KUNG FU PANDA 3 (Theatrical Release USA 2016)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Starsìììì

Kung Fu Panda 3—
much better than the last two, some flat dialog spots—overall, is a fairly good animated movie.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Po (voice of Jack Black) becomes the new teacher of Master Shifu’s school, but becomes unsure of his abilities due to injuries sustained by the Furious Five under his tutelage. He goes home to Mr. Ping (voice of James Hong) and meets a panda named Li Shan (voice of Bryan Cranston) who has broken Po’s record for eating dumplings. Po finds out that Li Shan is his biological father. Kai (voice of J.K. Simmons), a spiritual being who is told he will be defeated by a Dragon Warrior, becomes mortal and begins searching for Po. Po needs to learn Chi in order to fight this new evil. Po’s biological father says he can teach Po this skill. They travel to a panda village where Po discovers his biological father knows nothing about Chi. Po begins training for the fight with Kai. Villagers say they will help him fight. Po realizes the best teacher/warriors are those who use their innate abilities and assets to wage necessary war. His friends unite to successfully battle Kai.

Additional Thanks

 Great Work for Director Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Nelson. Thank you to Executive Producers Guillermo del Toro, Mike Mitchell, La Peikang, and Rui Gang Li for making the film possible.  Additional characters/cast include: Master Shifu (voice Dustin Hoffman), Tigress (voice Angelina Jolie-Pitt), Monkey (voice of Jackie Chan), Mantis (voice of Seth Rogen), Viper (voice of Lucy Liu), Crane (voice of David Cross), Mei Mei (voice of Kate Hudson), Bao (voice Steele Gagnon), Lei Lei (voice of Liam Knight), Master Oogway (voice of Randall Duk Kim), Big Fun/Hom-Lee ( voice of Wayne Knight), Grandma Panda (voice of Barbara Dirickson), and Sum (voice of Al Roker).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Even though this is a sequel in a series of three, it stands on its own as a story and  can be shared by the child and adult with equal enjoyment. If you have to see one film of the series, this movie is the best of three.

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Ben Meyers

WORLD TRADE CENTER (Theatrical Release USA 2006)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.4|5.0 Starsììì

World Trade Center
makes a feeble, wannabe attempt to be a landmark story. It quickly becomes an entertainment disaster. Part of the structural framework failure is due to the unfathomably weak acting by Nicolas Cage, Michael Peña, and the rest of the cast. The film could have been a four-star on its way to five-star movie, but could not in any way pull its story off; almost as if no one really cared about the story and its impact. The strongest actor in the film is Michael Shannon. He gets the job done.

Storyline

John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) sends his crew of New York police on a routine patrol. But, as Will Jimeno (Michael Peña) patrols a New York side walk, he gets a radio call that a plane has hit the World Trade Center. John McLoughlin’s crew reports back to the station for a briefing and a select few are chosen to investigate the explosion. Will Jimeno and his team corner a city bus, confiscate it, and proceed to the site to assess damage. John McLoughlin meets them there, briefs them, and the story is on.

Additional Thanks

Good Work for Director Oliver Stone. Thank you to Executive Producers Norman Golightly and Donald J. Lee, Jr. for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Donna McLoughlin (Maria Bello), Steven McLoughlin (Connor Paolo), JJ McLoughlin (Anthony Piccininni), Erin McLoughlin (Alexa Gerasimovich), Caitlin McLoughlin (Morgan Flynn), and Antonio Rodrigues (Armando Riesco).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe.  September 11, 2001 needs a graphic review, but on a larger scale that truly shows the devastation and emotional havoc wreaked. This film fails to accomplish that aim.


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Ben Meyers

HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS (Theatrical Release USA 1987)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Starsìììì

Harry and the Hendersons—
cute and mostly family friendly film with minor language—turns into a lovable film with appeal for adult and child. Harry as played by Kevin Peter Hall is superb while John Lithgow shows good form in scenes such as the interrogation of a professional bicyclist. The cast seems a team well matched with Melinda Dillon, Margaret Landrick and Joshua Rudoy.

Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images

Storyline

While returning from a wilderness hunt, George Henderson, Jr. (John Lithgow) accidentally hits something with his vehicle. When the family assumes the ‘something’ is dead, their closer investigation finds the ‘something’ is a Sasquatch. So, the family loads the Sasquatch on top of the car, covers him up, and finishes driving home. They put him in the garage. Later that night George awakes to commotion in the garage and investigates. The Sasquatch is gone. He hears commotion in the house, runs to the house, and turns on the light to find the Sasquatch rummaging through the refrigerator. The rest of the story revolves around house training a Sasquatch.

Additional Thanks

Great Work for the mind that directed, produced and wrote this movie: William Dear. Thank you to Executive Producer Steven Spielberg for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Jacques Lafleur (David Suchet), Irene Moffitt (Lainie Kazan), Dr. Wallace Wrightwood (Don Ameche), George Henderson, Sr. (M. Emmet Walsh), Sergeant Mancini (William Ontiveros), Dirty Harry Officer (David Richardt), DMV Clerk (Jacqueline Moscou), ‘Mouse’ Woman (Laura Kenny), ‘Mouse’ Spouse (Richard Arnold), Jerry Seville (Sean Morgan), Stuart (Nick Flynn), and Billers (David McIntyre).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Who isn’t a little enamored with the idea that Sasquatch families may roam our wilderness areas?

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Ben Meyers

LONDON HAS FALLEN (Theatrical Release USA 2016)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.3|5.0 Starsììì

London Has Fallen
has a ‘ho hum, we’ve seen this before’ feeling. Poor timing between scenes. The strongest actor in the film is Morgan Freeman, but he’s been assigned weak lines. The better part of the film comes at the end when Delta Forces come into play to take down the ‘bad guys.’  This is Director Babak Najafi’s third theatrical film. It will be interesting to see more of his work to see if he does better the next time around.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia 

Storyline

High end terrorist Amir Bawkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) attends a relative’s wedding. A United States drone kills his family. A few years later United States President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) attends, with other world leaders, a funeral of British Prime Minister James Wilson. When the U. S. President arrives at the funeral with Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) as security, everything goes awry. Vice President Trumbell (Morgan Freeman) finds that Amir Bawkawi, who is more than alive, has sent terrorist soldiers posing as British police, security, and the Queen’s palace guards to attack. Mike Banning gets away with the U. S. President as waves of terrorists descend.

Additional Thanks

Good Work for Director Babak Najafi. Thank you to Executive Producers Guy Avshalom, Boaz Davidson, Zygi Kamasa, Avi Lerner, Heidi Jo Markel, Christine Otal, and Trevor Short for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Kamran Bawkawi (Waleed Zuaiter), Rasa Mansoor (Adel Bencherif), Sultan Mansoor (Mehdi Dehbi), Amal Mansoor (Shivani Ghai), UAV Reaper Pilot (Martin Petrushev), and JSOC Officer (Owen Davis).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. It ranks in caliber with films like Eraser with Schwarzenegger or Expendables 2 with Stallone. 

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Ben Meyers

JAWS (Theatrical Release USA 1975)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.8|5.0 Starsìììì

Jaws—
classic thriller. Boy, can Steven Spielberg do it! It’s the real thing, worth watching again. The acting is so natural, that it is like watching actual people in real life situations.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

During a beach party, a young girl decides to take a late night swim. She swims out to sea, but suddenly is taken by something in the water. No one hears her screams for help. Chief of Police Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) receives a call about a missing girl. Martin Brody goes to investigate and finds human remains. Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) wants the beach kept open in spite of the apparent shark attack. Martin Brody sits in as life guard for the expected influx of people. This time, the shark attacks a small boy on a float. The beach erupts in panic and the story is off and running as Martin Brody and his team attempt to curtail the shark’s activities.

