hig4s's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Ex Machina
Ex Machina(2015)

Are you kidding me, sure they used a lot of big words, but it was in just a poorly done Hitchcock/horror cliche plot line disguised as science fiction. The plot was as transparent as Ava's torso. And the banality of the totally less than profound ending was such a waste of potential. Two hours time to produce 20 minutes worth of plot line, with an ending that should have been the first third (at most) of a real story. To paraphrase a line from the movie, "Don't be analytic, just tell me how it makes you feel." It made me feel dumber than when I started watching. Critics praised it for being so intelligent. To any one that really gets AI, and the theories and philosophy behind it, it was not at all intelligent. And from a purely sci-fi viewpoint, even some of the most unscientific viewers know of Asimov's three laws of robotics. To totally ignore the concept in a modern movie is unforgivable.

Into the Woods
½

I will try to express my views on the movie. To start with I thoroughly enjoyed it. From a purely entertainment view, it has good acting and singing. Sometimes the acting is purposely over the top and campy, sometimes dramatic and touching and often funny. From a writing viewpoint, it has bright and dark moments, a central theme, and a satisfying conclusion. From a philosophical view, it has simile, metaphor, and innuendo in multiple levels and layers that intertwine the individual plot lines into a tapestry of the human experience.

The depth of the underlying philosophical metaphor is profound to the level I am still contemplating it. That being said, it is not necessary to understand any of it to enjoy this movie. Billy Magnussen and Chris Pine were excellent and hilarious as the brother princes of the realm, characters so shallow they are not even giving names in the story, just Cinderella's Prince and Rapunzel's Prince. The special effects were great, but totally unnecessary to tell the story. It makes me wish I could see the live stage version (being extremely careful of what I wish for). Finally, while never on screen or graphic, the implied violence of the original fairy tales, like the evil step mother cutting of the toes of the evil step sister to try to fit into Cinderella's slipper, makes it questionable for young children and makes me wonder how they got a PG rating.

To everyone except for those that just cannot stand musicals, and maybe even to some of those people, I say it is a fun ride that you will most likely enjoy.
I actually see that it is getting no so good reviews, I have to blame this partly on people's expectations as set by a very poor ad campaign. From all the ads I saw on TV, I did not know it was a musical. I am assuming a lot of people thought it was a normal fairytale action movie (Nope, musical) for kids (No so much), and would just be mindless entertainment (it has that too, but really is better with thought). I guess it could be that a lot of people simply don't get it..

As far as the professional reviewers it is 70% like it, Less than I would have expected for a Golden Globe Best Picture nominee, but then many that did not like is say it was not a great adaption of the original play. Movie adaptations are rarely as good as the original source material, that doesn't make the movie bad.

Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas(2012)

very deep compelling and innovative. I can't believe it is not doing better in the box office. I expect it will be like other movies that become classics in time.

Dredd
Dredd(2012)

While I thought Karl Urban made a good Dredd, I did not find it enjoyable. Just blood, gore and violence, Dredd should have been much more than that. I say with conviction what the writers had Dredd say in jest, "it was just a drug bust"

Looper
Looper(2012)
½

I don't see why the great reviews. The actors did a good job of making it believable they were the same person at different ages. The plot had character change, but virtually all plots should. Beyond that I was not that impressed. The premiss just made me say why?
Why if time travel was outlawed, did only organized crime have it, certainly the government had also.
Why send people back 30 years, how about 100, 1000, one million?
Why send people back to be killed because it is hard to hide bodies, why not kill them and send them back dead, gets rid of the body and eliminate the need for loopers.
Why send them to the middle of a corn field, why not the middle of the ocean? Dead or alive you wouldn't need loopers.
Why make the lame 70 telekinetic mutant a key part of the plot?
Why at the end didn't the time line loop back to the beginning, like the first time he fell and died?
Why did the older character go back in time with the hood on once?
Why did I waste my time when I know Hollywood can't do a time paradox correctly?
Finally, the logic of the young character's seeing the loop is flawed. If his assumption that his older character killing the mother caused the Rainman to be evil and send all the loopers back around the same time, then not killing the mother would have changed when he was sent back and he never would have been there to kill her to start with. So either the whole movie is like the dream season of Dallas, or the kid would become the rainman either way and the older version of himself was actually correct.

