LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (Theatrical Release USA 2007)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.8|5.0 Stars ìììì

Letters From Iwo Jima—
another terrific Clint Eastwood directed film—tells the Japanese point of view about the World War II American invasion of Iwo Jima. While Eastwood’s previous film, Flags of our Fathers, told the same story from the American point of view and bombed in the box office, this film is a complete success on every level. Eastwood does his research and wisely uses Japanese language with English subtitles for authentic effect. It completely works. The fighting scenes wring the heart while showing General Kuribayashi’s (Ken Watanabe) efforts to lead a good fight, preserve his men, and honorably take his stand under the most bleak of circumstances.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

General Kuribayashi fights Americans at Iwo Jima.


Additional Thanks

Thank you to Executive Producer Paul Haggis for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), Shimizu (Ryô Kase), Lieutenant Ito (Shidô Nakamura), Lieutenant Fujita (Hiroshi Watanabe), Captain Tanida (Takumi Bando), and Nozaki (Yuki Matsuzaki).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. The movie directs thoughtful contemplation of the concept of winning and losing.

Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

CESAR CHAVEZ (Theatrical Release USA 2014)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.4|5.0 Stars ììì

Cesar Chavez
fails to tell its story. The first challenge is the script. It works as if there is not enough story to put a movie together when that definitely is not the case. The second challenge is casting John Malkovich with Michael Peña. It’s a poor casting choice. The third challenge is weak acting. The film follows Cesar Chavez’ attempt to organize migrant workers into a union; but it fails to do justice to Mr. Chavez’ life.

Storyline

Cesar Chavez takes on the fight for farm workers.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Diego Luna for directing effort. Thank you to Executive Producers Gael Garcia Bernal and John Malkovich for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: American Lady (Kerry Adra), Chato Chavez (Maynor Alvarado), Gilbert Padilla (Yancey Arias), and Jerry Cohen (Wes Bentley).



Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. The story needs more force and power to tell its story well. Charles Bronson's Mr. Majestyk tells a much stronger story about the difficulties of agriculture, migrant workers, mafia, and law enforcement issues.

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Ben Meyers

WRECK-IT RALPH (Theatrical Release USA 2012)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.8|5.0 Stars ìììì

Wreck It Ralph—
funny, animated film—bases itself on Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly), a computer arcade character, who wrecks things that another arcade game character, Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer), fixes. At night, the arcade game characters travel from game to game and visit with one another. Ralph, the wrecker, never receives accolades or medals because he’s the villain.  He decides he doesn’t want to be a villain any longer and is willing to risk everything to get a medal so that he can be a good guy instead of a bad guy. Ralph embarks on an adventure to solve what he really is. This is a great film for children and for adults.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Additional Thanks

Best work for Director Rich Moore. Thank you to Executive Producer John Lasseter for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Vanellope (voice of Sarah Silverman), Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch), King Candy (voice of Alan Tudyk), Taffyta Muttonfudge (voice of Mindy Kaling), Markowski (voice of Joe Lo Truglio), Mr. Litwak (voice of Ed O’Neill), and General Hologram (voice of Dennis Haysbert).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It is one of the best game movies on the market. This film is also well written.

Video Critique Available Here:




Ben Meyers

MAZE RUNNER* (Theatrical Release USA 2014)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.7|5.0 Stars ìììì

Maze Runner—
one of the better 2014 action films—is good enough to create desire for a sequel. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

The initial scene opens with Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) waking in a state of amnesia on the floor of an elevator. The elevator’s doors open to a glade surrounded by a maze. There are other boys there who inform him that there is a way out of the maze. Thomas finds that the maze gates close every night and the maze changes every night which complicates ability to find a final exit. In addition, the maze is inhabited by cyborg Grievers who randomly attack maze runners.

Additional Thanks

Best work for Director Wes Ball. Thank you to Executive Producers Eddie Gamarra, Joe Hartwick, Jr., and Lindsay Williams for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Chuck (Blake Cooper), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Frypan (Dexter Darden), Teresa (Kaya Scoldelario), Ben (Chris Sheffield), Zart (Joe Adler), Winston (Alexander Flores), Gally (Will Poulter), Alby (Aml Ameen), and Minho (Ki Hong Lee).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It's an action-packed film that relies on a creative story idea.

