simply don’t find apes…

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Gone Baby Gone — Review

5 of 5 stars
Gone Baby Gone

“This city can be hard. When I was young, I asked my priest how you could get to heaven and still protect yourself from all the evil in the world. He told me what God said to His children. ‘You are sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves.’”

In a world of page-to-screen adaptions gone oh so wrong, Gone Baby Gone is proof of the good that can come from sticking close to the source material. With little deviation beyond the dictates of its own two hour running time, the film brings Dennis Lehane’s powerhouse novel to life with intelligence and grit to spare.

The story…

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Earth to Echo — Review

2 of 5 stars
Earth to Echo

I may not actually be the best person to write this review. I have known for a long time that I liked films and wanted to watch all of them and evaluate them. But before I was running MovieByte, it was more difficult to justify the expense. As a consequence, I have seen only one of the previous films that treads the ground that this film waltzes across a little haphazardly. That one film is E.T., which I remember hating from my childhood. Yes, yes, I know, you may all gasp in shock and horror at the atrocity I have just committed. And to be fair, I haven’t actually seen E.T. since well before…

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Transformers: Age of Extinction — Review

1.5 of 5 stars
Transformers: Age of Extinction

This movie exists for one reason: you people keep seeing these awful things. And I think I know why too. Though no one will admit to liking Michael Bay or the Transformers films, people turn up in droves. To a very small extent, it’s difficult form me to completely fault the young teenage guys from seeing these films. It is the ultimate major “make stuff go boom” franchise. Guys love that stuff. Ooo, that stuff is exploding all over, look at that helicopter crash INTO THAT GIANT ALIEN SPACESHIP!

There’s also the other obvious angle for the teen guys: hot girls in cutoff shorts and midriff…

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 — Review

3 of 5 stars
How to Train Your Dragon 2

You know those films that all your friends love, so you feel a little emotional pressure to like them too? How to Train Your Dragon and its sequel are those films for me.

It’s not that I don’t like them, because I do. I just don’t like them as well as anyone else I know. Dreamworks has impressed the masses with these dragon flicks all too easily, in my humble opinion. Critics gave the first film 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. The sequel has 92%. For comparison, Ratatouille has a 96% and Frozen has 89%. It seems to me that people just like dragons—not that Dreamwork’s film was actually as good if…

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Edge of Tomorrow — Review

4 of 5 stars
Edge of Tomorrow

It sounds a little dull — Tom Cruise repeating the same day over and over and over and over and over… and over again. But you must trust me, this film is anything but dull.

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a good Doug Liman film. He is, of course, best known for The Bourne Identity which is indeed quite excellent. His next installment is a film many loved but which I did not love all that much: Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It was okay as far as it goes — a little crass and gruesome, but decent enough for what it was. And a lot of people like Jumper which I have not seen. Bourne was in 2002,…

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Maleficent — Review

3.5 of 5 stars

Once upon a dream, Disney brought us the tale of Sleeping Beauty, but according to their latest film, they may not have been entirely truthful in that story they told us, and now they’re here to set the record straight.

To be sure, the film has its detractors. Maleficent‘s box office success is only eclipsed by the exceedingly harsh reviews — though not nearly as harsh as Angelina Jolie’s cheek bones as the titular character.

The film proposes to us that things in the once upon a time may not be all that we have been led to believe. And so we are taken on a journey through the childhood of…

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X-Men: Days of Future Past — Review

4 of 5 stars
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Mutation. It is the key to this franchise’s evolution. Normally this process is slow, taking dozens of films, but every once in a while, a franchise’s mutation takes a giant leap forward.

Yeah yeah, so I couldn’t resist putting my own spin on the Xavier monologue, but really, the franchise had to mutate after the third film. Where do you go when the franchise has been so utterly driven into the ground?

A History Lesson

Bryan Singer made two fantastic X-Men films, but then was not available on the timetable the studio wanted for the third so they brought in Brett Ratner.

His film, X-Men:…

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Godzilla (2014) — Review

3 of 5 stars
Godzilla (2014)

Since the human race seems to have a fascination with monsters, monsters in art, and monster movies, it is no surprise that a new Godzilla film has made its way from the cameras and computers of a studio near you, to your local theater.

I confess to having never seen a Godzilla film before, but even I know who and what Godzilla is. He’s the “King of the Monsters!”

In the past, Godzilla has sometimes taken on the role of antagonist, sometimes protagonist in that he’s the lesser of two or more threats and can help with those threats. Minor spoier alert, he takes on that second role here in…

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