LEFT BEHIND (Released to Theaters USA 2014)

 

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 3.7|5.0 Starsììì

 Left Behind—thriller—does not work at a high-quality level of entertainment. For the international audience who is not familiar with the story that there would be a time when two humans would be working side by side and one would be ‘taken’ and the other left behind, the film will seem unintelligible. This makes the film work for a certain group of persons aware of the story behind the story. This same problem marks movies like The Book of Kells or Tea Pets. If one is not aware of those country specific concepts then an audience can be left in the dark and not understand the film. The acting and portrayal are okay/poorly done. The conclusions cannot be drawn as to why some people/children are taken while others are left.  This is not the best of films. It is based on a New York Times best-selling novel of a similar name. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline 

Humans from all over the world begin to disappear while others are left behind. 

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Director Vic Armstrong for directing effort. Thank you to Producers Paul LaLonde, Michael Walker, and Ed Clydesdale for making the film possible. Cast includes Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Cassi Thomson, Nicky Whelan, Jordin Sparks, and Lea Thompson.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Maybe. It has almost a cult classic feel with its weak portrayal and script. It's story leaves more questions than it answers. There is no satisfying conclusion.

Video Critique Available Here: 

Ben Meyers

THE WILD BUNCH (Released to Theaters USA 1969)

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 3.9|5.0 Starsììì 

The Wild Bunch—rough action film—has been well-written to involve its audience with its story. Robert Ryan in his role tracks bank robbers for a promise made that he will not have to go back to prison. Be aware that this story is not only violent but contains sexual Referenes and nudity. The story itself has been well-written and the acting relies on a professional, well-known cast who fill the screen with familiar faces. This film works at the adult entertainment level. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline 

Aging outlaws need a successful heist. 

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Sam Peckinpah for directing effort. Thank you to Producer Phil Feldman for making the film possible. Cast includes William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez, Ben Johnson, Emilio Fernandez, Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, and Edmond O’Brien. 


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Maybe. It is what it is…a rough film. But it has good presentation and portrayal. 

Video Critique Available Here:




Ben Meyers

ARMY OF ONE (Released to the Internet USA 2020)

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 4.1|5.0 Starsìììì 

Army of One—a bit ‘cheesy’ at times—serves an eyeful of Ellen Hollman as the woman seeking revenge. She creates a strong sense of realism and does not let down the ‘tough woman’ on a violent mission role. Justice is served on her terms and the audience will be ensured that under her direction it will be served. The movie uses a type of televised formatting rather than the higher quality theatrical framing, but it maintains its ability to entertain and is a good watch. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline 

A woman and her husband are tortured by a drug cartel. The woman survives and sets on a mission of revenge. 

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Director Stephen Durham for directing effort. Thank you to Executive Producers Niko Foster, James Harris Jr., Terry Parrish, and Ramon Vincent for making the film possible. Cast includes Ellen Hollman, Matt Passmore, Geraldine Singer, Stephen Dunlevy, Faromance Flix, Gary Kasper, Cameron Bowen, Kendra Carelli, Jacob Hobbs, and Niko Foster.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. Know that this film relies on the traditional quality of a televised piece of entertainment. Be prepared for that type of formatting. Despite that, the movie has its action and adventure scenes organized well enough to make it a good watch. 

Video Critique Available Here: 



Ben Meyers

HERBIE GOES BANANAS (Released to Theaters USA 1980)

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 3.9|5.0 Starsììì

Herbie Goes Bananas—runs out of story—serves a bland watch despite the acting of Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman. It serves more along the lines of a Herbie nostalgia watch.

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images

Storyline

Herbie becomes involved with a young boy who finds himself in possession of a film strip that mobsters want returned.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Vincent McEveety for directing effort. Thank you to Producer Ron Miller for making the film possible. Cast includes Cloris Leachman, Charles Martin Smith, Stephan W. Burns, John Vernon, Elyssa Devalos, Joaquin Gray III, Harvey Korman, Richard Jaeckel, and Alex Rocco.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. It works to some extent and does provide some comedy but shows the series as dying. The script needs higher level writing. 

