Michael Goodwin's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Macbeth
Macbeth(2015)
½

Beautifully filmed and strongly acted by all involved. It's nice when you can see when a director makes specific choices to convey a part of a classic play using cinematic language. I think this would have been better suited as a television miniseries though as certain aspects of the story seem to be overt compressed which makes some of the plot too quick at times. I'd say most Shakespeare today would be best suited for a miniseries treatment.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs(2015)
½

The narrative approach to telling the story about this complex person is problematic. It tries to be too clever and because of that the picture of the person is limited. The positives are that Fassbender plays Jobs very well and the direction is strong given the screenplay limitations. I would likely recommend watching the documentary that came out last year titled Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine.

99 Homes
99 Homes(2015)

Excellent performances. It pulls back the curtain on what happens in a society that loses religion and virtue and shows what happens when the pursuit of wealth trumps faith, family, and community. What makes it most unsettling is the loss of humanity that has found its way throughout our country.

Captain America: Civil War

Succeeds in great characters, action, locations, realism (not cgi bombardment), and humor. Probably some of the best action scenes put to film, the detail reminded me of Mad Max. It got everything right that Batman v. Superman got wrong. The heart and motivation of the characters was handled well here and we have I believe the best portrayal of Spider Man ever!

Room
Room(2015)

It transports you into a story. And you experience it both from the Child's and Mother's perspective. I was blown away. There's so much more to say but I'll stop and reflect later!

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
½

I have now seen the movie a few times and I have enjoyed it more each time. That's the sign of a good movie. After living through such mediocrity, poor acting and bad storytelling of the prequels, this is truly a return to Star Wars form. The story unfolds very well, the characters are great actors and leaving you wanting to learn more about them. There are a few great movie moments that seem that they will become classics. I look forward to where the story is going to go. Abrams reveals in this film how much he grew up loving Star Wars. It shows from one edge of the galaxy to the other. The half star I knock off is only for wanting more screen time for ace pilot Poe Dameron and what I saw as a slight misstep with the advertised chrome trooper, Captain Phasma. She was used more for a moment of comic relief and I would have preferred to have her be established as someone that you would never want to mess with. My hope is maybe they have her return in the future and make her a bit more intimidating. Or, introduce a few more new characters that join in with Kylo Ren who is the awesome new bad guy.

Inside Out
Inside Out(2015)
½

I had a lot of fun watching this movie. It is full of great, genuine laughs and has a lot of heart. I oddly did not emotionally get drawn into this movie as I have with previous Pixar movies. The most emotional I got I think was during both Finding Nemo and Toy Story 3. I think the strong Father/Son theme in Nemo and the strong connection I had with the characters with TS3 is what drew me into those more. With this movie there was so much creativity and newness to it that I couldn't relate personally to it. It's definitely a very good movie and I will likely see it again. My main beef with the movie is that even with its creativity it does not risk going into more difficult topics such as the nature of a human's soul. As a Christian we believe we are more than just the expression of our emotions and that God speaks into the depths of us. Maybe I am wanting too much for a children's movie, but compared to the stakes of movies like Nemo (Son reconnecting with a Father) and Wall-E (humans returning to earth and rediscovering their relationship to the world), the actions of the characters in Inside Out seem to be dealing with smaller concerns. I think they could have taken more risks with portraying the humans in the movie. I think having it be a simple issue of a child adjusting to a new place they have moved to is not the biggest story idea they could have went with. Maybe dealing with deeper things like the loss of a loved one or bullying in school. Some weightier issue that previous Pixar movies were not afraid to approach. Overall, though, it is a very fun movie to see! It's definitely worth checking out!

Terminator Genisys

There was a lot of crazy potential for this movie and a lot of different directions they could have taken it. I agreed with a friend who said he thought that they played the story too safe. Sadly, the previews for the movie also spoiled some of the major plot points. I went in not expecting much and left feeling I got what I expected. It is an uninspired action movie that doesn't take enough risk. Arnold is the most entertaining part of the movie; you can tell he is enjoying playing the part again. I would also say that this was much better than the third and fourth movie, but nowhere close to the first or second. The action scenes are not very creative and with time travel as a central element to the story, they could have done so many interesting things and instead decided to retread a bunch of the story beats from the previous two movies. The best part of the movie was the first half hour. You get to see more of the future battle against Skynet and you get to see some scenes from the first two films from a different perspective. This is where it had a kind of Back to the Future Part II vibe going to it. But, then it moves on to its own story and you soon realize they really don't know where they wanted to go with it. You can wait to rent. Don't bother wasting your money seeing it in the theater.

