NEBRASKA (Cannes Film Festival Cannes France 2013)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.5|5.0 Stars ììì

Nebraska
—one of the best 2013 films for authenticity and fresh storyline—provides unique mixtures of comedy and compassion as history and long unresolved conflicts between friends, relatives, and business partners are re-opened. The film is a terrific black and white celebration of the comedic elements that make up the structure and patchwork of life as it is lived in rural, small town America. Bruce Dern lends his amazing acting talent for the part of the aging Woody Grant which part is beautifully complimented by Will Forte as son David Grant, June Squibb as nagging wife Kate Grant, and Bob Odenkirk as son Ross Grant. This is not a family film as sexual references and language place this film into the mature adult category.

Movie Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Two sons endeavor to help their aging father, who believes he has won a million dollar sweepstakes from a scam award letter, reconcile his belief with the reality. 

Additional Thanks

Good Work for Director Alexander Payne. Thank you to Executive Producers Doug Mankoff, Neil Tabatznik, Julie M. Thompson, and George Parra for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Ed Pegram (Stacy Keach), Uncle Ray (Rance Howard), Bart Grant (Tim Driscoll), Aunt Martha (Mary Louise Wilson), Peg Nagy (Angela McEwan), Cole Grant (Devin Ratray), and Aunt Betty (Glendora Stitt).



Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. The script is skillfully written with well-seasoned, flavorful dialogue.

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Ben Meyers

THE SANDLOT (Theatrical Release USA 1993)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.9|5.0 Stars ììì

The Sandlot
—living childhood fully to include the once-in-awhile bloodied knee—creates a classic kids’ film that uses child actors to their maximum potential. The script even includes the evil, boy-eating neighborhood dog that nearly every child remembers from his youth. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) moves into a neighborhood after his mom (Karen Allen) and his step-dad Bill (Denis Leary) marry. Scotty meets Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez (Mike Vitar) and his crew of baseball players who play on a sandlot after school. At first, Scotty watches and then Ben calls Scotty to make the 9th player for a no-show. Scotty gains confidence and over time becomes a valuable part of the team. Along their journey they befriend Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones), owner of a dog who has kept every baseball ever hit into its yard, and they manage to survive Scotty’s ill-advised use of his step-father’s Babe Ruth-signed baseball. The film comes to nice closure by showing how the sandlot adventures impact the boys’ adult lives.

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Director David M. Evans. Thank you to Executive Producers Mark Burg, Cathleen Summers, and Chris Zarpas for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: The Babe (Art LeFleur), Hamilton ‘Ham’ Porter (Patrick Renna), Michael ‘Squints’ Palledorous (Chauncey Leopardi), Alan ‘Yeah-Yeah’ McClennan (Marty York), Kenny DeNunez (Brandon Quintin Adams), Bertram Grover Weeks (Grant Gelt), Tommy ‘Repeat’ Timmons (Shane Obedzinski), Timmy Timmons (Victor DiMattia), and Wendy Peffercorn (Marley Shelton).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. This is a good sports movie about growing up and making friends.

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Ben Meyers

THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK (Theatrical Release USA 1997)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.6|5.0 Stars ìììì

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
—classic Spielberg entertainment—easily earns its right for your time and monetary expenditure. Spielberg ramps up the action, danger, and drama with humans invading dinosaur territory and provoking killer instincts from extremely large predators. Jeff Goldblum (character Dr. Ian Malcolm) performs his onscreen magic with Julianne Moore (character Sarah Harding), Vanessa Lee Chester (character Kelly Curtis Malcolm), and Richard Attenborough (character John Hammond). This time we are taken on an adventure to Isla Sorna, an island where both male and female dinosaurs were originally cloned to be moved to Jurassic Park for display. Absolutely terrific special effects.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Additional Thanks

Best Work for Director Steven Spielberg. Thank you to Executive Producer Kathleen Kennedy for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite), Dieter Stark (Peter Stormare), Ajay Sidhu (Harvey Jason), Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard), Dr. Robert Burke (Thomas F. Duffy), Tim (Joseph Mazzello), Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff), Lex (Ariana Richards), Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn), and Carter (Thomas Rosales, Jr.).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. This great sequel works wonderfully for Steven Spielberg fans.