Additional Thanks

Best Work for Director Steven Spielberg. Thank you to Producers David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary), Meadows (Carl Gottlieb), Deputy Hendricks (Jeffrey Kramer), Chrissie Watkins (Susan Backlinie), Cassidy (Jonathan Filley), Estuary Victim (Ted Grossman), Michael Brody (Chris Rebello), and Sean Brody (Jay Mello).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Definitely. This is the real thing—well acted and cast, perfectly written, a thriller down to its last detail.

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Ben Meyers

SAHARA (Theatrical Release USA 2005)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 2.5|5.0 Starsìì

Sahara—
starts well, a definite 4-star movie—quickly becomes a disaster, more than earning its 2.5 star rating. The film is a confused, disorganized, unedited mess. Such a shameful waste of serious story-telling talent—it’s based on a Clive Cussler book. Such a sad waste of real money—it was produced by Philip Anschutz.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

While diving in West Africa for the National Underwater and Marine Agency, Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) becomes involved with Doctors Eva Rojas (Penélope Cruz) and Frank Hopper (Glynn Turman) who are investigating a sickness that is killing citizens of Mali, Africa. Dirk Pitt buys a gold coin that he believes to be from the lost CSS Texas, a Confederate ship that ran through a Union blockade during the United States’ Civil War to escape the South with remaining Confederate wealth. The three stories become intertwined as the main characters explore the Niger River in an attempt to solve the source of the Mali illness and to find the lost bullion from the CSS Texas.

Additional Thanks

Poor Work for Director Breck Eisner. Thank you to Executive Producers Gus Gustawes, William J. Immerman, Matthew McConaughey, and Vicki Dee Rock for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Al Giordino (Steve Zahn), Admiral Jim Sandecker (William H. Macy), Rudi Gunn (Rainn Wilson), Carl (Delroy Lindo), Yves Massarde (Lambert Wilson), General Zateb Kazim (Lennie James), Captain Tombs (Robert Cavanah), Imam (Jude Akuwudike), and Lawyer (Mark Aspinall).

Buy a ticketYes? No? Maybe?
  
No. It’s a bona fide bomb.

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Ben Meyers

TRUE GRIT (Theatrical Release USA 1969)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.1|5.0 Starsìììì

True Grit—
straight forward storyline—turns into a good watch. John Wayne plays the main character, Rooster Cogburn. Kim Darby plays a great Mattie Ross. Glen Campbell plays the Texas Ranger, La Boeuf. Look for Robert Duvall playing the character of Ned Pepper in this film. This is a spunky and well written story

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) hires Rooster Cogburn to avenge her father, Frank Ross’ (John Pickard) death, by taking down the man who shot him, Tom Chaney (Jeff Corey), who worked as Frank Ross’ hired hand. Spunky Mattie Ross forces her way into Rooster Cogburn’s hunting party and plays her own strong role in satisfying her father’s spilled blood.

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Director Henry Hathaway. Thank you to Executive Producer Joseph H. Hazen for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: La Boeuf (Glenn Campbell), Emmett Quincy (Jeremy Slate), Moon (Dennis Hopper), Goudy (Alfred Ryder), Colonel G. Stonehill (Strother Martin), Captain Boots Finch (Ron Soble), Lawyer Daggett (John Fiedler), Judge Parker (James Westerfield), and Sherriff (John Doucett).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It’s a John Wayne western which has its own merits, and is a good watch for John Wayne fans as one of John Wayne's better performances.