*Also Known as: The Maze Runner


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Ben Meyers

THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (Theatrical Release USA 2014)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.4|5.0 Stars ììì

The Legend of Hercules—
action flick—has a tough job...try to capture a legend on a 'big' screen when the whole world isn't a big enough screen to hold the story. Special effects suffer from significant imaging challenges. Actors have no screen presence, no natural feel almost as if this is their movie debut. The script seems like a hodgepodge of once-upon-a-time great movie scenes randomly mishmashed together in the odd hope that some of that once-upon-a-time greatness will magically rub off and sprinkle this story with at least some fading stardust. While we love the whole ‘call upon the gods’ thing for supernatural aid to save us from our problems, even that couldn’t rescue this story from its fossilized state into a viable work of art. Director Renny Harlin had his hands full in trying to get this movie launched into any kind of workable format.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Hercules attempts the fight to raise himself from slave to ruler.


Additional Thanks

Thank you to Executive Producers Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, John Thompson, and David Varod for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Hercules (Kellan Lutz), Hebe (Gaia Weiss), King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), Sotiris (Liam McIntyre), Chiron (Rade Serbedzija), and Tarak (Johnathon Schaech).



Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Despite its obvious flaws, the legends are difficult to beat for storyline and can be a good choice for movies. To be fair, it's difficult to catch the greatness of heroes on a screen, even if it is the big screen.

Video Critique Available Here:


Ben Meyers

JUNO (Theatrical Release USA 2007)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.7|5.0 Stars ìììì

Juno
challenges viewers, through the eyes of a young pregnant girl, Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page), to see the opportunities life affords for happiness. This offbeat, matter-of-fact film works in almost documentary fashion as it explores Juno MacGuff’s independent decision making processes that cycle from initiating sexual intimacy to discovering pregnancy to moving forward in life. Charmingly, Juno maintains an unusual level of common sense and operates at a down-to-earth level of near-adult autonomy throughout the entire film. In an unusually mature fashion, she accepts responsibility for her choices and carefully weighs all options before she makes a final decision. This creates a very enjoyable film as Juno slowly creates a winning situation for everyone—herself, her boyfriend (Michael Cera), her father (J.K. Simmons) and step-mother (Allison Janney), her baby, and ‘wannabe’ adoptive mother (Jennifer Garner). Juno’s pragmatic life view departs from the hysterical responses of bygone eras and allows viewers sensible, rational resolution for a very old and common life situation. The refreshing ‘pick up the pieces the best you can and start again with what you have been given’ attitude of this film makes it well worth seeing.


Film Poster courtesy of Wikipedia


Storyline

Young Juno MacGuff makes a series of choices that lead to pregnancy.

Additional Thanks

Best work for Director Jason Reitman. Thank you to Executive Producers Joseph Drake, Daniel Dubiecki, Nathan Kahane, and Lianne Halfon for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include : Vanessa Loring (Jennifer Garner), Mark Loring (Jason Bateman), Leah (Olivia Thirlby), Gerta Rauss (Eileen Pedde), and Rollo (Rainn Wilson).



Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. This story presents well on screen.


Video Critique Available :Here:



Ben Meyers

THE KING AND I (Theatrical Release USA 1956)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.1|5.0 Stars ìììì

The King and I
is good, a worthy watch despite its age. While it’s not the best of Rodger and Hammerstein musicals, it holds its own with Yul Brenner and Deborah Kerr perfectly cast to meet each other on equal footing. The script is very well written. The movie kindly looks at the difficulty of moving from old traditions into new modes of thinking and solving problems. The film skillfully weaves in several back stories that increase the depth of the primary story. There is a charming rendition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as interpreted by Siamese dancers that is absolutely worth seeing. The movie has an unexpected resolution that highlights the fact that sometimes it takes generations of time to make necessary changes, but that education and good teachers are the key to making that happen.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

King Mongkut of Siam hires Anna Leonowens to educate royal children.