John Carter
John Carter(2012)
½

I sometimes wonder if reviewers have ever read a novel in their life. I see a lot of bad reviews for this movie and while it is not a great movie, I thought it was good. It followed the original storyline pretty well, actually left out and/or changed some of the original parts that were either totally unexplained or corny to make them better. Had action, character change, great special effects, a bit of humor, and seemed to have good period connection, the Earth of the past was decent. Mars seemed like the Mars of the stories. The Walking city was new and didn't seem necessary but did not detract from the story for me. The interference of the Thurns doesn't really fit with the original story but did make some things more believable than from the original story. I liked it, didn't feel cheated even paying the extra for 3D, and will see it again, probably will buy a copy to add to my movie library when it comes out.

The King's Speech

The world on the verge of WWII, and the royal family is in crisis. Sounds about as dull as you can get. Yet this film is fantastic. It is about the true struggle of a person that has responsibility they never wanted thrust upon them, and the struggles to overcome a crippling stutter.
Colin Firth is a totally believable member of the royal family, and yet is as easy to identify with as a member of your own. Guy Pearce portrays the royal ass of a brother very well, but we already knew he could play the royal ass from years ago in the Count of Monte Cristo.

The part of Lionel by Geoffrey Rush, (yes Capt Barbarossa) was a worry to me. No mistaking the look, the voice, the rhythm of Mr. Rush. In the beginning I just saw Barbarossa with out a hat or beard. But quickly his quirky character portrayal made me forget Barbarossa and by the end he was not playing a character, to me he became Lionel. I expect an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor for Mr. Rush.

The total package of this movie is one with no action, no explosions, no special effects, no fast scene cutting, no hand held camera action, and not one fight scene. Yet on the shoulders of just human drama and character development rises above most of the rest of most of last years, or the last several years worth, movie choices. It left you wanting to applaud, some people did.

Fast Five
Fast Five(2011)

Not to be taken serious at all, the laws of physics do not apply, and not much of a story. But still fun, and funny, and wild. Maybe the best of the series. Make sure to stick around until the final scene after the credits.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
½

And I am being forgiving. It started slow with flash backs to the 60s, black and white footage of Kennedy and Johnson, then bad recreations in color with actors that didn't look anything like Kennedy or Johnson. Then a recreation of the moon walk discovering Sentinel Prime's ship, all stuff we knew from the commercials was going to happen, did not develop the plot at all and we could have learned as the story went along.
There was a section of exposition explaining why Megan Fox wasn't the girl friend. There were way to many comic relief characters and scenes, unless they meant it as a comedy, then there were way too few.
About 45 minutes of the last hour was a continuous fight scene blowing up most of Chicago, the whole time Sam, his core seal buddies barely get scratched, and his current hottie girl friend manages to keep up, still in high heels, without even getting a spot of dirt on her white jacket. And in the misted of the battle they make time for a scene with here running across the road, in slow motion with the wind blowing her hair as she shakes here head like she is strolling down the runway at a fashion photo shoot.
All in all the plot development all of about 20 minutes, the rest was filler and explosions.

Black Swan
Black Swan(2010)

Black Swan takes you into the mind of an artist. Anyone that has ever tried to do anything artistic at a professional level, or has been around someone else that had pursued an artistic profession should get the intense fragility of the mind when one pushes themselves to achieve. This movie portrays this with excellent intensity. It takes you to the main character's duality, spawned by the duality of the artistic role she aspires to achieve. You watch as her personal life spins out of control, she loses touch with reality, as her professional achievements skyrocket.

And if that is not enough for you, there is the scene where Natalia Portman and Mila Kunis have girl on girl sex.

The Spirit
The Spirit(2008)

Wait for the DVD, then don't buy or rent it!!!

Most of the scenes that were suppose to be funny, weren't that funny, most of the scenes that were suppose to be serious or dramatic were almost funny, and it was a strange mix that didn't go together.

I kept thinking if the guy would stop narrating everything and they would throw in some stupid show tunes it would actually be better.

It is sort of like 2 hours of the film noir game from Who's Line Is It Anyway, but with no one manning the buzzer to stop them when it gets too stupid.