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Ben Meyers

OVER THE TOP (Theatrical Release USA 1987)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.6|5.0 Starsììì

Over the Top—
not a Rocky by any means—has a basic storyline: alienated Father endeavors to create relationship with son after long absence with a final, positive resolution.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Grandfather Jason Cutler (Robert Loggia) has, long ago, broken all communication with his son-in-law, Lincoln Hawk (Sylvester Stallone), for abandoning Cutler’s daughter, Christina Hawk (Susan Blakely), and her son, Michael Cutler (David Mendenhall). Michael has adopted his grandfather’s last name because of his father, Lincoln Hawk’s, apparent disinterest in him. No reason is provided in the movie for the marital breakup or abandonment. Ten years later, Michael Cutler, now twelve years old, is in military school and Lincoln Hawk is working as a truck driver who owns his own truck. Christina Hawk is ill and requests Lincoln Hawk to renew acquaintance with his son, Michael Cutler.  Lincoln Hawk drives to the military school to pick Michael Cutler up for the long drive from Colorado to California to see Christina. After Lincoln Hawk establishes his identity to both school officials and Michael Cutler, they leave for their long trip together—a trip that exposes Michael Cutler to a very different life style than that to which he is accustomed.

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Director and Producer Menahem Golan. Thank you to Executive Producer James D. Brubaker for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Bob ‘Bull’ Hurley (Rick Zumwalt), Tim Salanger (Chris McCarty), Ruker (Terry Funk), Announcer (Bob Beattie), Collins (Allen Graf), Smasher (Magic Schwarz), Grizzly (Bruce Way), Big Boy-Richie (Jimmy Keegan), and Colonel Davis (John Braden).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. It’s definitely a ‘C’ grade movie, but the show is decently presented. There is some language.

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Ben Meyers

MR. MAGOO (Theatrical Release USA 1997)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.7|5.0 Starsììì

Mr. Magoo—
live action comedy—parodies the animated TV series of the late 1940s. Leslie Nielson plays a straight up Mr. Magoo.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Mr. Magoo goes to an opening night museum event only to become clumsily involved with the theft of the center piece of the event, a ruby, by thieves Luanne LeSeur (Kelly Lynch) and Bob Morgan (Nick Chinlund). When Mr. Magoo decides to go fishing, he crosses paths with the jewel thieves who are traveling by boat to give the ruby to Bob Morgan’s Boss Austin Cloquet (Malcolm McDowell). In an argument the thieves lose the ruby jewel. It lands in Mr. Magoo’s rubber fishing boat. Bob Morgan attempts to retrieve the jewel and the show is on.

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Director Stanley Tong. Thank you to Executive Producers Andre Morgan, Robert L. Rosen, and Henry G. Saperstein for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Waldo (Matt Keeslar), Agent Chuck Stupak (Stephen Tobolowsky), Agent Gus Anders (Ernie Hudson), Stacey Sampanahoditra (Jennifer Garner), Ortega Peru (Miguel Ferrer), Schmitt (L. Harvey Gold), Gosha (Art Irizawa), and Hebzinski (John Tierney).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It’s a family film that creates a feel good experience with a few Leslie Nielsen-type giggles along the way.

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Ben Meyers

JAWS 2 (Theatrical Release USA 1978)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.8|5.0 Starsììì

Jaws 2—
not as good as Jaws by a long shot—still manages to be better than many Hollywood sequels to their original best selling prequels.  Some outstanding acting portraying fear, desperation, and outright terror saves the movie from mediocrity. Watch for the final scene’s shark kill where the electrical wire causes sparks to rotate around the studio-made shark’s eyes.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Divers investigate the boat that Quint (Robert Shaw) was driving in the last Jaws film, but the investigating divers are killed by another shark that appears in the same waters. This becomes a question of Police Chief Martin Brody’s (Roy Scheider) successful resolution of establishing safe beaches and it sets the stage for another creature feature presented by Director Jeannot Szwarc instead of Director Steven Spielberg.

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Director Jeannot Szwarc. Thank you to Producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary), Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), Len Peterson (Joseph Mascolo), Deputy Hendricks (Jeffrey Kramer), Dr. Lureen Elkins (Collin Wilcox Paxton), Tina Wilcox (Ann Dusenberry), Michael ‘Mike’ Brody (Mark Gruner), and Tom Andrews (Barry Coe).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. The movie is not as good as its prequel, but has its moments.