Additional Thanks

Great work for Director Walter Lang. Thank you to Executive Producer Darryl F. Zanuck for making the film possible. Wonderful music by Richard Rodgers. Terrific writing by screenplay writer Ernest Lehman based on the book by Oscar Hammerstein II/musical play by Margaret Landon. Additional characters/cast include: Tuptim (Rita Moreno), Kralahome (Martin Benson), Lady Thiang (Terry Saunders) Louis Leonowens (Rex Thompson), Lun Tha (Carlos Rivas), and Prince Chylalongkorn (Patrick Adiarte).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes. Excellent discussion material for after-viewing mark this timeless movie as a great re-watch and perfect addition to the family home video library.


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Ben Meyers

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (Theatrical Release USA 1996)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 2.6|5.0 Stars ìì

Sense and Sensibility—
a movie that drags on and on and on. If you like slow British love dramas with a touch of intrigue, repetitive scenes that make you writhe in your seat while silently screaming, “Let’s get the story rolling, pull-eeeeze!,” then you’ll love this film. The movie even comes with a moral of the story, well, sort of. But first, not without a little travail to create the necessary lukewarm and slightly elevated anxiety level we’ve come to expect from British drama.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline 

Two sisters, in their desperate need to get married due to impoverished circumstances, dispatch into the matrimonial world ‘Cinderella-style’ to coveted places quite above their current financial means.

Additional Thanks

Director Ang Lee definitely caught the British style of telling stories in his interpretation of this classic British novel. Thank you to Executive Producer Sydney Pollack for making the film possible. Additional character/cast include: John Dashwood (James Fleet), Mr. Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson), Fanny Dashwood (Harriett Walter), Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet), Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thompson), Mrs. Dashwood (Gemma Jones), Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), and Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It's a piece of literature history that saves one from the agony of reading the book.

Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

MIRROR MIRROR (Theatrical Release USA 2012)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Stars ìììì

Mirror Mirror,
out of the many renditions of the Snow White story, turns into a good film partially due to the great casting choice of Julia Roberts as the Queen. The movie provides a little twist on the personalities of the seven dwarves that definitely catch interest.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Snow White meets her prince and wisely does not bite into the apple.

Additional Thanks

Great work for Director Tarsem Singh. Thank you to Executive Producers Jason Beckman, Robbie Brenner, John Cheng, Jason Colbeck, Jason Colodne, Jamie Marshall, Kevin Misher, Josh Pate, Tommy Turtle, Jeff Waxman, and Tucker Tooley for making the film possible. Additional character/cast include: Snow White (Lily Collins), Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), Brighton (Nathan Lane), Butcher, Grumpy (Martin Klebba), Napoleon (Jordan Prentice), Half Pint (Mark Povinelli), Grub (Joe Gnoffo), Grimm (Danny Woodburn), Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno), Chuckles (Ronald Lee Clark), Charles Renbock (Robert Emms), and King (Sean Bean).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. The movie does not follow the typical Snow White story and creates interest with dialogue and live action rather than animated action.

Video Release Available Here:



Ben Meyers

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (New York Film Festival New York, New York USA 2013)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.7|5.0 Stars ìììì

Inside Llewyn Davis—
another Joel and Ethan Coen classic—becomes one of their best films since O’Brother Where Art Thou (2000), No Country for Old Men (2007) and the True Grit (2010) remake. The film is well acted with some unforgettable scenes.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Folk musician Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) searches for his place in the musical entertainment world.  Caught in the hump of poverty, it seems that everything Llewyn Davis touches goes wrong. Finally, after unreal hardship randomly alleviated by a handful of willing and unwilling friends and a sister who wants him to get a ‘real’ job, Llewyn decides to ‘throw in the towel,’ get a real job, and settle into a conventional life. Even that decision goes horridly awry almost as if an unseen force has determined that Llewyn will fulfill his life doing what he loves to do, but with randomly placed meals, no love, no home, and no pay.