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Ben Meyers

PIONEER (Toronto International Film Festival Toronto Canada 2013)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.8|5.0 Stars ììì

Pioneer 
becomes a hard-to-follow, thinly plotted story with some suspense.  The Norwegian film is additionally hampered due to language in Norwegian and subtitles in English. It is an interesting story that gets more involved as it tells its story. It probably would do better on a remake with a deeper, more sophisticated storyline. The acting, however, is exceptionally authentic and strong.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

An exploration of a 1980s deep diving accident in the North Sea.


Additional Thanks

Really good work for Director and Writer Erik Skjoldbjærg. Thank you to Executive Producers Lone Korslund and Asle Vatn for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Petter Jensen (Aksel Hennie), Knut Jensen (André Erikson), Mike (Wes Bentley), John Ferris (Stephen Lang), Maria Salatzar (Stephanie Sigman), Ronald (Jonathan LaPaglia), Pia (Ane Dahl Torp), Leif (Jørgen Langhelle), and Jørgen Heimland (David A. Jørgensen).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It's an interesting international story with a strong Norwegian flavor.

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Ben Meyers

JURASSIC PARK (Theatrical Release USA 1993)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.8|5.0 Stars ìììì

Jurassic Park
—one of the best movies of 1993—becomes a unique classic from its opening scenes. One of the highest grossing films ever made, it uses the acting talents of Richard Attenborough (John Hammond), known for his direction of Chaplin, Ghandi, and A Bridge Too Far, and for his acting in films such as The Great Escape, Flight of the Phoenix, The Sand Pebbles, and the Rex Harrison version of Doctor Dolittle. This film outstandingly portrays the acting talents of Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant, paleontologist), Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler, paleobotanist), Samuel L. Jackson (Arnold), and Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm). 

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler get the thrill of their lives when they are introduced to an island park that contains cloned, living dinosaurs. As they tour the park, a computer programmer turns off the electricity that keeps the dinosaurs within safe bounds behind electrical fences. A Tyrannosaurus Rex breaks through the inactivated fence and begins investigation of the spectators by ‘taking out’ a man hiding in an outhouse where he had fled for safety. The creature terrorizes Dr. Grant, Dr. Ian Malcolm, and the rest of the spectators. The story becomes survival of the fittest with the dinosaurs appearing to be the fittest.

Additional Thanks

Best work for Director Steven Spielberg. Thank you to Producers Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen for making the film possible. Additional character/cast include: Tim (Joseph Mezello), Lex (Ariana Richards), Muldoon (Bob Peck), Gennaro (Martin Ferrero), Wu (B.D. Wong), Harding (Gerald R. Molen), Rostagno (Miguel Sandoval), and Dodgson(Cameron Thor).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. New concept, creative.

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Ben Meyers

ARGO (Telluride Film Festival Berkeley California USA 2012)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Stars ìììì

Argo
—not the best in its category, but definitely worth watching—reaches that authentic feeling not often found in media entertainment. The film, based on a true story, causes deep reflection about those who serve in U.S. Embassies, the difficulties of exfiltration when country relationships go sour, and the role movie making can play in saving people's lives.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

U.S. Embassy workers caught and held hostage in the 1979 Iranian Crisis, the CIA’s plan to exfiltrate embassy workers, and Hollywood's courageous involvement in that activity.


Additional Thanks

Great work for Director and Producer Ben Affleck. Thank you to Executive Producers Chris Brigham, Chay Carter, Graham King, David Klawans, Nina Worlasky, and Tim Headington for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston), Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), John Chambers (John Goodman), Ken Taylor (Victor Garber), Bob Anders (Tate Donovan), Cora Lijek (Clea DuVall), and Joe Stafford (Scoot McNairy).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Provocative and intense.