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Ben Meyers

ZOOTOPIA (Theatrical Release USA 2016)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.9|5.0 Starsìììì

Zootopia—
one of the best animated films, if not the best, of the decade—becomes the perfect choice for the adult/child share movie with scenes and dialogue that are sophisticated enough to strongly bridge both audiences. The writers did an outstanding job by producing a new, meaningful, full-of-heart script that fully fleshes out its characters. Nothing missing here. Great entertainment.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), a rabbit who lives in an evolved world where predator and prey get along, decides she wants to be a police rabbit among the hardier, stronger animals. She optimally uses her mental acuity to make up for her physical size and strength to perform admirably within a tough environment to become one of the best in her graduating class. That same mental agility allows her to perform outstandingly on the streets where she solves a difficult mysterious series of kidnappings, saves Zootopia, and guarantees her place in the policing world.

Additional Thanks

Best Work for Directors Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush. Thank you to Executive Producer John Lasseter for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Stu Hopps (voice of Don Lake), Bonnie Hopps (voice of Bonnie Hunt), Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), Chief Bogo (voice of Idris Elba), Bellwether (Jenny Slate), Clawhauser (voice of Nate Torrence), Yax (voice of Tommy Chong), Mayor Lionheart (voice of J.K. Simmons), Mrs. Otterton (voice of Octavia Spencer), Duke Weaselton (voice of Alan Tudyk), Gazelle (voice of Shakira), Flash (voice of Raymond S. Persi), Young Hopps (Della Saba), and Mr. Big (Maurice LaMarche).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Definitely. It is an imaginative animated masterpiece…fresh, appealing, and worth more than one viewing. Watch for a familiar and welcome vocal talent behind the voice of the gazelle.

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Ben Meyers

THE MISSING (Theatrical Release USA 2003)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.2|5.0 Starsìììì

The Missing—
well cast with Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett—reminds us that Hollywood can still make a good western movie, at least, as long as the Director is Ron Howard. Even though it is an old storyline—American girls kidnapped by slave traders to sell in Mexico—Howard makes the script fresh and new with top-of-the-line supernatural native American medicine/witch doctor scenes coupled with some very believable slave trader scenes perfectly spiced with the drama of a Caucasian man who abandoned his family to run with Native Americans and his attempts to reconcile with his self-taught doctor/healer daughter. The dialogue is good, timing great, musical scores well-placed. It lost major dollars at the box office; but now that western movies are coming back in vogue, the film is a great ‘new’ pick for western fans who missed it on its first theater release.


Film Poster Courtesy of Google Images


Storyline

Maggie Gilkeson (Cate Blanchett) sets out to retrieve her eldest daughter, Lilly Gilkeson (Evan Rachel Wood), who has been kidnapped by slave traders heading to Mexico under the leadership of slave boss Pesh-Chidin, also known as El Brujo (Eric Schweig), a very talented witch doctor. Her estranged father, Samuel Jones (Tommy Lee Jones), accompanies her and proves invaluable in the retrieval of her daughter.

Additional Thanks

Great Work for Director and Producer Ron Howard. Thank you to Executive Producers Steve Crystal and Todd Hallowell for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Brake Baldwin (Aaron Eckhart), Dot Gilkeson (Jenna Boyd), Lt. Jim Ducharme (Val Kilmer), Emiliano (Sergio Calderón), Two Stone (Steve Reevis), Kayitah (Jay Tavare), Honesco ‘Kayita Son’ (Simon Baker), Russel J. Wittick (Ray McKinnon), Isaac Edgerly (Max Perlich), Grummond (Ramon Frank), and Naazhaao/‘Hunter’ (Deryle J. Lujan).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. For the western movie fan, it’s a rare and good pick with an outstanding cast, good action, and edgy adventure.


