One Sentence Movie Reviews: Sept. 14, 2014

I know, I know, I never keep my promise to keep the updates coming fast enough. I apologize, it has been a trying emotional time lately, lots going on. I’ll just say that while it may take me awhile to get around to it, the blog will not disappear.

Anywho, here’s what I’ve watched in the meantime:

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014): I was pleasantly surprised with this high-energy reboot of the Heroes-in-a-Halfshell, even if I do miss some of Splinter & Shredder’s classic characterization. B-

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (2014): While the intervening time between this and its predecessor is painfully obvious due to several missing actors, it’s not a bad hard-boiled night at the movies. C+

A MOST WANTED MAN (2014): Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last leading role is a nuanced, guilt-laden character in a thinking man’s spy thriller. A-

APOLLO 13 (1995): Tense and heartfelt, this contender for Ron Howard’s best film shows humanity at its worst hour but finest performance. A

WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (1998): Vincent Ward proves he’s one of the most fearless filmmakers alive with a strange but beautiful vision of a hopeful afterlife, guided by Robin Williams’ most subtle performance. A+

And some more from the Year of Godzilla:

THE BIRTH OF JAPAN (1959): Toho’s answer to The Ten Commandments is as compelling as its western counterpart. B+

MOTHRA VS GODZILLA (1964): One of the best Godzilla sequels pits the nuclear titan against one of his most distinctive foes, the Earth deity Mothra. B (The American version, known as Godzilla vs The Thing, is one of the more respectful Americanizations, adding in a well-shot missile attack sequences, but still faltering by referring to Mothra as “The Thing” in a cheap marketing trick. C+)

DOGORA (1964): One of Toho’s more distinctive monster designs, but not the most thrilling film in their catalog. D-

GHIDORAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER (1964): Toho’s first ‘monster rally’ delivers on the action and makes progressive choices concerning its human characters, but could use a tighter pace. C+ (The American cut, known as Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster, pulls off a nigh-impossible task and beats the Japanese cut with tighter editing that improves the pace but still keeps the integrity of the original film. B)

As always, check out the archives for more, and support your local movie theater!

One Sentence Movie Reviews – Aug 27, 2014

The Maestro is back with a few more reviews, but before I jump in, I must apologize for the long absence and for the fact that a lot of these are little old, I have a lot of catching up to do in the realm of film. I also want to say that I am planning a Robin Williams marathon to honor him in his passing. Now, let’s see what I managed to watch in the meantime:

INTO THE STORM (2014): An alright disaster film that is heavily marred by its lackluster characters and silly adherence to the found-footage format. D+

THE PURGE: ANARCHY (2014): What the first movie should’ve started out as, but ultimately still under-explored. C-

GET ON UP (2014): Chadwick Boseman far-outshines his already-considerable performance in 42, but the film’s narrative seems a little too aimless. B-

MY FAIR LADY (1964): I’m usually not a musical-person; this Audrey Hepburn gem convinces me I might be otherwise. A-

And some more from the Year of Godzilla:

GORATH (1962): Toho’s When Worlds Collide with a Japanese flair and a dash of Murphy’s Law. C

MATANGO (1963): The Japanese Gilligan’s Island crew sail into one of the strangest and most original horror films I’ve ever seen. B+

ATRAGON (1963): On the surface, it’s an Atlantis-themed action romp; dig deeper and you’ll find an extremely brave film about the clash between WWII-era Japanese nationalism and the new globalism. B+

I’ll have more up this Friday, plus newly-revised posters for Movies That Should Be Made and a new Ultimate Casting Calls soon! Until then, As always, check out the archives for more, and support your local movie theater!

One Sentence Movie Reviews – August 3, 2014

Oy, summer is coming to a close fast. How depressing…oh well, there’s always movies! Speaking of which, here’s some more reviews!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014): Marvel Studios hits another home run by putting lesser-known heroes into a Buck Rogers-esque swashbuckler with an amazing soundtrack. B+

LUCY (2014): As long as one remembers that the science in this film is completely backward, it will be an immensely entertaining and well-put together action viewing. B

ORCA (1977): This Jaws-ripoff is extra-gruesome, but houses an interesting heart in its vision of two creatures driven to death & despair by each other. B-

STARDUST (2007): Most family fantasies these days are a dime-a-dozen; this film, with it’s Princess Bride-sensibilities and delightfully flamboyant Robert Deniro, is a cut above them. B+

And some more from the Year of Godzilla:

THE LAST WAR (1961): Toho’s depiction of World War III and the nuclear destruction of civilization is a nightmarish vision anchored by surprisingly touching human drama for a ’60s tokusatsu film. A-

KING KONG VS GODZILLA (1962): This battle of the titans is slow to start but quickly becomes a surprisingly-light-hearted but also-surprisingly-entertaining night at the movies. B- (The American version heavily and unnecessarily cuts and rearranges scenes, adding in more than 20 minutes of boring exposition by American actors and removing Akira Ifukube’s amazing score. C-)

And that’s all he wrote today! As always, check out the archives for more, and support your local movie theater!