Jurassic World

I had an enjoyable time seeing Dinosaurs back on the big screen. This is by far the most satisfying of the sequels to come after Jurassic Park. It was awesome seeing a fully functioning dinosaur park; Hammond's dream has come true! The dinosaurs were beautifully represented in the movie and the their interactions with the people was well done. I had recently been reading the original Crighton book and I interestingly found some of the story in this movie more faithful to that book. It is missing the characters from the book, but a lot of the places in the park that we get to see in this movie are in the book and some of those were left out in the original movie. So, overall I enjoyed the movie but I should also bring up some of the negatives. The main negative I have with the movie is how the characters are set up and established. This is where Spielberg's special touch comes in and it has been missing since the original movie. Many have said that none of the movies are praised for their script and dialogue. I get it. But, what Spielberg did so well is help us connect emotionally to at least one character in the movie. So when we are introduced to the characters in the original, they resonate with different people in the audience. The warmth between the couple of Grant and Dr. Sattler is there from the start. For me, when I was 11 seeing Jurassic Park for the first time I connected with Tim and was intrigued by the quirky character of Dr. Ian Malcolm. That's was the brilliance of Spielberg. He populates his movie with people you either relate to or are intrigued by. With Jurassic World, the two characters I found most relatable were Owen and the technician in the control room. I would have loved to have seen both of them more in the movie. As for the kids, I think the big mistake was to have them sent to the island alone. I think you could have had them with their parents on the island and then at some point they get separated. The parents then could have maybe been struggling with their marriage but throughout this experience at the park their relationship is renewed when it is tested. They could learn what really matters in life. When I was young I had seen the movie Jaws and then read the book and it really got me interested in reading. With Jurassic Park, I had seen the movie first and then read the book. I ended up reading most of Crighton's books after that. Jurassic Park was a huge movie for me growing up. It mesmerized me and scared me. And a lot of that had to do with how Spielberg could build up tension and set up scenes with iconic images. There were some moments of wonder in this movie, but the characters had no powerful relational connection. So, to conclude, I would say that Jurassic World has fun action scenes, great dinosaurs (though I would have liked to have seen a lot more species), and a beautifully realized park. But, if there are to be further movies, let there be better development of the characters and give us an exciting new adventure full of surprises, wonder and terror. Let me share how I would rate all the Jurassic movies: Jurassic Park (5 Stars), Lost World (2 Stars), Jurassic Park 3 (1 Star), Jurassic World (3 Stars)

The Babadook
The Babadook(2014)

Chilling portrait of how community life in western societies has collapsed. Deep loneliness and despair is effecting so many. Also, this is unsettling in how it builds atmosphere, dread and creepiness. The two main characters give incredibly strong performances for this kind of movie. Don't watch it alone.

Guardians of the Galaxy
½

A great, fun ride. Endearing characters, spot on humor, and visually striking in all the right ways. Was a great movie experience!

Foxcatcher
Foxcatcher(2014)

No denying excellent performances by Carrell and Tatum. But the movie remains very somber throughout which is kind of a downer. I am dissapointed when no mention or inclusion of what these people's faith practices were. Does anyone go to Church? Also, the Dupont character could have been more deeply developed. I would have wanted to see more of his earlier life and interactions with his family when he was younger. This is still a strong movie and reveals our country's propensity to be mostly concerned with image instead of what is truly good and right for the human person.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

I was aware the whole time how this story could have been told with two, 2 hour movies instead of three 2 1/2 hour movies. There is so much filler and repetition and poor editing. The most interesting character, Bilbo, who should be the main character, is left to an almost cameo role. And this has been a recurring problem in the trilogy. There are a couple scenes that make it worth seeing in the theater if you enjoyed the first two. And I will say it has better humor than the previous two. The Catholic themes are still there but have been less of an emphasis compared to the LOTR trilogy.

Boyhood
Boyhood(2014)
½

Despite the rave reviews, this movie was really flat to me. Its not inspiring. It reveals what happens when God is not sought as the greatest love. The people are shallow and empty. They never are faced with any tough questions or decisions. Its not worth the long runtime. You can watch the 3 minute preview and come away with the same impression as when you saw the whole thing.

Into the Woods

I was really impressed with this musical. It reveals how we seek out and wish for things we think will make us happy. As a Christian, Christ brings satisfaction to the heart's deepest longings. There is humor and heart in this story. The performances are strong and often funny. The standouts were Pine, Streep, Blunt, and Corden. Listen carefully to the lyrics of the music. There are some important lessons that come throughout the story. Worth the watch!

Interstellar
Interstellar(2014)

Captures the wonder of space travel while being grounded in humanity. There are scenes that are flat out awesome. The ethical theme of utilitarianism came up a few times which is something we have discussed in class recently. The relationships are not as compelling as ones you would find in a Spielberg movie. But the concepts of truthfulness, love, and paradoxes of space/time and gravity are approached in an interesting way. Some of the logic slips toward the end and there is definitely a need to suspend disbelief concerning a few plot points. I still enjoyed it a lot though!

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

This is a really good summer movie. Sadly there hasn't been a lot of excitement about it. I just got back from watching and I have to say that you'll enjoy this movie. It's entertaining, funny, clever and exciting. For a plot that deals with repetition, it keeps things moving fast and its very interesting. The basic plot device of this movie has been used in other movies. (For instance, Source Code). But this movie far exceeds the former attempts. For those who are wary of Tom Cruise, you needn't worry. He is spot on perfect for this part. In fact, this movie intentionally makes fun of Cruise as "action movie guy". He plays the humor well and he has great chemistry with Emily Blunt. If you have a chance, go check this movie out! It's a fun science fiction action movie with great writing, acting and directing! I was surprised!

Quiz Show
Quiz Show(1994)

I had not seen this movie when it first came out. I finally had the chance to watch it. This movie is based on real events and includes excellent performances from all involved. This movie shows how entertainment and advertising have deeply effected the people of our country. I highly recommend checking this movie out. It contains a lot of memorable quotes.

Non-Stop
Non-Stop(2014)
½

This movie honestly surprised me. Neeson as always is solid but also the rest of the cast is solid too. The movie also lives up to its title. Once on the plane you really are in for a wild ride! Is the end of the movie plausible? Well, if you're looking for that, watch a documentary. Was the ending of the movie Jaws plausible when the Shark blows up? If you can appreciate a movie like Jaws and understand how a movie like that 'earns' that kind of ending, you can appreciate this movie as well! I'm glad I watched it and would watch it again! I think that is solid enough praise and a strong recommendation.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

A very fun movie. I have to say I was very surprised by how well this movie was done. The story is interesting, it builds strongly on the previous chapter of 'First Class' and corrects all that was bad about X3. Oh, and watch for the character of Quicksilver. There is one scene in this movie that I'm going to want to rewatch a few times. It's such a creative burst of wild action put to a great classic tune. A very fun movie to see on the big screen!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
½

A very well constructed and exciting movie. This one was an improvement over the first movie even though the first film was still solid. There's good humor, great action and the characters are well developed. It's worth seeing on the big screen!

World War Z
World War Z(2013)

Strong performances. Great pacing and an intriguing approach to the zombie genre!

Godzilla
Godzilla(2014)

First things first. Godzilla shows up! They really nailed his character, size and capability. The human characters? Well, that's another story. It is well known that this director highly respects Steven Spielberg. All through this movie you see nice directing choices that are obviously giving a nod to some great moments in Spielberg movies. Basically, if you took some iconic scenes from Close Encounters, Jurassic Park and Jaws and brought them together you'd have this movie. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. There is a lot to praise in this movie. I enjoyed watching this movie. The only thing I hope they do better with if the Godzilla world continues is that more attention is given to a central human character. I get it. It's a monster movie. It's not Lincoln or Saving Private Ryan. But in the three movies I mention that this movie pays homage to, each of those had a strong central character (Chief Brody, Alan Grant, and Roy Neary) The characters we follow in this story switches from a Father and Son. Neither of these characters grab your attention and have you want to root for them. Finally, another lesson Edwards could learn from Spielberg is that there needs to be at least a little humor and levity. I understand they were trying to set a different tone (especially with the campy and corny humor of Emmerich's 'disaster' of a Godzilla movie back in 98), but there should be some humor that connects you to a character. Godzilla has never been known for this. The characters are usually always thinly written. But, if you are going to bring us the best of Spielberg, let's do some of the wonderful things he did with human characters in his movies as well.

Nebraska
Nebraska(2013)
½

I appreciated this movie in how it provided a very positive portrayal of how is son is willing to be present in the life of his aging father. In our day with such a prevalence of families sending elderly people to nursing homes, this movie provides a powerful counter message. This is a warm and humorous tale that helps you to reflect on how we can serve our older family members.

Saving Mr. Banks

Aside from the good performances by the actors, I actually didn't find this to be a very well told story. The jumping back and forth between past and present is a pretty common approach. The best parts are the present story and the humor that some of the secondary characters bring to the story. I am not sure if this was really worthy of movie though. I could see this kind of story told on the blu-ray for Mary Poppins and that would have sufficed.

12 Years a Slave
½

What an incredible portrayal of grave injustice and exposing the dark corners of our countries history. This is a very difficult watch. You can't call it inspiring or entertaining. I guess you can just say that it is a story worth witnessing for the fact that it reminds you of how far we can go as humans in treating other humans like they are not human.

Ender's Game
Ender's Game(2013)

I have to say this movie did exceed my expectations. The acting was strong across the board and the story is intriguing for a science fiction movie. I believe the ending was a little underwhelming. I hope some of the other Ender stories come to the screen one day.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

This was one movie where I thought the trailer was better than the movie. The story was a just a little too bland and uninspiring. The location filming is beautiful and that does lift the picture from being a total waste of time.

Oblivion
Oblivion(2013)

Visually imaginative and overall solid acting by everyone. My couple issues with it is I was disappointed with something that happens later in the movie and I also thought the tone of the movie was a bit too serious for science fiction. A little humor would have gone a long way. For all the people down on Tom Cruise lately, I do say he does give a good performance here. He doesn't overplay any scenes like he has done in some movies. (what I mean is he doesn't break into over the top yelling.) Anyway, while no one would call this a classic, I'd say its worth at least one watch.

Noah
Noah(2014)
½

Noah, by Darren Aronofsky, is a movie that is going to divide people of different sensibilities. I have heard Christians of all different stripes be passionate in their praise and condemnation of this movie. I am going to share why I believe this is a powerful 'biblical' film but not a literal one. I am going to suggest that the thematic core of this movie expresses the most important of spiritual principles that reoccurs all throughout Scripture: namely, the relationship between God's justice and mercy. Sadly, many people are getting hung up on the artistic liberties that the director has taken in his telling of the story. I would argue the biblical literalists (aka, fundamentalists) begin with the wrong question when assessing the value of this biblical movie. They start with, "Does the movie follow the biblical text faithfully and accurately?" The problem with this question is that it is based on a major false assumption about the Bible. This is going to be news to some: the Bible is not a newspaper. The Bible is not a history book. If I were to pick up a newspaper, the question regarding perfect accuracy an faithfulness to the details of events would be very important, for the very purpose of a newspaper is to report events accurately and completely. The Bible is the Word of God passed down orally and eventually in writing. It is a collection of different writings with different purposes and genres. The Bible is really not a book but a library of writings that were originally passed on orally within community. So to demand of the Bible something that it had no intention of doing displays a deep unfamiliarity of the Bible's intentions and its history.
Returning to the movie Noah, I will say that the main bullet points of the story from the book of Genesis are all found within the movie. These are how I would breakdown these basic points: [[Mankind becomes exceedingly wicked. God communicates to Noah he will destroy the world with water. God communicates to Noah the mission to build an ark to save all the creatures of the earth and his family (the confusion of Noah on whether man is worth saving I will speak on in a moment.). Noah obeys God and builds the Ark. God draws the animals to the Ark. God floods the world. God allows waters to recede. Noah and creatures leave the ark. Noah gets drunk and naked. Noah is given the sign of the rainbow that the earth will not be flooded again.]] So these story beats are all retained in the movie. But knowing these 'facts' does not transform you or effect you. The effect of God's revealed word is that it works its way into our heart and 'converts' us and turns us back to Him and away from ourselves. So the account of Noah portrayed in this movie is 'filled in' with some coloring and shading that urges the viewer to ask questions about God, on how we communicate with God, on what it means to be just and what it means to show mercy. I have no problem with angels encased in rock and becoming misguided in trying to help humans. I have no problem with having one daughter being saved and adopted by Noah and having Methuselah heal her barrenness through his patriarchal blessing. I have no problem with Noah spending a time on the Ark in confusion of what God spoke to Him. I'd encourage you to think about how this truly relates Noah to our own experiences in our encounter with God. Also, think of all the times throughout all of the Biblical writings where people are not given the full story from God and initially misunderstand the full picture of what God was revealing. The Bible is saturated with this theme. If you go to this movie and you love the Bible, you will not love the Bible any less after seeing this. But you will need to take off your western/american lenses and look at how the account of Noah fits into the context of the larger story God has told throughout history in a million different ways. This is the question that you really need to ask before both reading the account of Noah in Genesis and watching this movie on which it is loosely based: "Why did God want to tell us this story? What is He trying to communicate through its telling?" That is a better way to approach God's word. He is not trying to tell you 'just the facts.' He is trying to grab your heart and awake your soul. The movie Noah can do this if you see it properly. It can awake your soul to ask the questions Noah had to face. 'What is justice? What is mercy?' 'What does it mean to be a person made in God's image?' Aside from the special effects and the story's large scale, there is a very personal journey taken in this movie by the character of Noah and it takes him to the depths to understand the love, mercy, and justice of God. What you need in watching this movie is a Jewish sensibility. We come at Noah knowing the end before it arrives. This movie has Noah confronted with questions that he may not want the answers to. I can guarantee that Noah didn't have all those answers in an instant. Read the Psalms and see how many laments there are in being frustrated with not understanding the ways of God. Look at Abraham, Moses and David. All of these people were given partial views of God and his Will and their trust was deeply challenged throughout there whole life. Here is why I ultimately like the movie; Noah comes across as a real person and not some Sunday school flannel graph figure. Everything the character does makes sense to what we experience as human beings. I love the artistic touches and the rich symbolism used to convey the creation story, the violence of Cain toward Abel, and also the whole vision of what the world could have possibly been like before the flood. I actually enjoy that it is more mystical and has a touch of fantasy. I like how God uses more physical things to bring about miracles and reminders to the characters such as the snake skin, the relics from Eden, and the powerful fiery substance that is simply called zoar. I believe people like C.S. Lewis and Tolkein would have loved this telling. Lewis understood that God's interaction with us in this world is something amazing and mysterious. Lewis conveyed it in his Narnia stories and Tolkein with his tales of the Hobbits. God used the account of Noah to tell us about Himself and the state of sinful humanity. Aronofsky understood this and that is why since the age of 13 he has wanted to bring the story of Noah to film. There is a lot that is done very well here and there are a few things I would have done differently. But those are things I reserve to discussing in personal conversation. I do not desire to make sweeping condemnations or overgeneralizing my criticisms. Anyway, go see Noah and then keep reading the Bible!