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Ben Meyers

BEASTS OF NO NATION (Telluride Film Festival Telluride Colorado USA 2015)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.9|5.0 Starsììì

Beasts of No Nation—
an unrated film—should have been ‘R’-rated for sexual scenes and references, nudity, and shocking brutality. The film realistically portrays what happens to a West African boy when he appears to have no viable life choices within a war-torn countryside.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Agu (Abraham Attah), a West African boy, has a good life with his father (Kobina Amissah-Sam), his mother (Ama K. Abebrese), his older athletic brother (Francis Weddey), and his younger sister (Vera Nyarkoah Antwi). When their West African government fails, he finds himself in the middle of government forces fighting rebel forces. Agu’s father can only pay for his wife and his daughter to evacuate their war-torn village. Agu, his father, and his brother are left behind to face the ensuing conflict. Agu, the sole survivor of the males in his family, flees into the jungle only to be recruited by rebel forces headed by a rebel commandant (Idris Elba). Agu becomes an integral part of the rebel child/adult army.

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Thank you to Executive Producers Nnamdi Asomugha, Bill Benenson, Laura Bickford, Fiona Drukenmiller, Donna Gigliotti, Mark Holder, Kristina Kendall, Elizabeth Koch, Tommee May, Peter Pastorelli, Elika Portnoy, and Todd Courtney for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Grandfather (Emmary Brown),  Dike (Emmanuel Affadzi), Village Constable (Ricky Adelayitor),  Ecomod 2nd Lieutenant (Andrew Adote), Pastor (Fred Nii Amugi), Angry Bush Taxi Driver (John Arthur), Old Witch Woman (Grace Nortey), BBC Host (Nataliah Andoh), BBC Correspondent (Matthew Mpoke Bigg), and Young Girl (Nana Mensah).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. This film is not for the faint of heart and not for children by a long shot. The film shows the gross side of life in complete detail through the eyes of a child. The film does not hold anything back in its realistic portrayal of the angst of war-torn Africa.

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Ben Meyers

SPY KIDS (Theatrical Release USA 2001)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.2|5.0 Starsììì

Spy Kids—
futuristic action film for children and select adults—needs script rewriting to rid itself of dialogue that borders on the edge of ‘goofy’. Adults may feel bored throughout most of the film. The movie, however, is clean and family friendly. It supports the concept that a family working together becomes more powerful.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Former spies Gregorio Cortez (Antonio Banderas) and his wife Ingrid Cortez (Carla Gugino) are brought out of retirement for a special mission. They are kidnapped by villains Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming) and Alexander Minion (Tony Shalhoub). Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez’ children, Carmen Cortez (Alexa PenaVaga) and her younger brother Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara), who were left in the care of their ‘Uncle’ Felix Gumm (Cheech Marin), take on the responsibility of saving their parents.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Robert Rodriguez for directing effort. Thank you to Executive Producers Cary Granat, Bob Weinstein, and Harvey Weinstein for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Ms. Gradenko (Teri Hatcher), Mr. Lisp (Robert Patrick), Machete (Danny Trejo), Donnagon/Donnamight (Mike Judge), and Cool Spy (Richard Linklater).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. It’s a treat to see Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino work together. This film’s primary appeal is for the older child.

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Ben Meyers

BRAVEHEART (Theatrical Release USA 1995)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.9|5.0 Starsìììì

Braveheart—
a must see movie—tells the story of Scotland’s William Wallace (Mel Gibson) and his fight against King Edward the Longshank (Patrick McGoohan) of England. Mel Gibson not only acts the part of William Wallace, but he directs the film. The film contains sex scenes and sexual related content.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

William Wallace is a Scottish raider’s son who is raised by his Uncle Argyle (Brian Cox) after his father is killed. Wallace’s uncle teaches him to use his mind in academic studies and additionally teaches him the finer military arts. Wallace grows up speaking several languages, has literacy, displays good athletic ability, and attains excellent swordsmanship skills. He falls in love and secretly marries a childhood sweetheart, Murron MacClannough (Catherine McCormack). When she is brutally executed by an English garrison, Wallace leads a revolt against the English that eventually escalates to include war against King Edward the Longshank.