Secretariat
Secretariat(2010)

Done very well, even knowing the outcome ahead of time it had me on the edge of my seat.

Inception
Inception(2010)
½

Inception is a roller coaster ride not to be missed, and in my opinion the best movie of the year. There will be plenty of reviewers that complain that it is not a good movie because it is complex, convoluted, and confusing. Well it is suppose to be complex, convoluted and confusing. It is designed to challenge one to think. It is about what is real and what is not. If your brain is not up to the challenge don't blame the movie.

This movie is about both the viewer and the characters blending reality and fantasy together yet trying to understanding the difference. Other movies have tried and failed. Videodrome comes to mind, it just blurred them together with no chance for the viewer to know the difference. Fight Club tried, and was considerably better with some people loving the movie and other hating it. Either way it used the twist ending to make the whole movie, and to create the twist it use a writing cheat known as the "Tomato Surprise". It left out information, that the viewer and/or main character should have known, until after the twist was revealed.

But Inception did neither of these things. It used twists, but not just one, and not as the whole essence of the movie. And it did not hold back any information. Yet it did use a cheat. The same cheat The Matrix used. It didn't follow the rules of its own universe. In The Matrix they broke the rules of the universe before they told the rules to the viewer so almost no one caught on. Inception tells you the rules then breaks them. The break is in the midst of multiple distractions and in such a subtle way much like the paradoxical staircase used in the movie, it is virtually too in plain site for the viewer to notice.

I would still give this movie a 10, even with the cheat, if the hinge pin of the whole movie wasn't created by the cheat. The initial inception in the movie would not have been necessary if the rules of the universe, as outlined in the story, had been followed. Overall an excellent movie that makes you think, and yet keeps you guessing, even after the movie is over. I hope there is no sequel as I could not imagine it being as good as this was. But I was skeptical he could make The Dark Knight better than Batman Begins, so maybe?

The Last Airbender

Wow, tons of potential, totally missed. Poor dialog, both corny and never moved the plot along. Constant voice overs never told anything that wasn't already obvious. Scenes oscillated between absolutely nothing happening to the totally unbelievable. I few of the actions scenes were ok, but non of the characters relayed any emotion to the audience. I didn't really care about the good guys, wasn't made to hate the bad guys. It was all sort of, meh? Who cares? CGI wasn't bad, but again often unbelievable because there was no set up to the things that might happen.

The Karate Kid

I really enjoyed this movie. It has been a long time since I saw the first Karate Kid. But this one didn't really have any surprises, very close to the original plot line, New setting, new characters, Kung Fu instead of Karate. Just a remake. But then, not really. The new characters' personalities are engaging, the cinematography very good, the action scenes more believable. The scenery of China a great back drop. And of course Jakie Chan's martial arts are much better than Pat Morita's, as charming as Pat Morita was.
Villains were classically one dimensional, but it didn't seem to matter, it was expected. Jaden Smith's martial arts was also better than Ralph Macchio's but Macdhio's character may have been easier to believe and more identifiable. The final scene is too exactly like the original, yet less believable and obviously CGI assisted.

Very good, not quite as good as the first one though. But had this one been first, it would have been a closer call.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
½

Another case of the top pro reviewers either have just seen too many movies and lost perspective, or have forgotten how to have a good time.
No high drama, no lessons in civics, no waring of impending ecological doom, just an action adventure with a little romance.
A bit too much use of special effects and choppy editing during the fight scenes, makes them hard to follow. Some of the one liners aren't that good, and the main characters could have been a little better.
The plot was at times corny, but at least it was not totally predictable, and decent.
Just like the classic stories it draws from (Thief of Baghdad, and Aladdin) it is about second chances.
And while I only gave it a 70, because of some of it's technical problems, while I was watching it I was thoroughly entertained. And this is the first movie I can say that about this year.

Shrek Forever After

Had some funny moments, donkey was decent, the characters in general are still cute. But seemed slow, which is really bad for a short movie. Skip the 3D. Should have waited for DVD.