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Ben Meyers

WALT BEFORE MICKEY (Theatrical Release USA 2015)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.2|5.0 Stars ìììì

Walt Before Mickey—
a biopic almost as good as Saving Mr. Banks, a documentary about Disney’s making of the Mary Poppins film. While some critics have complained that this movie does not portray Disney’s personality well and have rated it low, Ben Meyers International gives it a solid 4-star rating for its complete entertainment and educational value. The film provides a wide range view of Disney’s life from his youth to his final success. The movie can be appreciated for the frankness of detailing the difficulties of his climb through the ranks to become one of the best animators in the business. The documentary spares none of the brutal reality of not being able to pay bills, meet payroll, eating from garbage cans, sleeping on the floor of his animation room after breaking in because the front door has been barred to prevent his entry. It is a story of courage and daring and family and disappointment and hardship that lends all the credence in the world to the song, “If You Wish Upon A Star.” Today the Disney legacy continues with Disney’s ABC Television Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, acquisition of Lucas Films, and with its distribution of Japan’s Studio Ghibli films. Disney’s continual dedication to advances in computer animation and its persistent courageous voyages into live action film with movies like Tron: Legacy, John Carter, The Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Star Wars' sequels continue to build the Disney dream. If Walt Disney were here today, he would be proud of the advancements that his company continues to make. Thank you, Walt, for making the world a better place to live, for reminding us that dreams really do come true, and that the world belongs to the dreamer. In this documentary, Thomas Ian Nicholas acts the part of Disney and does an outstanding job. The movie takes the audience from Disney’s youth, when he could not stop drawing on anything and everything he could find; his young manhood when he works as a studio artist; and then, with newly found friend, Ub Iwerks (Armando Gutierrez), starts his own business with a barn as a studio. This film documents his failures; his recruitment of his older brother, Roy Disney (Jon Heder), to join him as a financing manager; to his ‘new’ story of Mortimer Mouse who becomes Mickey Mouse—and the rest is, of course, Disney history.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Additional Thanks

Great work for Director Khoa Le. Thank you to Executive Producers Arthur L. Bernstein, Christopher Dosen, Armando Gutierrez, Ben McConley, Jim Nichols, Michele Alexanne Packer, Jeff Rice, Peter K. Scaturro, and Robert Spiegel for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Charlotte Disney (Jodie Sweetin), Rudy Ising (David Henrie), Lillian Disney (Kate Katzman), Bridgit (Ayla Kell), Friz Freleng (Taylor Gray), Frank L. Newman (Arthur L. Bernstein), Hugh Harman (Hunter Gomez), and Young Walt (Owen Teague).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?
Yes. The director, executive producers, and cast make a wonderful screen presentation.

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Ben Meyers

THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY (Theatrical Release Botswana, South Africa 1980)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.8|5.0 Stars ìììì

The Gods Must Be Crazy
—classic comedy adventure film set in Africa—is an absolutely ‘don’t miss it film’. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, really enjoyable, great to watch, an excellent foreign film. African bushman, Xi (N!xau), is compelled, in order to maintain his tribes’ harmonious and peaceful lifestyle, to dispose of a Coca-Cola bottle that falls from the sky into his tribe’s village hunting grounds. Although exceptionally useful, the object has become evil as everyone in his village covets it and fights over it. Xi begins a journey to the edge of the earth where he can give the coca-cola bottle back to the gods and he finds that the world is a much larger place than he knew and that the coca-cola bottle is more difficult to dispose of than he ever would have thought. Excellent film. Perfect choice for a family. Highly entertaining.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Additional Thanks

Best Work for Director Jamie Uys. Thank you to Executive Producer Boet Troskie for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Andrew Steyn (Marius Weyers), Kate Thompson (Sandra Prinsloo), Sam Boga (Louw Verwey), Mpudi (Michael Thys), Jack Hind (Nic De Jager), Card 1 (Fanyana H. Sidumo), Card 2 (Joe Seakatsie), Mr. Thompson (Brian O’Shaughnessy), President (Ken Gampu), and Narrator (Paddy O’Byrne).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. WOW! BRAVO! This film puts a wonderful story on screen.

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Ben Meyers

LIFE ITSELF (Ebert Film Festival Champaign Illinois USA 2014)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.7|5.0 Stars ìììì

Life Itself
—a documentary tribute to movie critic Roger Ebert—tells its story with flash forward/flash back screen shots that show personal and professional growth over his professional career. The film contains good detail of Ebert’s evolving professional relationship with Gene Siskel from 1975 through 1999 with archival footage showing both their on screen debates and off screen patter/rivalry. Ebert’s personal life as he meets and marries Charlie ‘Chaz’ Hammel-Smith is included as well as vivid shots of the pain of his battle with cancer in early 2000 through 2006 until his death in 2013. The positive tone and dedication to a high work ethic give this documentary good value for viewing.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

The documentary details Roger Ebert's life both personally and as a film critic.