In Fear
In Fear(2014)

The first movie that came to mind when watching In Fear is the first movie filmed for T.V. that kicked off Stephen Spielberg's directing career. It was called Duel and it features a businessman traveling to a meeting on a desert road in the American southwest. Duel is filled with tension, mystery as the character is chased by a large truck whose driver is never seen throughout the whole movie. It is a cat and mouse the whole way. With In Fear, some of that same suspense can be found, the two main actors are solid, the camera work is strong and the use of sound is effective. The problem with this film is that the characters continue to make one foolish decision after another. This movie could have used some screenplay rewrites. One of the mistakes I believe is to have two characters in the film instead of one. In Duel you have one character being chased by a truck and you quickly identify with him. In this movie you never grow to care for either of the characters. You find their actions illogical and some of the plot devices (such as a GPS system that just happens to stop working when they get to the place where they are lost). Here is where I think you have the main issue. Duel was filmed back in the seventies and so without any technological aids like a cell phone to fall back on you are able to maintain plausibility. But for In Fear we are never given a plausible reason why their GPS or cell phones are not working. Finally, with Duel you had a great ending that foreshadowed how Spielberg would have his next film Jaws end. Here the ending is nothing worth staying around for.

All Is Lost
All Is Lost(2013)
½

To watch All Is Lost is to be drawn into the experience of the main character. We do not know his name. We do not know where he was travelling from or where he was going. It is a credit to the filmmaker who takes a pretty basic story and tells it in such a way as to make you full invested in caring about the main character. There are three movies you may try to relate this movie to: Cast Away, Life of Pi and most recently, Gravity. All of them have characters who are fighting to survive. But I would argue that Redford has a more challenging role than the characters in those other three films. In those other movies each of those characters have someone to interact with (even if it is only a volleyball for Hanks in Cast Away). For All Is Lost, the story does nothing like that and doesn't "cheat" in this way. Redford is alone. And the growing realization by him that he truly is 'lost' is what makes this film so riveting. So, does he survive? You'll have to see. A beautifully shot film that features Robert Redford at the top of his form as an actor!

Jesus of Nazareth
½

Well, I think I found my favorite Jesus movie. I still want to go back and watch some of the others but I had never seen Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth in full and I am so glad I finally did. This is really how you can powerfully communicate the life of Christ through this type of media. I've come to conclude that you need more than just a two hour movie to give anything that comes close to a dramatically rich, fleshed out picture of Jesus. Passion of the Christ is a wonderful meditation on the Stations of the Cross and I place that high on my list of one of the few movies that comes close to portraying Jesus well. What distinguishes Jesus of Nazareth is that you encounter Jesus from birth to the resurrection. It does not feel rushed or bloated. Robert Powell does a powerful job in his portrayal of Jesus. Everything rings true. Some scenes do have secondary characters that can tend to 'over act'. But this is a minor quibble. There are also many characters powerfully portrayed. Michael York as John the Baptist; excellent. James Farentino as Peter is a real revelation. I could go on but its best to just watch it. Different characters may resonate with you. I appreciate how the Jewish leadership is portrayed in a more balanced way (which I did not feel was done well in Gibson's Passion). In this version you can really see the the disagreement between the Jewish leaders over Jesus and how some came to believe he was the Messiah while others could not accept it. The oft-mentioned criticism of this version is the portrayal of Judas. He is portrayed very sympathetically; they create actually a fictional character named Zerah, played by Ian Holm who in a sense convinces Judas to turn Jesus over. Judas is played as a tragic figure who wanted Jesus to be a zealous revolutionary and thought if Jesus could "prove" himself to the Sannhedrin that they would accept him as the great and powerful messiah. I think its actually a fair way to portray him. And it is interesting that when Jesus 'calls' the disciples early in the story that Judas first encounter with Jesus is very different than how the other disciples interact with Him. So, check this movie out when you can. It's on netflix now so if you have that service that is where you can most easily see it.

The LEGO Movie

Even if you were not really into Lego's as a child, this movie will still be a real delight. It is full of great humor (I can't remember the last time going to the movies and laughing so much throughout), creative and beautiful animation, and a playful story! You'll have a blast!

On the Waterfront

This movie was recommmended to me by a friend and I got a chance today to see it. This is something very special. A powerful story, amazing acting, and one of the best portrayals of a Catholic priest in American cinema history. The speech by Father Barry (Karl Malden) is something everyone should take a moment to watch!

Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim(2013)
½

A lot of fun. With a lot of somber and serious approaches being taken in a lot of movies, it's nice to see someone take a more fun approach to a fantastical story.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I thought this was much improved over the first movie. This movie actually gave me the interest to go and read the books before the final movies come out.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
½

Some good improvements from the first film in pace and imagination. Only critique is that the story gets away from Bilbo too much and he is the title character. I can see that this would have been better told in two parts and not three.

Primer
Primer(2004)

Most of the time watching this film you will likely not understand what is happening. But I still will recommend you attempt to experience this movie. It is probably one of the more realistic presentations of what a discovery of time travel would look like. The story behind the creation of this film is pretty amazing. The director, producer, writer, and also one of the actors was a physicist before moving into film. The film draws you in with the strong performances and even though you don't understand what the characters are talking about most of the time, this actually gives the film a more grounded feel. You don't feel like you are watching a movie about time travel that has been watered down for an audience, but you feel like you are observing a discovery and how this discovery effects people who don't necessarily have the moral character to live with this discovery. Check it out! You may need to watch it a few times!

Thor: The Dark World
½

Funny and exciting! The movie starts off a little convoluted but once Thor and Loki join forces it becomes a real treat!

Gravity
Gravity(2013)

Wow! The moment you start watching this movie you know this is something special. One of those jaw dropping wonders that comes along every 20 years. It holds you from start to finish. The tag line for the movie is "Don't let go." It can also be said of this movie that it doesn't let go! Don't miss seeing this on Imax 3D. It is a wonder to behold!

The Conjuring

This is how you make a chilling, thrilling, and haunting movie. The movie keeps you on edge throughout with a few brief moments of warmth and comedy that let you catch your breath.

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3(2013)
½

I personally think this is the best Iron Man of the 3. The characters have never been better and the story approach is exciting and very funny. I enjoy where Tony Stark ends up in this movie and what he is fighting for.

Star Trek Into Darkness

This was more of a fun, summer action movie than a Star Trek movie. The movie was exciting and enjoyable. The humor once again was excellent and the actors do a great job in their roles. The story seemed a little too much of a retread of "The Wrath of Kahn" so I hope if this turns out to be a trilogy that the final film takes us in bold new directions that Star Trek has never gone before.

Man of Steel
Man of Steel(2013)

I overall enjoyed the new start to the Superman story. It was much better than the boring and bland Superman Returns. I like some of the story ideas they used. The action and effects were dazzling. I could have used more humor and character interaction between Superman and Pa Kent and Louis Lane. The final battle seemed to take Superman out of character in a couple ways that I hope they turn away from in the follow up to this movie.

Undefeated
Undefeated(2012)
½

Very high recommendation. A wonderful story!

42
42(2013)

What an excellent movie! This is one of my top baseball movies now! loved it!

Skyfall
Skyfall(2012)

A great return for 007! As good as Casino Royale! Bardem is the best villain of the Daniel Craig era. Beautifully shot and acted; and the opening song by Adele is mesmerizing! Worth seeing on the big screen!

Lincoln
Lincoln(2012)

This was such a terrific movie. Lewis was amazing as Lincoln. This movie will not be easy to watch for many today because it is mostly discussion and debate throughout. We have lost the ability to engage in these forms of discourse today. So do not go into the movie expecting a traditional movie you are used to. I highly recommend!

John Carter
John Carter(2012)
½

I was happy to have had the chance to watch this movie. It is based on a classic book over a hundred years old. I would encourage you to give this movie a fair look. It is unfortunate that not many people went to see this movie and that the reviewers were mixed on it. This story influenced so many of our current sci-fi and fantasy filmmakers. You can see so many concepts from this story that have been borrowed from other filmmakers. Andrew Stanton is a very talented director who has written and directed some of the most beloved Pixar movies. Disney truly did this movie a disservice. They did not advertise it very well; they chose only to focus on action scenes instead of the content of the story in their previews. They settled upon a bland title (they should of went with 'John Carter of Mars'). It was just very poorly advertised. Since this was fumbled by Disney we sadly now might not ever see some of the further adventures. We'll probably have to wait 20 years for some other studio to pick it up. I can only hope. So, please, please, give it a watch. Let's give it strong video sales!

There Be Dragons

I found the story of contrast between these two friends a powerful life lesson. One man chose a life of of war that reflected the war going on inside his heart while another man chose the way of Christ and the way of peace. The paths of their lives could not have been more different. Yet, the points and places they intertwine shows a powerful example of how one life can impact another. This was another of the few movies in which I don't agree with the RT consensus reviews (although I usually do.) Rent this if you have a chance.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

There is one reason to see this movie. The performance of Thomas Horn as Oskar who reveals how often children handle the loss of their Father. This movie is better than the review rating at RT (and I usually am in agreement with the consensus). I remember as a child losing a dear friend of mine named Matthew and I can identify with Oskar as I tried to sort through my questions and my grief about death and life. Thankfully, the mercy of grace of God's promises entered my life and I was taught a life changing lesson; that Christ's love enters the deepest experiences of our grief through his giving His own life on the cross. The young boy Oskar in this story never comes to this hope and it results in him trying to bring remedy to an experience greater than his mind, heart, and emotions can handle. There are Christ figures throughout this story that enter his life though, can you notice them?