Video Critique Available Here: 



Ben Meyers

HERBIE GOES TO MONTE CARLO (Released to Theaters USA 1977)

 Ben Meyers’ Rating: 4.0|5.0 Starsìììì

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo teams Jim Douglas (Dean Jones) and Wheely Applegate (Don Knotts) for Herbie’s driver and mechanic. Don Knotts seems an odd casting choice for this movie  because one wonders what happened to the previous mechanic Tennessee Steinmetz (Buddy Hackett), but there is the explanation that ‘Wheely’ has been with Herbie for a long time, and the viewer goes with that limited explanation and enjoys the film despite the loss of Buddy Hackett. It seems that the writers have almost run out of ideas for this story but seem to pull one more suitable film. Herbie actually makes it through  part four, Herbie Goes Bananas, then into a combination of the first and the fourth Herbie movies for a 1997 television release for  The Wonderful World of Disney Season 1 Episode 11. This television series features famous movies and behind the scenes content as well as new films. Then, Lindsey Lohan and Justin Long make a 2005 6th  film in the Herbie movie series, Herbie: Fully Loaded. These stories have their own charm and make cute watches to share as a family.

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images

Storyline

 The decision to race Herbie in Monte Carlo is fraught with many challenges.

 Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Vincent McEveety for directing effort. Thank you to Producer Ron Miller for making the film possible. Cast includes Dean Jones, Don Knotts, and Julie Sommers.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. Good, simple watch with a little adventure built in. Good work for everyone involved in production. 

Video Critique Available Here:





Ben Meyers

HERBIE RIDES AGAIN (Released to Theaters USA 1974)

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 4.0|5.0 Starsìììì 

Herbie Rides Again—cute—is not quite as good as the previous film in this series, but still manages as a clean story for the whole family that noticeably wears the Walt Disney brand of family entertainment, It relies on Ken Berry (from Mayberry R.F.D.) to drive its story and has a good portrayal, presentation, and well-written story. This film belongs in the family home video library and makes a great family-share movie. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline                                                                                                                     

Herbie becomes involved in saving an elderly woman’s home from a greedy real estate developer.

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Director Robert Stevenson for directing effort. Thank you to Producer Bill Walsh for making the film possible. Cast includes Helen Hayes, Ken Berry, Stefanie Powers, John McIntire, Keenan Wynn, Huntz Hall, Ivor Barry, Dan Tobin, Vito Scotti. Raymond Bailey, Liam Dunn, Elaine Devry, Chuck McCann, and Richard X. Slattery,


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. This is a good watch even though the original cast did not reprise their roles. This is an entirely new Herbie story that involves more mechanical objects with personalities of their own. But this does not hurt the film’s ability to deliver a family-worthy entertainment piece.

 Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

HARRIET (Released to Theaters USA 2019)

 

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 4.3|5.0 Starsìììì

 Harriet—wonderfully written and well-acted—tells the story of female anti-slave activist Harriet Tubman and how she saves hundreds of slaves and brings them to freedom. The  portrayal of this movie is incredibly well done. It deserves its place in the home video library and serves as a good teen/adult share movie that gives excellent opportunity for discussion after viewing.

 Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images

 Storyline

 Harriet Tubman’s struggle to release slaves in the southern United States.

 Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Kasi Lemmons for directing effort. Thank you to Producers Debra Martin Chase, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, and Gregory Allan Howard for making the film possible. Cast includes Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odorn Jr., Joe Alwyn, and Janelle Monae.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. This is a great watch. Wonderfully written, good camera work, and tells the story without preaching the story. Great work for all involved in production. 

Video Critique Available Here: 



Ben Meyers

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN (Released to Theaters USA 2016)

 

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 4.0|5.0 Starsìììì

 Miracles from Heaven—feel good Christian-themed movie—inspires, gives hope, and completely upholds the fact that we are not alone in the Universe and there is an intelligence higher than us helping us along. WOW! Jennifer Garner does quite well with her lines. Her facial expressions are outstanding. She gets very emotional, and rightfully so, but does it realistically. Queen Latifah is sweet and shows heart-warming generosity to a stranger. Very good acting in her part. This is a really well written script and tells a great story about what can happen when something irresolvable happens. Based on a true story, this movie belongs in the family home video library and is a re-watch film and a good movie to share and recommend. Fact checking on the History VS Hollywood website shows the variations in Hollywood’s story and the real life story. The Hollywood movie runs very close to what really happened and does not lessen the integrity of the movie.

 Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images

 Storyline

 A beloved young daughter gets an incurable health condition.

 Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Patricia Riggen for directing effort. Thank you to Producers DeVon Franklin, T.D. Jakes, and Joe Roth for making the film possible. Cast includes Jennifer Garner,  Kylie Rogers, Martin Henderson, John Carroll Lynch, Eugenio Derbez, and Queen Latifah.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes.  Completely worth watching. It’s a ‘do not miss’ film that strengthens hope and faith. Good work for Director Patricia Riggen.

 Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

FERDINAND THE BULL (Released to Theaters USA 1938)

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 3.9|5.0 Starsììì 

Ferdinand the Bull—cute short film—uses its small storyline to maximize effect. There is a 2017 computer animated version of the story that expands on the original content, but the softness of drawn animation is quite welcome to see in this version of Ferdinand.   The narrator for the film has been well-chosen. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline 

Ferdinand, the bull, loves a peaceful life of smelling flowers. Humans have quite another purpose for him. 

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Director Dick Rickard for directing effort. Thank you to Producer Walt Disney for making the film possible. Cast includes Milt Kahl and Narrator Don Wilson.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. This short film serves as a good child/adult share that can be enjoyed by a wide audience age range. 

Video Critique Available Here: 



Ben Meyers

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (Released to Theaters USA 2010)

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 4.3|5.0 Starsìììì 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid—better than expected—is a great watch and tells a comical story. This film starts the Wimpy Kid movie series. A big WOW! for the acting, the believability, and the portrayal. Hopefully, part 2, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules will hold the quality of this film. This story is based on the Jeff Kinney book series.

 Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline 

The ups and downs of trying to get through public school. 

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Director Thor Freudenthal for directing effort. Thank you to Producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson for making the film possible. Cast includes Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, and Steve Zahn.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. This is a great watch, tells a wonderful story with great writing. Great work for all involved. 

Home Video Available Here:


 

Ben Meyers

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD (Released to Theaters USA 2018)

 

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 3.9|5.0 Starsììì

 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald challenges one’s ability to make strong connections between the Harry Potter stories and the Fantastic Beasts series. While this movie allows a bit more freedom to connect the dots it still leaves many open-ended questions. But, the script is written well enough to follow the gist of the story. Relatability tries to establish itself in the scene where Dumbledore teaches children magic in what looks like early Hogwarts and a scene that shows students flying on their brooms. The attempt to catch Grindelwald and Credence before serious damage occurs shows an integrity to the concept of fighting evil with good, a major theme of the Harry Potter stories.  Overall? The movie is difficult to follow but it has some great special effects. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline

 

Grindelwald develops a deep desire to rule the world of humans. That desire for power is accompanied with ethical values that are subpar. 

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Director David Yates for directing effort. Thank you to Producers David Heyman, J. K. Rowling, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram for making the film possible. Cast includes Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Callum Turner, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Maybe. There is no doubt that the film has the J.K. Rowling stamp of creativity, the ability to involve an audience, and regularly spring surprises in the storyline. The gist of the story is understandable, but the human element of relating to the story content is missing which makes the movie difficult to follow and link to the original Harry Potter series. The consistent question of  “and why!” continually raises its head. The film seems to have been written more for the writer of the content than for the general audience. 

Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

A UNITED KINGDOM (Released to Theaters USA 2016)

 

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 4.2|5.0 Starsìììì

 A United Kingdom—Central South African political history—tells a sophisticated story about the relationship between Britain and Botswana (formerly Bechuanaland) and Britain’s power to control lives of that country’s  leaders, its population, and its wealth in material goods. Great acting by David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike make this movie soar in both quality and watchability. It’s entertaining and educational at the same time and does not have a single boring moment throughout the film. It is sophisticated and discreet. Great work for all involved in making the film and producing it.

 Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images

 Storyline

 A Botswanan Crown Prince falls in love with and marries a woman from a different culture.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Amma Asante for directing effort. Thank you to Producers Brunson Green, Charlie Mason, Rick McCallum, Cameron McCracken, Justin Moore-Lewy, and David Oyelowo. Cast includes David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Terry Pheto, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Abena Ayivor, and Vusi Kunene.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. This is a great watch and tells a wonderful story. Great work for all involved in production. Thank you. 