One Sentence Movie Reviews – July 23, 2014

Sorry once again for the long delay, I actually had the chance to go on a vacation for the first time in years, and I did enjoy it! But now I’m back, and its time to do what the Maestro does best: tell you about movies!

Of special note, I’ve decided to extend the Summer of Godzilla into the Year of Godzilla, ending in November (the month the original Godzilla was released in 1954, making it the official 60th anniversary), as many of the films I planned to see have proven to be a little harder to find, and therefore are taking some time to get to.

Let’s get into this!

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014): Extraordinary & frighteningly-emotive visual effects framed by a salient allegory for the continuous failure of diplomacy in modern history create the best Apes film since the original. A-

AMERICA: IMAGINE THE WORLD WITHOUT HER (2014): Dinesh D’Souza manages to outdo his previous “documentary” in inaccuracy, logical fallacies, and sheer offensiveness. F-

MEN IN BLACK (1997): A uproariously funny vision of the classic conspiracy theory, and Will Smith’s finest moment in comedy. B+

PEARL HARBOR (2001): Michael Bay trades in his explosion-fetish (though there are definitely a lot later) for a three-hour long romance set amongst the December 7, 1941 attack, making for his most mature film. B+

THE LAND BEFORE TIME (1988): Tears still flow whenever I see this classic animated tale of friendship, orphanhood, and the cathartic act of pulling together to survive. A+

DRAGONWYCK (1946): Vincent Price continues to prove he was the master of everything Gothic. B

And on to the Year of Godzilla:

VARAN (1958): While the final product, originally intended as a television special, is ill-suited as a feature-length film, it does feature some of Haruo Nakajima’s most interesting suit performances of his career. C+

BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (1959): Toho’s pseudo-sequel to The Mysterians ups the ante with tense spaceship battles, ray-gunfights on the Moon and the total destruction of New York and San Francisco. B+

MOTHRA (1961): One the strangest & most colorful entries in Toho’s kaiju film series, with the added dimension of Cold War drama from a Japanese perspective. B

‘Tis all for now! As always, check out the archives for more, and support your local movie theater!

One Sentence Movie Reviews – July 3, 2014

Well damn it, I fell away for another long stretch. Fear not, I am back! How is the Summer of 2014 (and Godzilla!) holding up for me? Read on to find out…

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (2014): The new human cast headed by Mark Wahlberg & interesting story direction were winning me over big time–until the last hour fell back into Michael Bay’s usual explosive cinemasturbation. C+

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (2014): A quirky & unconventional tale of romance amid terminal illness; make sure you lots of Kleenex before watching. A-

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (2014): Hiccup & Toothless return to battle villains & the idea of evil animals with cuteness & badassery. B

MALEFICENT (2014): What should have been Sleeping Beauty meets Macbeth becomes predictable drivel in 30 minutes flat. D

And now some other films:

MIMIC (1997): A soulless Aliens-clone helmed by a director worthy of so much more, this film is still a recommended watch as a cautionary tale against letting idiots boss around artists. C- (NOTE: This review is solely based on the Director’s Cut)

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE (1999): The first adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel is as polished as later films but not quite as endearing (though Paul Newman’s character is). C+

LESSONS OF DARKNESS (1992): Shot documentary-style but presented as a sci-fi film about a strange world in the wake of war, Werner Herzog’s interesting film concerning the Kuwait Oil Fires is a true piece of abstract art. A+

And now back to the Summer of Godzilla, which interestingly doesn’t include a Godzilla film (yet):

RODAN (1956): Ishiro Honda follows up on Godzilla with a new prehistoric monster & surprisingly gruesome effects for a 1950s film. B+ (The American version heavily cuts much of the film’s more subtle character moments and adds cumbersome voiceover narration, earning a C-)

THE MYSTERIANS (1957): The first alien invasion produced by Toho takes on the tone of War of the Worlds, but opts for a more morally-ambiguous quarrel between Earth & the Mysterian conquerors. B-

THE H-MAN (1958): A strange horror film that predates an X-Files premise by almost 40 years. B-

Alright, that’s all for now! As always, check out the archives for more, and support your local movie theater!