Additional Thanks

Best Work for Director Steve James. A sincere thank you to Executive Producer Mark Mitten, Martin Scorsese, Justine Nagan, Gordon Quinn, Kat White, and Steven Zaillian for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Martin Scorsese (Himself), Werner Herzog (Himself), Ava DuVernay (Herself), Chaz Ebert (Herself), Errol Morris (Himself), Ramin Bahrani (Himself), Roger Ebert (voice of Stephen Stanton), and Gregory Nava (Himself).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. This gives Roger Ebert high praise and works for Ebert fans. 

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Ben Meyers

EARTH TO ECHO (Theatrical Release USA 2014)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.5|5.0 Stars ìììì

Earth to Echo
had a $13,000,000 budget. It is difficult to see where that money was invested as the film appears to have been made on a shoestring budget. It uses relatively new and mostly unknown actors and home-video-type filming technique to tell its story. But, somehow the home-style video camera effect works as it creates realism for this sci-fi story. The script is loose, appealing to a young ‘Hardy Boys’-type crowd as the three boys have little parental supervision. The special effects of the alien repairing itself is very well done as is the repair of the space ship. It’s unsettling, but innovative, to see such terrific special effects for these scenes paired with home video-type imagery.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

A severely injured alien marooned on Planet Earth coupled with a government closure of a nice suburban neighborhood begin the story. Three neighborhood boys—Alex (Teo Halm), Tuck (Astro), and Munch (Reese Hartwig)—discover glitches in their cellular phones, follow the source of the glitches, find the alien, trace all of its missing parts so it can self-repair itself, return it to its spaceship, and return the alien home. 


Additional Thanks

Great work for Director Dave Green. Thank you to Executive Producers Jason Beckman, Robbie Brenner, Jason Colodne, Mark Benton Johnson, David Miller, Tucker Tooley, and Jack Kavanaugh for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Emma (Ella Wahlestedt), Dr. Lawrence Madsen (Jason Gray-Stanford), Marcus Simms (Algee Smith), Calvin Simms (Cassius M. Willis), and Theresa Simms (Sonya Leslie).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. These three boys are smarter than the average kid on the block, appear to have little parental supervision, have enough chutzpah to drive vehicles without valid driver’s licenses, take nighttime ventures without parental supervision, and stay up all day and all night without adults noticing severe breaks in schedule. This is definitely appealing to the pre-teen and young teen audience. It's a good family watch.

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Ben Meyers

RUGRATS: GO WILD (Theatrical Release USA 2003)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Stars ìììì

Rugrats: Go Wild—
great animated feature—mixes Nickelodeon’s Rugrats with The Wild Thornberrys television series for good family film entertainment. The movie provides a sensational character combination when it pairs Angelica Pickles (voice of Cheryl Chase) with Debbie Thornberry (voice of Danielle Harris) in some hilarious scenes of two divas with the same mind set: ‘out for themselves’ and ‘every one serves me’ personalities. The rest of the cast does not disappoint in entertainment value. 

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

The Pickles family wants to go on vacation, so they round up everyone in their expanded family to take a ‘cruise’. But Stuart ‘Stu’ Pickles (voice of Jack Riley) rents a used, severely dilapidated fishing boat, without anyone’s permission, and the ‘luxury’ cruise sets sail with an extremely disgruntled crew. A big wave hits the boat. It capsizes and the family escapes to an island by means of a lifeboat. Meanwhile the Thornberrys have a camp on the other side of the island in preparation for looking for the elusive clouded leopard. The story is on as the Pickles try to solve their dilemma. Fun and frolic as the babies head into the jungle, the adults argue, and the two families collide.

Additional Thanks

Great work for Directors John Eng and Norton Virgien. Thank you to Executive Producers Eryk Casemiro, Julia Pistor, Hal Waite, and Albie Hecht for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Tommy Pickles (voice of Elizabeth Daily), Chuckie Finster (voice of Nancy Cartwright), Phil, Lil and Betty DeVille (voice of Kath Soucie), Kimi Finster (voice of Dionne Quan), Nigel Thornberry (voice of Tim Curry), Grandpa Lou Pickles (voice of Joe Alaskey), Charlotte Pickles (voice of Tress MacNeille), Spike (Bruce Willis), Donnie Thornberry (Flea), Eliza Thornberry (Lacey Chabert), and Drew Pickles/Charles ‘Chaz’ Finster, Sr. (voice of Michael Bell).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. This film is perfect for fans of these two shows.