Men in Black III

Brolin plays a young Tommy Lee Jones to a 'T', or should I say a 'K' for Agent K. Anyway, this is a strong improvement from the second film which was a terrible rehash of the first movie while missing the humor and excitement of the first. This movie goes in a different direction and restores the humor. I also want to give a shout out to the terrific creature effects thaat Stan Lee brought to the film. This one you can see on a traditional screen; no need wasting your money for 3D or IMAX for this one!

Marvel's The Avengers

this was one of the best super hero movies ever. it was full of great humor, exciting and epic moments and a great selection of actors for the roles. The only thing that could improve is to provide a deeper back story for the characters with a stronger dramatic story. They could have gone deeper with the conflict between Thor and Loki. Loki as a villian, while well acted, lacked the intimidation factor that has been present in the dark knight series. very fun show. and it is definitely worth seeing in Imax.

Moneyball
Moneyball(2011)

There are not many good baseball movies that have come along in the last decade or so. I went and saw this with a couple friends last night and can say that this was one of the best baseball movies ever. The key is "How" it focuses on the game. It reveals just how much of a romantic sport it really is and why people have a deep and traditional love for the game. Pitt's performance is strong and the supporting cast is endearing! I highly recommend this for anyone who loves the game. It is also a fascinating story whether you like sports or not.

The Help
The Help(2011)
½

Some of the most dynamic and refreshing performances that you will see in a film all year. This movie really is a engaging experience. It is deeply moving and also very funny. The advertising suggests that it is geared toward females. But while the focus in on female characters, the message, the humor and the characters were very engaging as a male.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

This was such a fun, entertaining and exciting movie. I had little doubt. Brad Bird chose this as his first non-animated directed movie. He was known for his wonderful directing of Pixar hits such as "The Incredibles", "The Iron Giant". He brings his wit, playfulness, and excitement into a series that has gotten better with each new installment. This was my first movie I saw on IMAX since "How to Train Your Dragon." I have to say, if you can spend the extra 5 dollars to see this movie in this format, it is well worth it! Bird uses the IMAX experience to it's most satisfying effect. The only reason I took off a star from my review: the annoying and blatant placement of Apple products throughout the movie. Iphones, Macbooks, and what tipped it too far was the use of an ipad during a critical moment in the movie. I thought, "Come on, the MI team has all these advanced devices and they pull out an IPAD?!?!? It just came across as forced and cheesy. And then it bothered me more knowing that Bird worked at Pixar and that Pixar was overseen/owned by Apple's Steve Jobs before his death.

The Way
The Way(2011)
½

I just saw this movie last night with a few friends and I have to say it is now one of my top five movies. What an amazing story!

The Ten Commandments

Just saw the restored version of this movie on blu-ray a few weeks ago. Wonderful grand portrayal of the salvation of the Jewish people by God through his servant Moses. Performances are very good. Visually stunning. I held back a star for how many aspects of the exodus account were cut out. (the portrayal of God's presence lacked the 'awe' factor that many other movies have captured better.) Also, parts of the story passed over where the people continued to resist Moses and God and the consequences of that are left out. I think this impacts the emotional impact that the movie has because the portrayal of the people are too simplistically characterized and one-dimensional. Cheston as Moses does well. And Brynner gives a powerful portrayal as pharaoh. I just think there were some missed opportunities. Overall, though, a beautifully conceived portrayal!

Ben-Hur
Ben-Hur(1959)

I give this movie the highest star rating. I just watched it on Blu-Ray for the first time. The movie has been amazingly restored. I had not seen this movie for over twelve years and I was blown away by it. This is such a powerful story painted on such a big film canvas. With all the epic films of this era, I would suggest that this is one of the most powerful films about Christ ever made. You might be surprised I say that. But it is how Jesus is portrayed in this movie that grabs you to the core. (you never see his face, but you see all these people impacted by his presence.) Jesus present in the Eucharist comes to mind when I think about this. This movie was very moving and had me in tears toward the end.

Everything Must Go

Andrew Lincoln and I watched this movie tonight. The good of the movie is this: A good, authentic performance by both Ferrell and the young teen Wallace. Also, one of the messages strongly made in the movie is that money and things don't lead to happiness. Jesus' warning that "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his soul?" resounds during much of the movie. The movie fails for me though in what it fails to provide Ferrell's character---true hope. He is an alcoholic who has tried and failed at the 12 steps. But, Jesus who promises to be the satisfying Living Water in which we will never again thirst is not included as the possible foundation for recovery and hope. What also put me off in my final conclusion on this movie is its lack of any moral conviction or development. Ferrell's character gives a stash of pornographic material to one of his neighbors at the end of the movie and this is portrayed as a good act. And his AA sponsor steals his wife from him and encourages her to divorce Ferrell's character. All these things go against the way of Christ and the movie fails to portray the real consequences that result form these acts of fornication and adultery and where freedom from these truly come: A life turned to the gospel of Christ's grace, truth and love and becoming a new person in community being formed by Christ, His Catholic Church!