Robin Hood
Robin Hood(2010)
½

I give it a 7, close to an 8. but disagree with some of the reviews that said it needed more blood and gore. That is not what the story is about. I found it a little slow in the beginning, but really liked how it developed. I believe a lot of the criticisms of the movie come from people that only know the Robin Hood legend from Hollywood's previous portrayals, or maybe worse than that, only from the last Robin Hood movie and the disney cartoon. Having read a bit about the original poems from the 12 century and the vast variety of different possible origins of Robin Hood, I found they story was very creative in integrating several origins in to one tale that worked, at least for me. I would have liked to have seen the early parts of the movie sped along and maybe continue on into the more famous part of the legend. But over all, I liked it.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2(2010)

Ironman 2,, I didn't think it was worth the $12 to see it in Cinema XD. (high def) this is the first time we have ever went to movie in high def (not counting Imax shows). the XD didn't seem much if any better than a normal show. Unfortunately the theater we usually go to now has both its big screens XD only.

The movie in general I though was good, the character development was perhaps even more interesting then in the first one, but over all I liked the first one better. Johansen was very good as Black Widow.

I liked the movie but had a problem from the start knowing the Ironman orginal story lines.

"The first Crimson Dynamo was also the creator of the armor: Professor Anton Vanko. A Soviet scientist of Armenian birth with a PhD in Physics, Vanko was the world's foremost expert on electricity. He built a suit that was wired up to perform electric miracles, making him a human dynamo. The Crimson Dynamo battle-suit allowed him to control electricity in all of its forms, allowing him to fire devastating bolts of electricity. It also allowed him to fly.

Vanko was a vain man, but he redeemed himself in the end. In their first encounter, the Crimson Dynamo battled Iron Man.[1] After being tricked by Iron Man (who made him believe that his Soviet handlers were going to kill him though earlier Vanko's superior implied he was going to kill Vanko, anyway), Vanko defected to the U.S. and went to work for Tony Stark as one of his chief scientists. Soon the Soviets came to kill him for real. They sent their top agent, the Black Widow, and her one-time partner, Boris Turgenev, the latter of whom stole the armor and became the second Crimson Dynamo. Vanko died saving Iron Man by firing an unstable experimental laser light pistol at Boris, killing himself as well.."

Whiplash came later and was a disgruntled tech (Mark Scarlotti) at Stark, who created the whiplash suit, was defeated and then came back with an improved suit and called himself Backlash.

Now I generally don't have any issues with updating and changing around the storylines from comics to make a movie, if there is good reason. I can see making the bad guy Ivan Vanko, Anton's son and having Anton work for Stark when Tony was a child. I can see skipping the part where Blackwidow worked for the Russians before defecting and being part of the Avengers, doesn't fit with modern times. I even didn't mind how Rhodes became War Machine, (who was actually an ex Marine in the comics and Tony's helo pilot, and at times would wear the Ironman suit and fight criminals when Tony was too drunk, before he became War Machine.) But why have Vanko make the Whiplash suit instead of the Crimson Dynamo suit?

How to Train Your Dragon

Very good, Craig Ferguson as the teacher was great. The story was engaging and the 3D was second only to Avatar.

Alice in Wonderland

Went to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D this weekend.. Pretty good, but didn't think the 3D really added that much. Several times there were 3D effects that happened so fast you really couldn't see them well. The character story was different (basically Alice is older and goes back, but doesn't remember being there before) yet all the milieu was exactly the same. Met the same characters along the same path at about the same time in the story. Certainly Alice didn't see all of Wonderland the first time. I expected more of Tim Burton.

I think the 3D in was done much better in Avatar. It seemed there was always some unobtrusive yet clear 3D effect going on away from the action in Avatar to make you feel you were really there.

Avatar
Avatar(2009)
½

3D effects were used the to maximum potential, without being cheesy. Often felt like I was really there. Acting pretty good, story good but somewhat simple (but then so was the first Star Wars). The idea behind the world and the complexity and completeness of the world building was fantastic. The CGI is as good as it gets. I will definitively have to buy an HD TV and a BlueRay player when this comes out. Sure it won't be the same as 3D but I can't imagine watching it on a low def TV.

X Games 3D: The Movie

Some good stuff, the 3D is good but they missed in several key spots where the 3D could have really put the action over the top.. Interviews and back ground stuff as well as the back stage camera work was very good, but they showed too much of last years X-Games competition, the same stuff that has been on TV, and with the camera angles and distance the 3D didn't make it that much better. Most of us that went to see the movie are already fans, so we'd already seen all of that.

District 9
District 9(2009)

Pretty good movie, but I don't see how it is so ground breaking or the best movie of the year like many have said.
I think both Star Trek and Harry Potter were better.

Sure it is different (but that is not always good, like most critics think) and it made you think. It also had some very good cinematography and special effects, but it seemed a lot like a sci-fi version of Kafka's The Metamorphosis.

And the bouncing handy cam style is not new, and I didn't like it in Blair Witch either.

The massive blood and guts in every action scene, has been in ever Tarintino movie, and is getting old. Sure you may need to be graphic to set a mood, but after the first dozen times it is just over the top gratuitous. If you insist upon putting something gratuitous in a movie - I prefer sex.

The documentary style was also in Cloverfield, which I didn't see because if I wanted to watch a documentary I would watch a real one. When I go to the movies I want to see a movie. I want to be transported into a story, not constantly brought out of the flow to see a news report. Seeing someone stand in front of a camera and be interviewed wastes the visual medium. All the same info and ideas could have been accomplished by having the interviews be audio in the back ground while other action was happening.

And other than the main character's finally getting how bad humans treated the prawns and deciding to help them, it didn't answer hardly any of the questions the storyline presented. It appeared to basically be a set up for another movie or two.

I feel it is worth seeing, but as far as great science fiction, no. And personally I think I should have stayed home and watched my collection of Babylon 5 and waited for District 9 to come to DVD.

X-Men Origins - Wolverine

It really wasn't that good, but I still enjoyed it. Like most the X-men movies, time lines and characters are completely in the wrong places and at the wrong times, and just done wrong. Deadpool was nothing like in the comics.

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)
½

Was hoping for great, didn't get it. But got very good. Although the end was totally unbelievable, going from newly commissioned Ensign to Captain after just one voyage, somebody is out of their mind!!! Another issue I had was what the heck was Nero doing for that 25 years from the time he killed Kirks father until Kirk was in Starfleet, and just how convient was that for the story line??? Nero was also was a pretty cookie cutter villian and not really likable, or should I say dis-likable.

The idea that the future has changed and all the old things we know about Star Trek are to be rewritten is both cool and sad. The new timeline Kirk was played very well, loved Spock and McCoy, Chekov wasn't bad, but really shouldn't have been around yet. Scotty was a bit too humorous, and the cute alien sidekick should have been left totally out.

I heard some complaints I don't share.
One was the idea that Pike just appointed Kirk third in command and there should have been a chain of command. Well, for one battle field promotions happen (even if they don't last) and other than Pike and Spock the ship was full of newly commisioned Ensigns, Pike picked one. Worked for me.
Another was, Why did a mining ship have tons of weapons? Hey, they are Romulans, probably the most aggressive race in the Star Trek universe, it is not like their mining ships always stay in their own space. Worked for me.

The final scene between Spock and Spock Prime was very good. And I hope they continue and make another movie, better yet bring these actors to the small screen and remake the original series from scratch.

There are a few interesting loose ends, such as all the things that were in other TOS shows or movies that the initial events happened before Kirk's father was killed.
Like: Khan's sleeper ship is still out there; V'ger is still out there; the alien probe will still come looking for for humpback whales come 2286, and if something similar to the episode Naked Time doesn't happen (where they accidently learned how to time travel with the ship) Kirk and Spock will not know how to time travel to go get any. And I am sure there are more of these events I just can't think of at this time.

Watchmen
Watchmen(2009)

Wow,, entertainment value I only rate it an eight, but complexity of character development, and story line is incredible. The effects and music complement the complexity, and make it an excellent visual representation of action-adventure heroes as real people with real problems, and the dark obsessive complexity of mind it would take to become a costumed crime fighter. Much like out our of control rich and powerful politicians and corporate executives who rarely have to answer to anyone, these most powerful heroes fall to their own worst primal instincts in order to achieve their personal agendas.

Wanted
Wanted(2008)
½

Good idea, lots of potential, good effects, good actors, but over all not believable. And not the part about them doing superhuman/matrix like things, I can accept that premise even if it was not presented all that well. But the storyline itself. The plot just had too many loose threads to be believable. I'm just not a gullible as the characters in the story. They found out and were presented with proof the head guy had been lying for years. The head guy admits it, and then tells them something else without proof, and it is accepted as truth. Just doesn't make sense.

