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)

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)

Bridge of Spies (2015)

You don’t have to be a spy to know that a movie directed by Steven Spielberg and written by the Coen brothers could be a decent movie. I remember watching the trailer of this film and shrugging. For some reason I just didn’t feel like watching this… but of course I ended up watching it anyway and I was pretty glad. This movie does have a lot going for it. It’s filmed very well, has some great acting from Hanks of course but I loved the guy who played the Russian spy. I loved the whole “everyday guy doing something important”. I do think that Hanks’ character was a little preachy at times but otherwise was pretty likable. I loved the scenes in Berlin and the palpable tension that the area during the time of the Cold War brought to it. I’m glad I saw this movie. I probably won’t see it again, but just like a good spy, it’s good to see the pertinent information and then burn it in an ashtray afterwards.

85/100

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Bridge of Spies (2015)

Spotlight (2015)

I have doubts! Oh wait, this isn’t Doubt… but it’s has that same kind of feeling. Spotlight is about a team of investigative reporters (called Spotlight of course!) that spend months working on just one story. The story this time is about molestation in the Catholic Church. You follow all the clues and half-truths and the movie actually is pretty engrossing. I always get nervous watching a Best Picture movie, because my taste in movies doesn’t really line up with the academy. The acting is pretty great, I love Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci. Ruffalo is pretty funny and charming in this as the go-getter reporter. Liev Schreiber is always awesome in my book. Rachel McAdams didn’t really impress me in this though. Even though some parts of this were hard to hear or watch, the movie really does flow to make it very fun to watch. Check this out if you are a research nerd like me!

81/100

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Spotlight (2015)

Platoon (1986)

Cartoons have more dimension than this film. Sorry Oliver Stone, this isn’t a war epic that deserves much praise. Please see Full Metal Jacket to see a better war movie. There really aren’t any likable characters to root for in this film. Willem Dafoe is probably the best character and he normally plays the villain in movies. The film’s true purpose is to set an agenda and show that soldiers are more evil than the people they are fighting in these dense jungles. The soldiers are lazy, drug-addicts, rapists and murderers. Even the final monologue by Sheen talks about not fighting an enemy but fighting themselves. I don’t approve of this message, I know the Vietnam War was not a popular one and it was before my time, but when you dedicate a movie to the Veterans of Vietnam at least try to make some of them look heroic instead of monsters. Some ugly scenes in this movie, and I know war is hell, but this film left me with no good feelings at all. I’d call this a political piece instead of entertainment, and I watch movies because they entertain me. In this aspect, the movie fails.

50/100

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Platoon (1986)

Pompeii (2014)

I wouldn’t say it was exactly explosive, but a few sparks flew throughout the film. I honestly liked the characters… although I find Emily Browning quite mesmerizing. I thought Kiefer Sutherland was an interesting bad guy, and I liked his strange accent. Kit Harington was a decent action star and it’s good to see him move away from television for a bit. A lot of the best scenes in this are stolen from Gladiator and 300. I was extremely happy to see a disaster movie where it wasn’t just about the volcano or whatever weather phenomenon is going on. So I have to give some props for that. The love between the characters isn’t hotter than lava, but they are kind of sweet.

69/100

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Pompeii (2014)

300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

You don’t get a rise really from the movie until the final scene but it is quite good. I don’t know if Sullivan Stapleton will be remembered for his role as Themistocles like Gerard Butler will be for his role of the Spartan King, but he did the role justice. Eva Green will be remembered though as her fierce Naval mastermind/warrior woman. She was amazing and I can’t wait to see her in more films. The final battle scene makes up for any boring parts that the film had leading up to it. Very fun!

82/100

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300: Rise of an Empire (2014)