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Absolutely, positively one of the funniest movies I've seen in a really long time. It is visually stunning and the humor is so witty! 'Mr. Fox' came out the same year as Pixar's 'Up' and while Pixar's movie got all the headlines and the box office money, I say that 'Fox' is a much more enjoyable film. This is coming from a pixar fan who has loved many of their movies. But while 'Up' starts sweet, it tends to meander and divert to a conventional story. 'Fox' crackles and sizzles with so much life and humor. It never lets up! It should have won for best animated picture that year. Sadly, not many people saw it, as it only made about $21 million at the box office (compared to the over $200 million that 'Up' made) I know I'm a couple years behind as this came out back in 2009, but I am glad I finally rented it! It only cost a dollar to rent, but now I think I may find one for purchase! There is so much awesome humor in this movie!

Of Gods and Men

This film experience will not let you walk away from it without being changed. It is the best movie I have seen in eight or nine years. I was brought to tears on a few occasions. I am so dearly thankful that I could see this. It has enriched my appreciation for becoming Catholic and the deeper relationship that Christ has been calling me to because of it. If anyone wants to watch this and doesn't want to watch it alone, I'd be happy to watch it with you. It's a movie you'd want to share and reflect about with a friend. I'm willing to be that friend. Praise Christ for letting his disciples be beacons to our lives as we seek day by day to follow after Him!

It's a Wonderful Life

Probably only the best movie ever! I don't need to write any more than this. Just terrific!

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

Well done! Really. This is a very engaging action movie with a strong performance by Gyllenhaal and a little sci-fi thrown in. Director Duncan Jones creates a great movie that I now want to see again! His first movie, MOON, was also really good!

Rango
Rango(2011)

Wow. wow. WOW!!! What a completely enjoyable filma, fun, funny, and beautifully animated! And the music rocks! This gives Pixar a real challenge in the computer animated movie department! Loved it! A real surprise of a movie!

Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy(2010)

The movie is very immersive with strong music and in the visualizing of the digital world. But the story is a bit thin. There's word that this film was a reintroduction to the world and that they have future stories they want to tell. Hope they find some help in writing the next ones!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
½

While many do not like the pacing of this entry, I did enjoy the uncertainty faced by the characters in this movie as well as the ominous atmosphere created as we prepare to see these characters face their greatest test.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

This is one of the best entries in the series. Second only to Azkaban. The character development is great and there is a lot of humor in this movie.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
½

Under Director Yates, the characters truly become the most developed. While the story doesn't progress much in this installment, key story points are developed and we begin to see the world of magic begin to effect the real world. Oh, and Umbridge is often an even worse villain than Voldemort, one of the real compelling parts of the movie!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The first film can be commended for creating and filling the world of Harry Potter. It captures the wonder of children experiencing a world won fantasy and magic. On the downside, director Columbus cannot tell a story very well. The movie lacks good flow and struggles bringing emotional resonance.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
½

By far the series weakest entry. Director Chris Columbus loads the movie with story details, but does not know how to tell a compelling story. It was not till the third movie, under Director Curon's style did Harry Potter begin to soar as a movie series.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This stands as the best directed and visually magical entry in the whole series. Performances by each of the main actors improve significantly and the story moves from start to finish! Excellent from start to finish!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
½

While this fourth entry in the series is weaker in story and lacks the pure enjoyment of the third film, the characters are further developed and become even more interesting. The themes addressed in this film bring the young actors into the adult world.

Into Great Silence

This is not really a movie you see. It is giving time for God to take a transparent look at you. It is also a gift, as it lets you examine what is truly important in life. These monks live there lives in the presence of God and say very little. When in wonder, there is little to say. Their lives testify to the world of the coming day when the world will fall silent in the presence of Christ. Some may call this a silent film. It is certainly not. God has a lot to say during it.

The Tree of Life
½

This was not really a movie. This was a deeply rewarding experience in which you are drawn into the captivating silence and wonder of how God meets us in our suffering. Job is smiling from heaven at this wonder. This is not something made for American sensibilities; it's not a linear storyline, it's not loud, grotesque or obnoxious. It shows you the places in life where we can meet God and listen to Him.

Sunshine
Sunshine(2007)
½

For amazing conceptual realization of a realistic space odyssey, for presenting a story with real moral quandaries and genuine suspense, I give this high marks. It only falters by introducing one plot element that could have been done in a better way which I will not divulge.

X-Men: First Class

Excellent return to what made the series great! Characters and a fun story! I'd say this is equal if not better than X2!

Super 8
Super 8(2011)

What an awesome throwback that brings today's audience into the classic movie world of ET, Close Encounters, and Jurassic Park! Great fun and often times very funny! Stay for the credits as you will be treated to a special coda!