Seven Pounds
Seven Pounds(2008)
½

Before I start remember, with all the bad things I'm going to say, I still rated it a 7!!

The movie starts slow and confusing, trying to be mysterious but really isn't. Then within 15 to 20 minutes I had the entire plot figured out, including the supposedly twist ending. At times it seemed slow, but that may just have been because I already had figured out what was coming. The title's slight reference to Shakespeare seemed fitting but too telling. The only thing I didn't have figured out was his relationship with his brother.

Now with all said, the characters are engaging and believable. The pain and joy of them comes through with great force, and anyone that does not at least feel for the irony of Smith's character looking for redemption and instead finding love, one he is willing to abandon redemption for, but a love only his redemption can keep. And this irony is set to music perfectly by the discordant sour notes being played throughout the soft piano music.

Anyone that doesn't tear up is as heartless as Darth Sidious.

Quantum of Solace

Bond is still in training in this movie, still the blunt instrument learning to be a double O, almost just a continuation of Casino Royale, and they don't let you forget it. But there are still some subtleties of plot and story that many seem to just have missed, hopefully they will be fleshed out in the next move.

The editing is a bit too frantic for my tastes, I like the camera to stay on a scene long enough for me to focus and actually be able to see what is going on. I'm funny like that.

I enjoyed the film and was left with a good feeling about the continuation of the series. Not as good as Casino Royale, but well worth the money.

My wife has decide Craig is the best Bond ever, but he still is unproven as a Bond to me, he is, as he was before, a great Bond in training, but unless he can achieve the sharpness and slickness of the Fleming character he will not be able to keep the franchise re-invigorated. Until he does that I rate him tied for second best Bond behind Connery.

Of course it is not necessarily his fault, the producers and directors at this time want it to be this way.. Hope they realize the fans want a sharp thinking Bond, who can be the blunt instrument when it is really needed, and not a Bond that is stuck in Conan the Barbarian mode all the time.

The Dark Knight

Whoa, I walked out of the theater confused. It was great, but how great? Did it just take over the #1 spot? The spot in my list that Batman Begins just gave up to Iron Man? It was dark and depressing, scary and disturbing, yet uplifting and hopeful, ground breaking and classic. Do you see why I was confused. But after thinking about it for a couple days, yes, it just took my top spot as the best superhero movie ever.

It gave the feeling of the original Bob Kane Dark Knight stories, yet seems to transcend them making Batman even a greater hero than he was. And this is all because Heath Leadger's Joker was even a more Iconic villain than the Joker has ever been before. Here is a hero/villain dichotomy more intense than Luke and Darth Vader, than the Count of Monte Cristo and Fernand Mondego, than James Bond and Blofeld. It is the stuff of legends as primal as as the conflict between Beowulf and Grendel. Not any of the poorly done movie versions, but the classic 11th century tale of good and evil told in a poem.
And to top it off, the special effects are close to on par with Iron Man, and it was partially filmed on IMAX film stock. High quality, high resolution. Not only will I have to buy this, and Iron Man, but between the two I may have to actually get off my pocket book, buy a high definition TV and a Blueray DVD player.

Hancock
Hancock(2008)

Intelligent, dramatic and different. I think after seeing the critics ratings of this movie, we need to institute IQ checks before we allow people to be professional critics. Not as good as Iron Man or the Dark Knight, but easily as good as the Incredible Hulk.

Speed Racer
Speed Racer(2008)

Not for everyone, but it is a visual conacopia of a story, You could almost do away with the dialog and just run the speed racer sound track over and over. it has some of the same campy bizzarness of the original series. And Racer X is just cool. If you are waiting for the DVD, at least see it on a BIG screen HD TV in BlueRay.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
½

acted well, familar characters plus new one to like, but dumb story, to much reliance on special effects, and stunts over the top much like Indy2. Wait for DVD.

Iron Man
Iron Man(2008)

Wow,, in my book it just passed Batman Begins as the best superhero movie ever.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
½

As good or better than the first one,, darker, and harsher. Worth seeing on the big screen.