Ben's Message Wall

No messages.

Latest Submissions

No Recent Submissions

Ben's Ratings

  • Monsters University

    Monsters University (2013)

    March 15, 2014

  • Frozen

    Frozen (2013)

    March 15, 2014

  • The LEGO Movie

    The LEGO Movie (2014)

    March 15, 2014

  • G-Force

    G-Force (2009)

    August 23, 2009

    Well-animated guinea pigs just do not a movie make. They might have spent more than 5 minutes on the script. I can't help but wonder if sometimes they were trying for irony but failing badly, or just really thought that kids needed a perfect introduction to action movies composed entirely of cliches. This IS a good introduction to action movies composed entirely of cliches, though Lethal Weapon (pick one) might be a better... These are the kinds of movies that will turn kids' brains to mush... Go watch Bolt and skip the guinea pigs.

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Lars and the Real Girl

    Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

    June 16, 2009

  • Tarantula

    Tarantula (1955)

    June 16, 2009

    A fun science fiction/monster movie from the '50s. Not as bad as we've come to expect from such movies; okay script and generally passable acting. It manages to be fairly atmospheric. The live-action tarantula usually looks pretty good. (Not to be confused with Earth vs. the Spider from 1958.)

  • Hellboy

    Hellboy (2004)

    June 13, 2009

    The characters in this film are cliche, but they still feel real and interesting enough to carry interest. The film is sometimes funny and sometimes atmospheric. Ironically, action is the weakpoint here Some of the action scenes, especially nearer the beginning are okay, but the ones near the end are lacking; they can be dull and confusing. And they don't really advance the characters at all - which may be part of why they feel almost out of place.

    On the whole, this is a pretty good comic book movie. It almost rises above the genre, though in the end it doesn't quite make it.

  • WarGames (War Games)

    WarGames (War Games) (1983)

    May 17, 2009

    WarGames is a generally solid movie, but the main reasons I think it's a good movie are: (1) It actually captures the spirit of computers as they actually functioned in that era (or at least how I think they did - I was still a little young back then...). Okay, we're not going to see a sentient computer anytime soon, and speech synthesis doesn't really work that way, and no one would ever leave a back door that wide open (even in the early '80s), but here we also see "boring" old text interfaces, slow modems, real security problems. Also, we get to see reasonable representations of "hackers" in their native environment (I think I've met those guys... "Mr. Potato Head!" indeed). (2) If we were to ever get a sentient AI, Joshua is I think a reasonable representation of how it might function. (3) It's a pretty good dig at nuclear armament (even if you don't agree with it). Joshua's last line is classic.

  • The Day the Earth Stood Still

    The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

    May 14, 2009

    Pretty bad, on the whole. I suppose it's worth first addressing an obvious feature: it's a remake - a remake of a movie (that despite some admitted moments of cheeziness) is a classic. Which already puts the pressure one. And, to not keep you in suspense, I for one don't think it even came close to living up to the standards of the original. Which really wouldn't have been that hard - the production values in the original were a little weak. While this movie had better special effects, and the acting was at least as good as the original (again, not especially difficult to achieve), the script here was a lot worse off.

    Not surprisingly, they attempt here to make the movie more relevant to contemporary issues; instead of nuclear technology, the concern here is with the environment. But the original concept was actually more apropros than some might think; while nuclear weapons were the immediate concern, the real issue is with force and violence. And surely that is as relevant (or more) than it was in the 1950s. Furthermore, with the change in theme, the story is complicated in new ways, as the motivation of the aliens changes. While the aliens in the original were (and I believe were intended to be) somewhat morally ambiguous, here there is almost no ambiguity, and the humans end up nearly unequivocally as the "good guys" as they find themselves in a struggle for existence. All while we're supposed to be worried about the environment. Strange and mixed-up.

    Thematic trouble is just the start. This is a more action-oriented story than the original, but, as is often the case with such changes, the action, and hence the movie, also make much less sense. There's a lot of pointless and confused running around, mostly. And, as in a bad '80s action movie, the last five minutes make little sense and don't even follow the established rules or any detectable logic.

    I think that's enough of that. It's disappointing. An okay budget, plenty of okay to great actors, and in the end you get a movie that's not just worse than a '50s science fiction movie, but considerably so. Perhaps that's symbolic of cinema in our era.

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile