Trumbo (2015)

No this isn’t about an elephant that can fly… it’s about a blacklisted Hollywood writer in the 40’s. This is an interesting movie to watch today, considering Hollywood is conjuring up their own red scare. I wonder when they made this movie, if they knew they would look foolish just a year later shouting that Russian’s were around every corner? Still, if Communism is your thing, go for it… it’s a free country. I’ll feel free to ignore you as it is your right to ignore me. I thought Trumbo was an interesting character and I loved hearing about the different movies he was involved in. He was both very likable and unlikable at the same time. Bryan Cranston did a great justice for this character with some excellent acting. I was also happy to see a well rounded cast. The movie is pretty long, and sometimes felt that way, but for the most part I found it to be quite enjoyable. I didn’t like the witch hunt that was happening to those writers then and I don’t like them today either. I probably won’t watch this again, but I do have a hankering to watch Sparticus and Roman Holiday.

83/100

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Trumbo (2015)

American Ultra (2015)

American Ultra violence, just the way an action movie should be. I love movies like this and the Kingsman and Kick-Ass. They don’t require a lot of thinking and you get to see some pretty bloody attacks in neat battle scenes. Sure, I wouldn’t pick Jesse Eisenberg to be a CIA badass, but maybe that’s the point of the film. Kristen Stewart was mostly petty likable and I love Bill Pullman. I wish Bill would have had a bigger part, but it’s good to know he’s still alive and kickin’. I could have done without John Leguizamo. His character was pretty stupid and then finally there’s Topher Grace, wow, what a choice the the film’s villain. I must say I kind of loved how bold that choice was. I had a ton of fun in this movie, is it sort of a brain-dead stoner kicks the rogue agency’s butt movie? Yes, but that is what made it a blast.

88/100

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American Ultra (2015)

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)

This was quite an interesting documentary. There are for sure many problems with many religions… none are perfect and sinless in their histories, but Scientology goes to a whole new level. I thought they were exaggerating in South Park when they talked about aliens and dropping atomic bombs into volcanoes but wow… Really though, the things that upset me the most were the cult-like behaviors going on. The constant needling for more money from people who probably couldn’t afford it, the abuse (Physically, they never mention any sexual allegations) and the shunning that they do when they “disconnect” from members who leave. I’m a little embarrassed that  L. Ron was born in my state, not too far from where I live. I’ve never read his books, but I’ve heard Battlefield Earth may be one of the worlds worst movies. I also think that Tom Cruise and John Travolta are pretty insane. This is a pretty in-depth look into a dwindling religion that seems to possess great amounts of wealth and power. This documentary was my cup of tea, but the organization of Scientology is closer to toilet water.

88/100

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Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)

Youth (2015)

I feel young again after watching this film. I thought that Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel did a great job playing two friends who are both creative-types staying at a Swiss health resort. There are many other crazy characters including Caine’s daughter, played by Rachel Weisz, and Paul Dano as an actor staying at the resort. The biggest surprise was seeing Jane Fonda in this film. I wasn’t expecting to see her. I can’t describe to you why this movie is really good… I’m leaning toward good chemistry with the actors and nice writing, though. This isn’t normally a film I would like, since not much actually happens in it. It’s one of those “day in the life” films and I usually hate those. This movie is quite charming, and after seeing the codgers Caine and Keitel… it makes you feel good to be young. (or I guess if you are older reading this, you’ll sympathize with them). Check this out for an interesting experience.

80/100

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Youth (2015)

The French Connection (1971)

Pardon my French, but this film was pretty bien. Gene Hackman was brilliant as always. I loved the characters (plus their nicknames) of Popeye and Cloudy. One funny thing I picked up on in this movie is this: have you noticed that the French aren’t normally the villains in films? I’m sure there are examples, but I sure can’t think of any. There are some good, bloody action sequences and some good car chase scenes, although I could have cut a few of those just to make the movie a little shorter. All in all I made this connection, gritty 70’s cop films are pretty good. This one is worth watching.

83/100

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The French Connection (1971)

Mr. Holmes (2015)

It’s retirement, dear Watson. This film was a really fun one to watch. Have you ever wondered what the heroes from our favorite books or movies do in their old age? Well wonder no more with this movie! Ian McKellen does a great job as Sherlock Holmes. He’s 93 in this movie and trying to work out the details of an old case. He has a lot of scenes with this young boy named Roger and they have excellent chemistry together. Laura Linney also plays a good part of Roger’s mother. There are a lot of flashbacks and memories to sift through, but it is a good experience overall. It still feels like the kind of Sherlock Holmes movie you would come to expect. Really interesting mysteries and good clues to follow. Some things get better with age.

81/100

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Mr. Holmes (2015)

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

Normally Michael Bay movies feel like they last 13 hours, because they are so boring. This movie was a lot better than that. This lengthy movie flies by like a rocket propelled grenade because it is really entertaining and informs you a little bit about an American tragedy. Now matter where your political views are, you have to give the heroes of this crazy situation credit. At the same time, you may ask yourself why the heck didn’t they get any help? It is frustrating when you think of it that way, but you do get to see a lot of spontaneous terrorists get sniped and blown away, which makes an evening of movie watching fly by. I thought that John Krasinski finally stood out as a movie star and not just someone from TV. If Michael Bay makes more movies like this, then I may just have to be a fan of his.

80/100

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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)