250 Movies I Have Yet to Review

Read the rest of this entry

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp-Fiction

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A filmmaking goldmine.

Not too long ago, I posted a list of 250 movies I haven’t reviewed that I would someday like to. Movies with titles everyone would recognize, and one of those was Pulp Fiction. This was one of the films in the list that I haven’t actually seen. There’s a few reasons why, as well. I’ve actually been avoiding it for the same reason I’ve been avoiding reviewing Star Wars. Pulp Fiction is a highly popular and iconic film, and I’m not sure if I have the ability to give it justice in a review because I’m partial to newer movies, as well as films that make more sense for the general public. I couldn’t just not watch this movie though, I had to see what the big deal was, and why everyone just ate this film up. So here goes nothing.

I wish I could just sit here and tell you what the movie is about, but I don’t think it really works like that. I don’t think it’s really about anything. The beginning even states and defines that pulp as a soft, moist, and shapeless mass off matter. That’s what this movie is. It’s shapeless, it’s out of sequence, and the story isn’t as important or strong as any other movie you’ll watch. I don’t think anyone watches this film for the story, but rather the people, the dialogue, and how it is all stitched together. If I could give you an idea on the plot – I’d say a godfather type gangster sends people on missions for him and kills people that go against his orders and a bunch of other crap goes down.

I went in watching it trying to understand and follow the story and I was having a pretty rough time. Because it was out of order, there’s just no way to follow what’s going on, it just seems random. If you follow my reviews, it’s never good when you run into random. Sometimes it is though, so I held on. People do love this movie, so that has to be for a reason. Okay, so the next thing you’ll realize is there is a lot of dialogue in this movie. It is dialogue-heavy like nothing else. It might even remind you of a theatre production there is so much talking. Normally, I’m also not a huge fan of that, but the way these conversations are written…it’s just brilliant. They transform these random characters following a random story into very unique and loveable characters.

There is no main character, which is again an element I usually hate within movies, but somehow Quentin Tarantino did it again and made me invested in everything that was actually happening throughout. In short – the movie is cut into three main structured acts that very much differ from each other, but are also connected in other ways. Each one has very subtle but strong themes that pretty much define the human species to a T.

The Good:

Alright, so this is a bit complicated, and I’ll try to be as clear as possible. Pulp Fiction is filled to the brim with filmmaking techniques that I absolutely hate. Things like an unclear plot, no main character, too much talking, jumbled up plot points, a very clear and pointless McGuffin, and a ton of others – but….they were done somehow brilliantly…in a way that I could actually love. This is a cult hit because there is literally nothing like it out there today. It is bold, but for the most part…everything people say about it is absolutely true.

The Bad:

Even though Tarantino did his job well by taking things I hate and turning them into things I love…it was still filled with things I hate to see in film. I can’t forgive that. I still think it’s a wonderful and unique film that is filmmaking gold, though. Filmmakers, watch this film, just look at how they did the camerawork, the sound editing, how they wrote it, how they stitched it together. It’s amazing. Now…the general public doesn’t have the eyes of a filmmaker and can’t appreciate the same things. When they watch a movie, they simply want to do just that. Watch a movie with a beginning, middle, and end with a solid plot. This is a complicated film which I don’t think everyone can appreciate because of those things I mentioned before about what I hate in film. I could get over them because of my history in filmmaking. Not everyone can.

Memorable Quote:

(practically everything said in the movie)

Hercules (1997)

Hercules

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Classic Disney Animation.

My dear readers, I have been away for a while catching up on TV that I feel like I’ve neglected you. Fear not, for this is not true. You see, I’ve had a bit of watcher’s block. Just…didn’t know what to watch really. Typically, the beginning of the year is the slow season, so I didn’t place much importance in movie-watching. I am back, though, with Hercules, a Disney movie that I remember specifically loving as a kid, but is a mostly ignored and almost forgotten movie in the world of Disney. I thought maybe watching again would give me a hint as to why this is, but alas…I still loved it. Maybe even more so, being able to catch little shout outs to ‘90s pop-culture references. But it is definitely a worthwhile Disney flick if you haven’t ever seen it.

The story of Hercules, according to Disney, is unsurprisingly a pretty simple one. Basically, Hercules is born a God, but the evil ruler of the underworld, Hades, plots to kill the child by first making him mortal. With Hercules dead, Hades can release the Titans in 18 years when the planets align, ultimately taking over Mount Olympus. However, Hercules doesn’t die. He turns mortal, all except for his godlike strength. Risen by two loving adoptive parents, he just didn’t belong because they couldn’t teach him how to control his strength. He just had to go on his own, and find his own path – which ultimately lead to his life of heroics.

The great thing about Disney is it can have a remarkably sturdy plot, a clear-as-day protagonist and antagonist, have them both have clear goals, as well as give the movie some of the most memorable musical scores out of anything else. A film usually draws its strength from one or the other. Either you have a fantastic plot and crap music, or you have brilliant music and a really tame plot. Here, you have the whole package. I haven’t seen this film in years, but I still remember most of the lyrics to the songs, and most of the plot itself. I am not entirely sure how this fell off the radar of so many Disney fans. It’s a downright classic, through and through.

The characters are phenomenal, as are the voice acting that sets everyone apart. Not only that, but the voice actors all have a very different sounds to their voices that you can close your eyes and you’ll know without a doubt who’s talking. That’s important for a cartoon. Meg specifically was an interesting case. She’s not your typical Disney princess. Not by far, she was Satan’s slave, give or take, after selling her soul. Her character is dark, it’s sarcastic, it’s not very feminine, but it fits. It’s…very human and I’m sure a lot of young girls connected with her personality, and I think that’s perfect. When it comes to Hercules, he is one of the most heroic Disney characters to ever grace the silver screen, not to mention there are a lot of allegories to the Christian religion as far as son of God, Sampson, and resurrection goes. Hey, it was just Easter.

This is kind of a dark movie for really young kids, with the whole devil as a main character deal. He’s a funny character on his own, but when the movie gets dark and all that talk of death, could keep a kid up at night. Maybe not so much with nightmares as with thinking about those scenes. It could happen, but I don’t think a story about Greek heroes and monsters could be told any other way.

The Good:

Hercules is clearly an instant classic in the world of Disney animation. It literally has everything you could ever want in a Disney film – a strong story with a clear protagonist and antaginst, both who have goals, all centered around really memorable and toe-tapping musical goodness.

The Bad:

I say this lightly because it’s based on my initial reactions. When I was a kid, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Muses, which always interrupted the movie to kind of narrate long-sequences of story that would otherwise make the movie super lengthy. I do like a couple of their songs, like Gospel Truth, and Zero to Hero, but maybe not all of their interruptions were necessary. Like I said as well, it’s not the best movie for some really young kids, as it has some dark themes that might keep them up at night.

Memorable Quote:

Hades: Uh, guys? Olympus would be that way.

Liebster Award

Untitled-1

It’s your favorite time again! That is, if your favorite time means the Liebster Award Season, that is. Yes, my pal Natalie from Writer Loves Movies gave me a nomination this time around, so many thanks to Natalie, and definitely check out her very awesome site as I delve deeper into the meaning of the Liebster Award. It’s a blogger award given to bloggers by bloggers, and of course, it is epic.  But what are awards without a few simple rules?

  1. The bloggers who have been nominated must link back to the person who nominated them.
  2. Nominees must answer the eleven questions given to them by the person who nominated them.
  3. Those nominated must choose eleven of their favorite bloggers who have less than 200 followers to answer their own set of questions When you are nominated, you cannot nominate the person who nominated you.

Without further ado – my questions to the questions:

1. Name the last film you watched

  • I’ve been slowing down on my movie watching because I’ve been so busy working on my TV Podcast and I’ve picked up the bad habit of reading. I’m just kidding, but a Nook can be a very dangerous addictive device. The last movie I watched was actually X-Men: First Class in preparation for the upcoming blockbuster hit Days of Future Past.

2. Name the director whose movies you most admire?

  • Correction, director(s). Jonathon Dayton & Valerie Faris. This directing duo are responsible for movies like Ruby Sparks and Little Miss Sunshine. Two movies, which by the way, are really good. Before that, they did some work in music videos and such, but it only took them two movies for me to fall in love with them and look forward to their next ventures as a team.

3. We all have a movie that’s our guilty pleasure. What’s yours?

  • You’d like me to tell you, wouldn’t you? Just kidding, um, probably Good Burger. I wasn’t so guilty for watching it when I was a kid and watched it every few weeks, but now I’m 26, and still think the movie is hilarious and never say no to the Good Burger gods.

4. If you could play any movie character in a remake, who would it be?

  • Ha, I think I would play an awesome Thomas Anderson a.k.a. Neo in a reboot/remake of The Matrix. Or at least I’d like to think I’d be awesome at it (I used to make Matrix fan films as a Neo-like character).

5. Name your favourite black and white movie

  • I’m notorious for steering clear of older movies, but I’ll be fair and say there are a few that I think are brilliant and that no one should ever redo them, because when they have tried, it has been horrendous. 1 is 12 Angry Men, which is my personal favorite. The other is The Great Dictator. 

6. What book would you most like to see made into a film?

  • That’s a really hard question, because most books I would have liked to become a movie already have. However, I did read the rest of the Divergent series, and I do await the next two films eagerly. Other than that, maybe The Cuckoos Calling by J.K. Rowling

7. Best cinema snack?

  • Skittles from the convenience store across the street, and a can of pop from your house that you take out of your pocket – but don’t tell nobody I told you that.

8. Which job in the movie industry do you most fantasize about doing?

  • Honestly? Since I was young, I’ve fantasized about virtually every single position. Actor was the most obvious, but then I thought directing would be amazing. But when it comes down to it, I’m a writer, so the most realistic and most satisfying answer I could give, is screenwriter.

9. Which film writer or blogger do you find most inspirational?

  • That’s a really tough question because for the most part I try my hardest to ignore who wrote a movie. I try my hardest to go in blind and then look up information afterwards. Idk…Walt Disney? The person in charge of Disney now? I don’t know. Hard question.

10. If you could only take films from one genre on a desert island with you, which genre would it be?

  • Haha, this is the most bizarre question. Comedy. Look, a deserted island can be fun, but it can also be lonely and sad, and scary. The only thing to lighten your mood might be a comedy, so that one seems obvious to me.

11. And finally, what upcoming movie are you most anticipating?

  • Hands down, X-Men: Days of Future Past. It just looks so epic and unique….I mean come on.

 

Now onto choosing 11 victors to take over, and the nominees are (by the way, I’m slightly bending the rules on how many followers a site has):

  1. Daniel’s Film Reviews
  2. Andy Watches Movies
  3. Digital Shortbread
  4. Tranquil Dreams
  5. Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews
  6. Screenkicker
  7. cineramaetcetera
  8. Simon Says…Watch This!
  9. Liam Does Film
  10. Films and Coke
  11. Cinematic

And the questions I have for you are as follows:

  1. What was the first movie you ever remember seeing? (This means, not the movie your mom told you that you saw when you were 2 years old, or god forbid, while in her tummy):
  2. In your opinion, what is the best movie ever made based on a video game?
  3. What is a generally hated movie that you openly love?
  4. What is a generally loved movie that you openly hate?
  5. What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
  6. What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen…and why?
  7. Are there any TV shows you watch that you’d like to be seen made into a movie?
  8. What was the craziest experience you’ve ever had in a theater?
  9. What has been the best performance by a male playing a female or vice versa?
  10. How excited are you to watch Planes 2?
  11. If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and what would be the origin story. Because “and why?” is too mainstream.

And that’s…..it. Wow. Thanks for reading, ya’ll!

Runaway Jury (2003)

Runaway-Jury

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
My personal favorite.

As far as John Grisham movies and stories go, I think his first novel/movie, A Time to Kill is probably a solid example of who Grisham as a storyteller is. I think all around, it’s a wonderful story, and technically the best story of them all. On a personal level, it’s not quite my favorite story of his. For me, that’s without a doubt Runaway Jury. It’s Grisham’s newest feature film, so it uses modern technology as a benefit to the story, and it really works. The story is very, very well done. Oh…you’ll see. Check it out.

It’s the biggest case of the year. A public shooting in a business office that kills several people has made big news, and one of the victim’s wives has sued a gun company. A gun company. From a defense perspective, no one ever wins guns cases…but along comes Nick Easter, which changes everything. This seemingly normal guy is put into the jury pool, ending up as juror number nine. Once he’s inside, he begins doing these little things to control what the jury does, like randomly cite the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the courtroom. The idea is that he will sell a verdict to the highest bidder. The bidders being both the prosecution and defense.

If the story itself isn’t original, I don’t know what is. It’s original, and so unique that it’s hard not to check out. It’s like a very different and very cool version of 12 Angry Men. This movie focuses not so much on legal issues as it does ethics. Grisham often focuses on ethics in his stories, but this is probably the strongest movie based on ethics alone. It takes place in a court room, yes, but it shows just how much the heart rules the mind, which is ultimately how Nick Easter is able to persuade these people to do his bidding. It’s actually pretty funny sometimes, but other times it’s serious and really intelligent writing.

I’ve always been impressed with the casting of any John Grisham movie as well. Almost every time, his cast is made up with a lot of recognizable faces, like John Cusack, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, and of course the legendary Gene Hackman in his second to last movie. The man hasn’t acted in over a decade, and that’s a shame. Anyhow, Hackman is clearly a Grisham fan, acting in not one, not two, but three of his movie adaptations. Honestly, he’s a perfect choice as a universal Grisham character. I’ve actually read other books of Grisham’s where Hackman’s unforgettable face and voice show up in my mind. He’s perfect, and this is probably my favorite performance of his in Grisham projects.

What I like about this movie is that you can watch it for a number of reasons. You can watch it for the mystery, the suspense, the characters, the case itself…anything. Even after you’ve seen it and know the answer to the mystery, you still want to go back and watch it again because regardless of the mystery the movie is just so good. The story is so good and it never gets old because again, it’s original. You don’t get a lot of movies about juries, and the ones you do get aren’t like this. Also, other movies taking place in court include jury consultants, but most people don’t even know that’s what they are. They probably think, oh they’re more lawyers or something. This movie is a good example of what a jury consultant is. Yeah it goes a little overboard with Gene Hackman’s anti-Sherlock Holmes-like character and uber-technology room, but that’s just for entertainment purposes. It’s still a super fun movie.

The Good:

This is one of the most fun John Grisham movies to date. It’s serious, of course, but the way it plays out is fast-paced like an action film, but smartly-written like a good mystery. You’ll love it.

The Bad:

Not much to report here.

Memorable Quote:

Rankin Fitch: Everybody has a secret they don’t want you to find.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain-American-2

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Confusing… at first.

It’s time for Marvel’s triumphant return to the silver screen. I’ll be honest, when it came to the franchise, Captain America isn’t really my favorite hero. He’s cool and all, but he simply works better with a team and in my opinion, in modern day. So the first film didn’t really amazingly impress me as much as I wanted it to. It was still a good movie, though. Then The Avengers happened, and he was a little cartoonier than in the first movie, but his character fit better among the other heroes. Now we’re finally onto Captain America: The Winter Soldier. By the way, if you aren’t watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then do that, catch up on it, then watch this film. Definitely worth the time.

This sequel follows Mr. Steve Rogers in present day as he’s taking his time to get used to his environment, and that deals with past regrets and probably a truck-load of what ifs. He works for S.H.I.E.L.D., but at the same time he doesn’t really trust anyone, because of his patriotic nature. The way we deal with fear being irrational rather than logical, creating more destruction when real intervention and building a new world could happen instead. As it turns out though, S.H.I.E.L.D. is in a lot of trouble, because it looks like HYDRA is somehow back with a huge endgame in place. It’s up to Captain America, Black Widow, Maria Hill, and Nick Fury to put an end to the madness.

It’s hard not to talk more in-depth about the plot, because it’s pretty complex. It took me a good while to understand what was really happening in the movie, and even when I thought I had it figured out, a big fat “why” was still stuck in my head. I’ll be honest, I didn’t fully understand why or how all of this was happening, but I understood enough to at least follow the story as much as needed. Any doubt as to how good the actual written story is or isn’t is washed away with enough “holy crap” action, explosions, and mayhem. It’s a pretty solid movie, but I’ll try to elaborate.

Captain America. His title is Captain, and he basically never acted as one in the first movie, he did a bit in The Avengers, but his role alone shines pretty heavily in this film. He finally feels like a Captain, and his team is a pretty solid one as well. Instead of filling the screen with a bunch of superheroes that need equal focus and story, you have Captain America and Nick Fury, who seemingly both have a good commanding role. Also, it’s pretty interesting how much this film feels like a standalone sequel to not The Avengers, but Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s nice to know that they can work on their own if you’re a fan of the Cap. Same goes for the Iron Man and Thor movies.

The action is intense. Steve Rogers has really gotten the hang of being a super human. I’ll try not to spoil too much, but he has the ability to single-handedly take out a lot of people at once…without help. It’s pretty impressive, but Nick Fury, Black Widow, and some other equally important characters also have really good roles, and this film also feels natural to the world of the Avengers. This is the Marvel movie with the most S.H.I.E.L.D. influence, and you know what? It works.

There is a connection to the Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, and it’s really important if you are a fan of that show to watch this movie before you continue watching the show.  Seriously. You’ll be spoiled if you skip the movie.

The Good:

This is a pretty solid action flick. As far as Captain America goes, this was probably his best performance in the role, because this story fit the character best. Seriously though…watch it, it’s just a lot of fun.

The Bad:

If you’re like me, it might take you a while to read into what’s actually happening. You’ll figure out the what, but the why might be fuzzy. Just try to really hone in a pay attention.

Memorable Quote:

Nick Fury: You need to keep BOTH eyes open.

The Pelican Brief (1993)

Pelican-Brief

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
True legal thriller.

A lot of people piece courtroom thrillers with John Grisham, and while that is a fair comparison, all of his books don’t take place in the courtroom. After all, he had a Christmas-centered comedy book turned movie, and he’s had a number of sports-related books as well. The Pelican Brief, however, isn’t a courtroom thriller, but it is the very definition of legal thriller. Who says you have to go to court for it to be a legal thriller? It just needs to cover legal grounds, and that’s exactly what The Pelican Brief does.

Basically, this film centers on a conspiracy. When two Supreme Court Justices are murdered, a law student by the name of Darby Shaw writes up a theory called The Pelican Brief that turns out to actually expose the real killers, even though it’s a wild conspiracy. So all of a sudden, everyone that gets close to her or knows about the brief gets killed and she’s next. She has to talk to Gray Grantham, a smart reporter, who will help her uncover the rest of the truth while keeping her from harms path at the same time.

Man oh man, what a movie. It’s a little lengthy (2 ½ hours), but it’s still an exciting adventure nonetheless. The actual brief is hard to understand, and if you wrack your brain around what the brief actually says, you’re better off just reading the book because the movie is definitely not the best place to answer that question. Instead, it was more about the idea of a conspiracy in general, and escaping the impossible. Man vs. nature where nature is telling you that you, sir or madame, are screwed. That’s what this movie is about, and that ultimately, is one of its major flaws.

We have so many conspiracy movies out there that this actually falls into the pool of the rest. If you aren’t a fan of John Grisham, you may actually find this film… forgettable, no matter how good or bad it is. However, I think it is actually a great movie, and follows the book pretty closely. Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington make this movie what it is, and you should at least watch this movie if it’s only just for them. Give it a chance. I’d like to point out that Julia Roberts character is simply a law student, not a lawyer, making her a rookie in this whole story…which is another unique trait that John Grisham likes to supply for his stories, making it deserving enough to watch.

I can see its faults though. Whenever you have a movie going over two hours, you end up with a good portion of the audience annoyed. Not a lot of people feel up to watching long movies, especially when it doesn’t make sense to be so long. Peter Jackson is obvious, his movies are going to be long, but a random legal thriller? Really? And I agree, The Pelican Brief had plenty of moments that could have been cut a little shorter. I think maybe it was trying a little hard to be like the book, and that hurt it a little, but I personally really like it and consider it a true legal thriller worthy of the Grisham name.

The Good:

This is a true legal thriller legal of the Grisham name. It has a lot of action, a lot of great acting, some really great shots, and a compelling conspiracy story that’s sure to have you on the edge of your seat. Also, for a movie over 20 years old, it still translates very well for a current audience.

The Bad:

It’s long, standing at two and a half hours. There are plenty of spots where it could have been cut shorter, the length alone could turn people away.

The Chamber (1996)

Chamber

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Kinda boring, Grisham.

As I recently stated, I’ve been going through the John Grisham movies list. I’ve actually seen most of these movies, but I can’t say I remember all of them. The three I’ve reviewed are A Time to Kill, The Client, and Christmas with the Kranks. And I just finished watching The Chamber. A few facts about this story: I do own the book, and I have read part of it…I am pretty sure I never finished the book though. I have also seen the movie, but it was so long ago that I really didn’t remember the story. So, I decided to get that out of the way and check it out once more.