Additional Thanks

Best work for Directors, Producers, and Writers Joel and Ethan Coen. Thank you to Executive Producers Olivier Courson, Robert Graf, and Ron Halpern for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Johnny Five (Garret Hedlund), Roland Turner (John Goodman), Jean (Carey Mulligan), Jim (Justin Timberlake), Mitch Gorfein (Ethan Phillips), Lillian Gorfein (Robin Bartlett), Pappi Corsicato (Max Casella), Mell Novikoff (Jerry Grayson), Joy (Jeanine Serralles), Al Cody (Adam Driver), and Troy Nelson (Stark Sands).



Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. A good watch that gives a close-up view of a musician's life.

Video Critique Available Here:




Ben Meyers

MINIONS (Theatrical Release USA 2015)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.8|5.0 Stars ììì

Minions—
high ratings for overall cuteness, not the best movie ever made, but tolerable; has its own unique place in entertainment—tells how the Minions came to be involved with Gru in the Despicable Me films.

Film Poster Courtesy of  Wikipedia

Storyline

The Minions’ sole desire is to work for a villain master. They usually make mistakes, however, that eliminate their chosen villain. After a serious mistake with the villain Napoleon, they hide out in a cave while becoming increasingly depressed due to the lack of a villain master. Finally, three Minions leave the cave to find a new arch villain and after a series of misadventures eventually find the perfect villain to serve.

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin. Thank you to Executive Producer Chris Renaud for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Scarlett Overkill (voice of Sandra Bullock), Herb Overkill (voice of Jon Hamm), Walter Nelson (voice of Michael Keaton), Professor Flux/Tower Guard (voice of Steve Coogan), and The Queen (Jennifer Saunders).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. This film easily becomes a good choice for the child/adult share.

Video Critique Available Here:





Ben Meyers

CONTACT (Theatrical Release USA 1997)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.9|5.0 Stars ììì

Contact
imagines earth’s first contact with alien life forms via the Arecibo Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence program, the New Mexico Very Large Array program, the Vega star system, and earth’s astronomers. It’s a large deviation from the Hollywood action movies that depict first contact as a struggle against alien domination with the resultant mayhem, bloodshed, and war (see Independence Day, War of the Worlds, Battle: Los Angeles). Contact, an original Carl Sagan movie concept, revolves around Astronomer Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Arroway’s (Jodie Foster) life challenges before being the first person to discover decipherable incoming messages from the Vega star system. Ellie encounters serious challenges to her work in the form of withdrawal of funding, withdrawal of credibility support, greedy usurpation of her ability to speak about her findings, denigration of her status as a free thinker, and promotion of others ahead of her to travel into deep space to solve the mystery of the source of the messages. But, as in real life, small breaks come when all seems lost. In this case, she receives a new post at New Mexico’s satellite array; a billion-dollar engineer, S. R. Hadden (John Hurt), funds her work and tells her about a Japanese launch capsule that will transport her to Vega. There is an interesting scene where Ellie is transported to a previously imagined Florida beach and is approached by a materialized form that looks like her dad who tells her that this is first contact as if promising there will be much more to come. When she arrives back on earth, high level officials show her video footage that seems to support that she never left earth and her story becomes entirely discredited. The movie ends with a White House cover up.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Additional Thanks

Really good work for Director and Producer Robert Zemeckis. Thank you to Executive Producers Joan Bradshaw and Lynda Obst for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Young Ellie (Jena Malone), Fisher (Geoffrey Blake), Kent (William Fichtner), Vernon (SaMi Chester), Ted Arroway (David Morse), and Davio (Timothy McNeil).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It is an interesting, good watch because it is different from the usual alien movie.

Video Critique Available Here:




Ben Meyers


COLLATERAL (Theatrical Release USA 2004)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.9|5.0 Stars ìììì

Collateral,
 another Director Michael Mann masterpiece, fills itself with eye-popping, eye-opening action that provides 'edge of the seat' entertainment. Casting creates a charismatic symphony with Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, and Jada Pinkett Smith in lead roles. Collateral provides a great thrill ride.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

One night in the life of a taxi cab driver (Jamie Foxx) who is co-opted to drive a professional hit man (Tom Cruise) around as the hit man attempts to take seven targets.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Executive Producers Frank Darabont, Rob Fried, Peter Giuliano, and Chuck Russell for making the film possible. The Musical Composer is James Newton Howard. The script written by Stuart Beattie. Additional characters include: Fanning (Mark Ruffalo), Richard Weidner (Peter Berg), Pedrosa (Bruce McGill), Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Ida (Irma P. Hall).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Director Michael Mann performs at his best level.  

Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

AMERICAN GRAFFITI (Theatrical Release USA 1973)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.6|5.0 Stars ìììì

America Graffiti
surprises and delights. Do not expect a high school musical with lots of sexual references and nudity. Expect, instead, a perfectly rated PG movie that produces good, clean entertainment that is worth every one of its 112 minutes. It’s a George Lucas film that has been rated as historically significant and placed into the National Film Registry. The film covers the time span of one evening by detailing the 1960s practice of cruising, picking up girls, eating at drive-in restaurants, street racing, and ‘making out’ in out-of-the-way places. Two of the high school graduates, Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) and his friend Steve (Ron Howard) waiver on their decision to go to college. A hot rodder, Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford), flips his car in a racing car accident and future plans are changed and solidified for everyone involved.

Flm Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Additional Thanks

The film is a Best Work Effort for Director George Lucas. Thank you to Producer Francis Ford Coppola for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: John (Paul Le Mat), Terry (Charles Martin Smith), Laurie (Cindy Williams), Debbie (Candy Clark), Carol (Mackenzie Phillips), Disc Jockey (Wolfman Jack), Joe (Bo Hopkins), and Carlos (Manuel Padilla Jr.)



Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It's a work of art that nicely captures a period in America's maturation process.

Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

CHEF (Montclair Film Festival, Montclair New Jersey USA 2014)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.8|5.0 Stars ìììì

Chef
, a very good movie from Director Jon Favreau (who gained significant presence with Cowboys and Aliens), scores because of its originality. The film portrays the life of a chef working for others and the difference a change makes as he enters the entrepreneurial world of the ‘on-the-street cooking wagon.’  Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) overpowers the other actors in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the film due to his strong film presence, but the rest of the film works as the viewer settles into the story. The movie comfortably interweaves a secondary theme of family conflict into its primary story while giving a hefty understanding of how social media can work for you or against you. Chef Carl Casper receives a poor review from a restaurant critic. After reading the critic’s tweet, he responds publicly to the tweet and writes that he will prove he is a great chef and challenges the critic to come back and try a new menu. Chef Carl Casper develops a new menu, the release of which is short-circuited by the owner of the restaurant. Unable to redeem himself, Chef Carl Casper ends in the position of publicly and verbally assaulting the restaurant critic. The situation goes viral on the Internet and Chef Carl officially loses his job. He travels to Miami with his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) and begins a new life by buying a food truck. His Internet reputation follows him, however, and he finds himself inundated with customers interested in the final proof that he is indeed a great chef. The story winds down to a satisfactory conclusion. The film is a good family watch.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Jon Favreau for directing efforts, Thank you to Executive Producers Marina Bespalov, James D. Brubaker, Craig Chapman, Philip Elway, Gleb Fetisov, Jerry and Peter Fruchtman, Karen Gilchrist, Jere Hausfater, Mark C. Manuel, Ted O’Neal, Jason Rose, Dylan Russell, Anne Sheehan, Tim Smith, Scott Steindorff, Boris Teterev, Oleg Teterin, Mark Brooke, and Molly Allen for making the film possible. Additional character/cast include: Tony (Bobby Cannavale), Molly (Scarlett Johansson), Jen (Amy Sedaris), Miami Cop (Russell Peters), Riva (Dustin Hoffman), Co-Worker Martin (John Leguizamo), Ex-husband Marvin (Robert Downey, Jr.), Percy (Emjay Anthony), and Restaurant Critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. A wonderful film for adults.


Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

THE ‘BURBS (Theatrical Release USA 1989)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.6|5.0 Stars ììì

The ‘Burbs
teams Bruce Dern with Tom Hanks, Rick Ducommun, and Carrie Fisher to produce a comical portrayal of  old neighbors versus newcomers. The movie starts well and paces itself to a surprise conclusion. It’s a fair to middling comedy—clean, a nice Sunday afternoon family entertainment piece.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Snoopy neighbors entertain initial suspicions about neighborhood newcomers to the point of irrationality.