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Ben Meyers

DAYS OF THUNDER (Theatrical Release USA 1990)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.8|5.0 Stars ììì

Days of Thunder—
interesting, but not the best NASCAR film out there—tells its story with actors Robert Duvall and Tom Cruise. Robert Duvall, although a great actor, is not the best pick for this racing movie because he seems to be too 'laid back' to ‘bounce off' Tom Cruise's more intense personality. For example, when Duvall is in argument with Tom Cruise over a lost race, Tom Cruise seems to dominate the scene. This film is one of Tom Cruise’s earlier works that shows his talent for acting. He performs well throughout the film.  A little romance with Nicole Kidman intersperses the story's great racing and pit crew scenes.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

A young man recruits into the NASCAR circuit, experiences challenges and competition, builds friends, balances wins with losses, and finds romance.

Additional Thanks

Really good work for Director Tony Scott. Thank you to Executive Producer Gerald R. Molen for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Tim Daland (Randy Quaid), Russ Wheeler (Cary Elwes), Rowdy Burns (Michael Rooker), Big John (Fred Dalton Thompson), and Buck Bretherton (John C. Reilly).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It's a good study on Tom Cruise's early career.

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Ben Meyers

ESCAPE FROM L.A. (Theatrical Release USA 1996)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.2|5.0 Stars ììì

Escape from L.A.,
the sequel to Escape from New York (1981),
 has its own unique story-telling flair, almost a Marvel comic/Mad Max feel to it without the quality of Mad Max. It’s a classic B-grade movie that holds attention despite its laugh-out-loud narration and dialog. It’s a ‘worth some of your time, but not your ticket money’ movie.  It’s a 1990s sci-fi action story that fills a boring Saturday afternoon with a few good action scenes and a fun portrayal of henchman, Stars Eddie (Steve Buscemi).

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Bad boy, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), has been recruited to save America from a possible reboot into the dark ages and is transported to the earthquake-made Island Los Angeles/Santa Monica/Malibu to retrieve control of a super weapon that has the ability to take out the world’s electrical power.

Additional Thanks

Good work for Director John Carpenter. Thank you to Producers Debra Hill and Kurt Russell for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Pipeline (Peter Fonda), Cuervo Jones (Georges Corraface), President (Cliff Robertson), Taslima (Valaria Golino), Commander Malloy (Stacy Keach), Hershe Las Palmas (Pam Grier), and Surgeon General of Beverly Hills (Bruce Campbell).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Not a quality flick, but a 'fun' flick.


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Ben Meyers

JOBS (Sundance Film Festival Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance Utah USA 2013)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Stars ìììì

Jobs
fails in casting, storyline, and scripting. The film lacks emotional content. Ashton Kutcher (acting Steve Jobs) has a face that plays comedy well, but as a Steve Jobs character? Not a good choice. If there is a remake left, remake with a different casting department. The film attempts to tell the Steve Jobs’ story, his involvement with Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad), the initial marketing for a motherboard, and Jobs' envisioning of the Apple computer label. Jobs’ foray into Hollywood/Pixar Studios is not explored nor is his ousting from Apple Corporation well portrayed. The viewer is left, at best, with a feeling of ‘incomplete’ and no deep understanding of Jobs’ personality or moral drivers. Superficial at best, the film doesn’t deliver at its most optimum level.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia


Additional Thanks

Great Work for Director Joshua Michael Stern. Thank you to Executive Producers Arthur E. Benjamin, Ronald Bulard, Michael Cain, Florian Dargel, Sheri Deterling, Douglas E. Hansen, John Harrison, Bill Johnson, Melina McKinnon, Jacob Pechenik, Marcos Rodriguez, Gerd Schepers, Jim Seibel, James D. Stern, and David Traub for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney), Daniel Kottke (Lukas Haas), John Sculley (Mattew Modine), Arthur Rock (J.K. Simmons), Clara Jobs (Lesley Ann Warren), and Rod Holt (Ron Eldard).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Even though this film fails in emotional appeal, it peaks interest.  