The story is a somewhat interesting one, introducing us to death row inmate Sam Cayhall, who was put in prison several years ago for blowing up a building with two young children inside. The thing is, his grandson decides to represent him when no one else will. There’s some question as to if he actually did the crime he was accused of, but at the same time, it’s well known that the old man is a hardcore racist…so he’s not a pleasant man. So it raises the question that…does a crime define character if the character is already known to be evil? Basically, okay he might not have done it…but he is still a monster, and ethics say he deserves that gas chamber. So his grandson basically has a long fight ahead of him, as this is his first capital punishment case.

As I’ve said before, people often think of Grisham as the “legal thriller” writer, but not much else. I feel like I know him well enough to define his style, which is more complex than that. He loves to write stories that are compelling because they are different and have a lot of ethical questioning strewn throughout. Gene Hackman is amazing as the racist old man, but the very fact that this isn’t the release the innocent prisoner from prison…it’s suddenly a whole new ballpark isn’t it? The man is guilty, but does he deserve this fate? It is honestly a great story, I just don’t think it had the best presentation of that story.

I feel like the characters have a solid foundation, and in a different light, they could be amazing, lovable characters. But I couldn’t help but think…I don’t care about them. Either Gene Hackman dies or he doesn’t…but neither will actually affect me. It turned more melodramatic than thriller, and it just wasn’t the best movie in the world. Suddenly, I know why I stopped reading the book and why I couldn’t really remember the movie. It’s just not memorable. Plain and simple. Chris O’Donnell…ehhh he’s not the best actor in the world. He did his best, but his best just wasn’t good enough.

I’m actually disappointed because I feel like I can sense the heart of this story as if it deserves better, and I think it does. Not because it’s John Grisham, but because Grisham tells captivating stories that have a lot of heart. This wasn’t my favorite book, obviously, but I don’t think I’ve ever really run into a book of his I’ve actually hated. This movie could have clearly been better. It just…wasn’t. I’ll just leave it at that, because I don’t know what else to say.

The Good:

Somewhere deep down, The Chamber shows that all-too-familiar heart and soul John Grisham is often seen accompanied with. It has an interesting case.

The Bad:

However interesting the case is, it’s not captivating. You don’t really care how it ends, even though the whole film was about the ending. That’s not good.

Memorable Quote:

Sam Cayhall: If you spend half as much time trying to be a lawyer instead of trying to be Dick Tracy, I might not be dead in five days.

 

The Client (1994)

The-Client

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A Grisham Favorite.

I’ve mentioned before that John Grisham was one of my favorite authors, and that I own most of his books. I haven’t exactly read all of them, but they are all pretty unique. One of the books that I have read was The Client. I’ll be honest, this was one of my first Grisham reads, and I really loved the book. I can’t recall if I saw the movie before I read the book, I just know that both are exceptionally well done because the story is really good in general. I decided that I’ll be going through Grisham’s movie collection. I’ve already reviewed a couple: A Time to Kill, Christmas with the Kranks, which leaves seven more:

  1. Chamber, The
  2. Client, The
  3. Firm, The
  4. Gingerbread Man, The
  5. Pelican Brief, The
  6. Rainmaker, The
  7. Runaway Jury

So I’ll start with The Client, obviously. The client in question is Mark Sway, a child who witnesses a suicide. This suicide is special, because the victim told Mark the location where the mob recently buried a body. That means if Mark says anything, he’s a dead man, if he doesn’t, he’s prosecuted and thrown into jail by some tough federal lawyers, one of which, is the Rev (Tommy Lee Jones). Basically, this kid has to find a way to live and not put his life in jeopardy, that’s where mother-figure/attorney Reggie Love (Susan Sarandon) comes into the picture, and she sure puts a spin on things.

John Grisham was always a god at making something previously thought of as tedious and boring into something wildly exciting and unique. A legal thriller. Surely he didn’t come up with them, but he definitely made the genre popular. When anyone thinks of legal thriller, they also think…John Grisham, and The Client is a pretty solid example as to why. I won’t go into details about the book because I haven’t read it in a good while, but the movie is definitely very well done as well. For a twenty year old movie, it still translates very well for a modern audience. There are a few goofy things here and there that feel like classic ‘90s, like some of the overacting, maybe some of the music, but for the most part…this film would work if it came out today as well.