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Director Joe Dante. Thank you to Executive Producer Ron Howard for making the film possible. Additional character/cast include: Carol Peterson (Carrie Fisher), Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman), Bonnie Rumsfield (Wendy Schaal), Dr. Werner Klopek (Henry Gibson), Uncle Reuben Klopek (Brother Theodore), Hans Klopek (Courtney Gains), Art Weingartner (Rick Ducommun), Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks), and Lieutenant (Ret.) Mark Rumsfeld (Bruce Dern).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. While the film does not keep a steady comedic pace, it entertains.


Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

TRAIL OF THE PANDA * (Theatrical Release USA 2009)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.6|5.0 Stars ììì

Trail of the Panda
wins the gold star because of its exotic scenery; true-to-life portrayal of rural life; and its simple, realistic, and unaffected understanding of basic human emotion. It’s presented in the Chinese language with English subtitles which, interestingly, adds to the viewer’s ability to absorb the film’s impact at a deeper level. Scientist (Feng Li) hires Stableman (Liu Chang) to capture a Panda cub. They find a female Panda with two cubs and attempt to capture one cub. The cub flees and the two men attempt to trail it but are forced to abandon the search due to heavy Chinese wilderness rainfall. The Panda cub tries to climb a small hill; but, trips on slippery, wet weeds and falls to the bottom of the hill and knocks himself unconscious on a thin rock. The stableman’s adopted boy, Lu (Daichi Harashima), finds the Panda the next morning, rescues it, and hides it away from the two men. The rest of the story revolves around the developing attachment between Lu and the Panda and the resolution of the Panda’s fate.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Zhong Yu. Thank you to Executive Producer Christopher J. Brough for making the film possible. Additional characters include: Lu as an Adult (Yu Zhaong), Lu (voice of Yu Xin Sun), Narrator (Ke Qi Jian), Chen (Qi Zhang), and Scientist (voice of Matthew Yang King).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Simple and somewhat a good watch.

* Also known as Touch of the Panda or Xiong mao hui jia lu

Video Critique Available Here:



Ben Meyers

NEED FOR SPEED (Theatrical Release USA 2014)

 Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.3|5.0 Stars ìììì

Need for Speed
feels like Smokey and the Bandit updated with some class and deeply re-coated in Jeremy Clarkson’s previous Top Gear United Kingdom television series. If you love getting acquainted with upper class automobiles, get ready for a real treat. You’re going to see the Koenigsegg Agera R (three of them), Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, GTA Spano, McLaren P1, Saleen S7, Bugatti Veyron, and a Ford Shelby Mustang along with some terrific racing scenes a la Hollywood style. The film even comes with a moral: Bad guys get caught; good guys are good guys and will win in the long run. Terrific scenes featuring the best views of some of the world’s top performance automobiles, make this film soar. The film has a PG-13 rating and serves up a surprisingly and refreshingly clean script...perhaps because everything moves so fast there’s no time for anything else.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

A neighborhood garage serves as a place where young car geeks modify old muscle cars for street racing. Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul), the owner of the garage, receives an invite to race one of three Koenigsegg Agera Rs with his friend Little Pete (Harrison Gilbertson) and a competitor, Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Foul play by Dino Brewster kills Little Pete, but Tobey Marshall gets the rap and serves prison time. The rest of the story becomes a race to get even.

Additional Thanks

Great work for Director Scott Waugh. Thank you to Executive Producers Stuart M. Besser, Frank Gibeau, Max Leitman, Tim Moore, Patrick Soderlund, and Scott Waugh for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Julia Maddon (Imogen Poots), Benny (Scott Mescudi), Finn (Rami Malek), Joe Peck (Ramon Rodriguez), Anita (Dakota Johnson), Bill Ingram (Stevie Ray Dallimore), and Monarch (Michael Keaton).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. This is a best of the best entertainment for high-end automobile buffs.


Video Critique Available Here:





Ben Meyers