Video Critique Available Here: 



Ben Meyers

SHILOH (Released to Theaters USA 1996)

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 3.7|5.0 Starsììì 

Shiloh has the theme of a boy who falls in love with a dog that belongs to another person and what he does to make the dog his own. This is a simple story for children. The most well-known actor in it is Rod Steiger. It works as a simple, fill-in-some-time, afternoon watch. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images

 Storyline

 A boy becomes attached to a dog that belongs to another person. 

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Director Dale Rosenbloom for directing effort. Thank you to Producers Zane W. Levitt, Dale Rosenbloom. And Mark Yellen for making the film possible. Cast includes Scott Wilson, Blake Heron, Bonnie Bartlett, Rod Steiger, J. Madison Wright, Ann Dowd, Michael Moriarty, Shira Roth, Tori Wright, Montrose Hagins, Rachel Winfree, Amzie Strickland Frannie the Dog.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Maybe. It is not a high-quality watch. It's simple, a bit slow at times, and can be somewhat boring. 

Video Critique Available Here: 



Ben Meyers

FLIPPER (Released to Theaters USA 1963)

 

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 3.8|5.0 Starsììì

 Flipper can be understood best when the audience understands the time in which it was produced and the thrill children, who came from its decade, may have experienced when allowed to view life along the sea compared to environments they may have been raised in. It’s a suitable watch that relies on Chuck Conners and Luke Halpin to tell its story. Watch for Kathleen Maguire’s performance. There is a sequel film to this movie named Flipper’s New Adventure and a television series as well as a remake of this film with Paul Hogan and Elijah Wood. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline 

A boy becomes attached to a dolphin he rescues, feeds, and heals.    

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Director James B. Clark for directing effort. Thank you to Producer Ivan Tors for making the film possible. Cast includes Chuck Connors, Luke Halpin, Joe Higgins, and Kathleen Maguire.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. It’s a broadening experience for children who have never experienced life along the ocean and a good introduction to actor Chuck Conners outside his usual Rifleman television role. 

Video Critique Available Here: 



Ben Meyers

LAST STAND AT SABER RIVER (Released to TNT Television channel USA 1997)

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 3.9|5.0 Starsììì

 Last Stand at Saber River—Tom Selleck—works at the suitable to good level of western films. Watch for a cast that includes Harry Carey Jr., David Carradine and his brother, Keith Carradine. Hayley Joel Osment  shows his strong acting potential as he acts as Selleck’s son. It presents the difficult challenges involved when reputation precedes an attempt to resettle and begin a new life. While the theme of the movie is not new, it is still watchable. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline 

A Civil War warrior moves further west to establish a home with his family and a new beginning. 

Additional Thanks

 Thank you to Director Dick Lowry for directing effort. Thank you to Executive Producers Michael Brandman and Tom Selleck for making the film possible. Cast includes Tom Selleck, Suzy Amis, Rachel Duncan, Haley Joel Osment, Keith Carradine, David Carradine, Tracy Needham, Chris Stacy, Harry Carey Jr. Patrick Kilpatrick, Eugene Osment, Denis Forest, David Dukes, Lumi Cavazos.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. The movie will satisfy both Tom Selleck and western movie fans quite well. 

Video Critique Available Here: 



Ben Meyers

BOILING POINT (Released to Theaters USA 1993)

Ben Meyers’ Rating: 3.7|5.0 Starsììì

Boiling Point—okay, not great—serves as a watch for Wesley Snipes and Dennis Hopper fans. The movie suffers from lack of believability in some of Dennis Hopper's lines; the film has weak portrayal at times. It is a suitable afternoon watch. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images 

Storyline 

A treasury agent vows revenge when his partner is killed. 

Additional Thanks 

Thank you to Director James B. Harris for directing effort. Thank you to Producers Leonardo De La Fuente and Marc Frydman for making the film possible. Cast includes Wesley Snipes, Dennis Hopper, Lolita Davidovich, Viggo Mortensen, and Dan Hedaya.


Buy a ticket
? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Maybe. This movie does not deliver with the impact of the Wesley Snipes' movie, Passenger 57, but it still has watchability that is backed with a fairly good story. 

Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

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