It’s unique in the sense of a legal thriller told through the perspective of a child’s eyes. The very idea that adults are the enemy, and how things they do greatly affect children are both major themes in this film. Actually, a lot of kid-centric ideas are tossed around, like how the justice system thinks they can do anything around a kid, like obtaining evidence illegally. Then, of course, Susan Sarandon shows up and kicks things into gear. As with a lot of Grisham stories, it strives away from technicalities in order to maintain true justice, but it’s done respectively.

This is an exciting adventure thriller about family and loyalty. The actors did a great job portraying their characters, and introducing events that you can be fascinated with. If I had to say one bad thing about it, would be that some people might not understand why everything wasn’t working together on the case. Why did it have to be adversarial when they all technically wanted the same thing, for the boy to give up the information? Just keep in mind that he would give it all up if he knew that doing so wouldn’t be putting his family at risk. This kid isn’t stupid.

The Good:

This is definitely worth putting on the list of great Grisham stories, as is most of his films. The story is unique and original, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The Bad:

Not a lot of people care about legal films, even if it is a thriller. Those same people typically don’t care for John Grisham novels, and their right, this movie wouldn’t do them any good.

 

Ride Along (2014)

Ride-Along

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Meh…no thanks.

Buddy cop movies…I don’t fully understand their appeal, but I could be in the minority there. Sure, there are some that I actually like (21 Jump Street), but most of them are usually not all that special…maybe okay, but thinking a buddy cop flick is really good is more of a rarity in my life. I was worried when I watched Ride Along because I didn’t even know it existed until Ice Cube showed up on The Tonight Show to promote it. Well, I mean I do sort of like Ice Cube, and Kevin Hart has his moments…so why not? Well to make a long story short…meh.

Ride Along is about these two guys, James Payton (Ice Cube) and Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) who are into law enforcement. James, of course, is the cool cop with his slick black car, black suit, and sunglasses. Ben is more the rookie type that has no idea what he’s even doing, but has a good heart. When Ben gets accepted into the police academy, he decided he wanted to propose to his girlfriend, and ask James (her brother) for his blessing. James decides to prove his worth, Ben must be taken on a ride along. He’ll throw a bunch of annoying cases on Ben’s lap and force him to quit. All of that changes, however, when the crime lord in the city shows his face and two heads are better than one.

I don’t know, you guys. I kept watching, I understood everything, I knew the messages it was trying to get across, and I could tell when all of the jokes were told, but I just didn’t click with anything. Some of the jokes were okay, but the rest were really mediocre, the heartfelt moments weren’t touching, and you just can’t find yourself caring about the characters. Even when it comes down to the two most important characters, you just can’t help but think that you don’t care…because you don’t. Look, I hate to say it, but there’s nothing special about this flick at all. You ask yourself what separates it from the rest, and you’re most likely going to end up dazed because you can’t answer the question.

I was hoping for different. The cast is made up of a decent assortment of names that you’ll recognize. None have really had mind-blowing performances in the past, but almost all have shown their potential in some form or another in the past…I don’t know, it just feels like a lot of wasted potential. Then again, it might have been doomed to begin with. Buddy cop films are becoming more and more transparent as time flies by. Successful buddy cop films are rare. I’ve seen so many in my life, but the good ones I can probably count on one hand. What it needed for success was simply some good comedic writing, and let’s be honest…we’ve seen so much better writing that this film is immediately dropped in the “Once is Enough” bucket.

I don’t mean to be mean to the people who worked hard on the movie. I mean, I can kinda tell the actors were trying their best, I can tell that the visual stuff like titles and explosions were made pretty well, but as an overall project, it’s just not enough. I’m confused as to why there’s already a sequel in the works though…I mean come on.

The Good:

Ride Along has it’s positives, like the fact that some jokes were mildly amusing. You can follow the film pretty closely, and there’s quite a few recognizable faces along the way

The Bad:

You’re going to be fighting the urge to say “Who cares” after a while. There’s simply nothing special about this film, and most of the jokes are flat.

Memorable Quote:

Ben: [breaks up a fight] Hey! You’re white, you’re white! You don’t fight!

 

catherineonfilms

Reviewing each film as I work my way through my 'must watch' list for 2014.

jisbell22

Random Observations of life

grace4films

Film Reviews

Films and Coke

Of film and TV with footnotes and cold beverages.

Fogs' Movie Reviews

Kid, the next time I say, "Let's go someplace like Bolivia," let's GO someplace like Bolivia.

Boredom Books

Bored? Read something.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 977 other followers