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Ben Meyers

COLD MOUNTAIN (Theatrical Release USA 2003)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Stars ìììì

Cold Mountain—
a United States Civil War flick—provides views into the war through the eyes of a clergyman’s daughter, Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman), as she struggles to live with no training in survival. The film just misses the epic status and definitely is worth watching despite some completely unnecessary and highly explicit, immoral scenes plugged into the middle of the movie. These scenes take the film beyond R-rating status and definitely take the movie out of what could have been a very good family watch. The film provides an interesting look into the lives of deserters as they find their way home, the reception they receive, and the unpleasant ending many of them succumb to. At box office the movie makes about $2 for every $1 invested, a large difference from movies that take more care to include family audiences within their viewing range. Watch out for unexpected, extreme nudity and sexual content.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Ada Monroe, who has fallen in love with Inman (Jude Law) just before he is called to war, struggles to wait for him to come home while slowly starving to death. The introduction of a farm girl, Rube Thewes (Renee Zellweger), who takes a strong hand in helping Ada Monroe learn the basics of farm life, is a piece of art as are the interactions between Rube Thewes and her father Stobrod Thewes (Brendan Gleeson).

Additional Thanks

Great work for Director Anthony Minghella. Thank you to Executive Producers Bob Osher, Iain Smith, Bob Weinstein, and Harvey Weinstein for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Reverend Veasey (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Sara (Natalie Portman), Junior (Giovanni Ribisi), Reverend Monroe (Donald Sutherland), Teague (Ray Winstone), Sally Swanger (Kathy Baker), and Esco Swanger (James Gammon).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. The overall storyline works at the classic level.

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Ben Meyers

THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY II (Theatrical Release Japan 1988)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.7|5.0 Stars ìììì

The Gods Must Be Crazy
II—clean, family entertainment with a refreshing innocence not often seen in American Hollywood-style movies—demonstrates that a thoroughly entertaining movie portraying moral character and real family emotion can be made that not only gives the audience a strong bang for its buck, but also brings good financial return. While the sequel is not as good as the first film in the series, it’s a real treat that one doesn’t want to miss. Acting again relies on the talents of Bushman Xixo (Nixau) as he looks for his children after they have inadvertently boarded a poacher's truck heading out of bushman territory. It’s fun entertainment as hospitality, helping others in need, and love of family push this story to a very happy ending.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia


Storyline

Two Bushman boys accidentally board a poacher's truck heading out of Bushman territory.

Additional Thanks

Best Work for Director Jamie Uys. Thank you to Producer Boet Troskie for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Dr. Ann Taylor (Lena Farugia), Dr. Stephen Marshall (Hans Strydom), Xiri (Eiros), Xisa (Nadies), Mateo (Erick Bowen), Timi (Treasure Tshabalala), and George (Pierre Van Pletzen).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. One of the best international films on the entertainment market.

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Ben Meyers

THE POLAR EXPRESS (Theatrical Release USA 2004)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.8|5.0 Stars ìììì

The Polar Express—
terrific, don’t miss it—contains enough imaginative, animated effect to entertain children and adults. Well-presented, with great character voicing (especially the voice of Eddie Deezen as the character, Know-it-all), the film is shockingly pleasing and wonderful with each new scene that unfolds. The film performs as one of Director Robert Zemeckis’ best animated movies to the date of 2004. This movie belongs in the permanent home library video collection as a seasonal re-watch. It's classic.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

A doubting boy who has nearly decided to cross over the line from belief to non-belief in Santa Claus receives intervention in the form of an all-expense paid trip to the North Pole on the Polar Express train. He waivers as the conductor hollers, “All Aboard!” and then makes the decision that begins the rest of the story as he runs through deep snow to catch a train ride that will forever change his life.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Executive Producers Tom Hanks, Chris Van Allsburg, and Jack Rapke for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Hero Boy, Father, Conductor, Hobo, Scrooge, Santa Claus (voice of Tom Hanks), Sister Sarah, Mother (voice of Leslie Zemeckis), Hero Girl (voice of Nona Gaye), and Billy the Lonely Boy (voice of Peter Scolari).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It’s a fresh Christmas story with a pleasant re-examination of the value of believing in Santa Claus.


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Ben Meyers

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