Additional Thanks

Best Work for Director Mel Gibson. Thank you to Executive Producer Stephen McEveety for making the film possible.  Additional characters/cast include: Young William Wallace (James Robinson), Malcolm Wallace (Sean Lawlor), John Wallace (Sandy Nelson), Campbell (James Cosmo), MacClannough (Sean McGinley), Elder Stewart (Alan Tall), Young Hamish (Andrew Weir), Mother MacClannough (Gerda Stevenson), Princess Isabelle (Sophie Marceau), and Priest No. 1 (Ralph Riach).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It’s a good historical view of William Wallace’s life.

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Ben Meyers

TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE (Theatrical Release USA 2013)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Starsìììì

Twelve Years A Slave—
high overkill on brutality scenes, not for the faint of heart or teen audience—tells a straight forward story based on the real life experiences of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man living in the Northern United States until he is sold wrongfully into Southern United States slavery. The film contains sex and nudity scenes.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York, works as a musician and farmer. He meets a friend who introduces him to Brown (Scoot McNairy) and Hamilton (Taran Killam). These two men offer him a musician’s job in Washington, D.C.; but, on the way, they drug Solomon Northup and send him to a slave pen where he awakes to a completely new way of life.

Additional Thanks

Great Work for Director Steve McQueen. Thank you to Executive Producers John Ridley and Tessa Ross for making the film possible.  Additional characters/cast include: Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o), Uncle Abram (Dwight Henry), Overseer (Dickie Gravois), Judge Turner (Bryan Batt), Anna (Ashley Dyke), Anne Northup (Kelsey Scott), Margaret Northup (Quvenzhané Wallis), Alonzo Northup (Cameron Ziegler), Mr. Moon (Tony Bentley), and Burch (Christopher Berry).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. There is historical value in this film; but, for your money there are better films such as: Amistad or The Butler.

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Ben Meyers

SHARK BAIT (Theatrical Release South Korea 2006)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 2.0|5.0 Starsìì

Shark Bait
—renamed The Reef: Shark Bait for UK, USA, and Australian audiences—was a real disappointment for an animated foreign film. The timing is not right. The film lacks flow and the animation is not up to par. Scene transitions seem jittery. Eleven years before this animation feature debuted, Pixar’s Toy Story blew the lid off animation. Shark Bait did not pick up on that technology. The storyline is thin, lacking heart, and the acting/voicing are poor.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

A young fish named Pi (voice of Jimmy Bennett) loses both his parents, Dad Pike (voice of Bruno Alexander) and Mother Piper (voice of Reedy Gibbs), to a fishing net. Young Pi lives with porpoises most of his life before finding his Aunt Pearl (voice of Megahn Perry). He meets Cordelia (voice of Evan Rachel Wood) and falls in love, but Troy (voice of Donal Logue), a Tiger Shark, likes Cordelia, too. Eventually, Pi has to defend his new home, friends, and family from the bullying tiger sharks.

Additional Thanks

Poor Work for Director Howard E. Baker, John Fox, and Kyung Ho Lee. Thank you to Executive Producers Sundip R. Shah, Hyuk Shim, and Alex J. Yoo for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Young Percy (Dylan Cash), Percy (voice of Trent Ford), Thorton (voice of John Rhys-Davies), Female Parrotfish (voice of Megahn Perry), Pi (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Pelican/Indian Crab/Bart/Eddie/Lobster/Madge the Starfish/Lou/Nerissa/Conch Shell (voice of Rob Schneider), Manny/Dr. Tang (voice of Mel Rodriguez), Moe (Richard Epcar), and Jack (voice of R. Lee Ermey).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

No. There are better uses of entertainment time and dollars to be found with Disney’s Pixar Studio, DreamWorks Animation Studio, and Blue Sky Studio.

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Ben Meyers

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