SUDDEN IMPACT (Theatrical Release USA 1983)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.3|5.0 Starsììì

Sudden Impact—
the fourth installment of the Dirty Harry films—performs on the same level as Magnum Force, the second installment of the series. Remember that Dirty Harry films are for the mature, adult audience.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Ray Parkins (Audrie Neenan) recommends two sisters go out with some boys on the boardwalk outside a carnival. The date turns into gang rape and one sister spends the rest of her life as a vegetable living in a mental home due to the mental trauma. Ten years later the other sister, Jennifer Spencer (Sondra Locke), seeks revenge on the men by murdering them one after another. Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) involved with his own challenges with gang members directed by crime boss, Threlkis (Michael V. Gazzo), meets Jennifer and the two stories become intertwined for an action-packed final conclusion.

Additional Thanks

Good work for Director and Producer Clint Eastwood. Thank you to Executive Producer Fritz Manes for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Chief Jannings (Pat Hingle), Captain Briggs (Bradford Dillman), Mick (Paul Drake), Kruger (Jack Thibeau), Lieutenant Donnelly (Michael Currie), Horace King (Albert Popwell), and Officer Bennett (Mark Keyloun).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. If you are a Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood fan, the film does not betray the series’ tradition.

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Ben Meyers

SPIES LIKE US (Theatrical Review USA 1985)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.3|5.0 Starsììì

Spies Like Us—
typical of the ‘comedy isn’t for everyone anymore’ move—tries for the mature laugh through raunchy scenes and dialogue. As a result, an idea that could have made some real box office dollars and launched a very good, family comedy television series ends boxed for a specific, narrowly defined audience and we all go home feeling bored, jaded, slightly exhausted, world-weary, and cheated. The humor found in F-Troop, the Herbie series, even Don Knotts’ The Shakiest Gun in the West, or Bob Hope’s Paleface and films of like humor would have been more appreciated than the tired humor this film presents.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

The story is about bunglers Emmet Fitz-Hume (Chevy Chase) and Austin Millbarge (Dan Aykroyd) who the United States Defense Intelligence Agency decides to use as expendable decoys for a higher level operation. The two ‘spies’ mismanage affairs to the point of launching a nuclear missile against the United States and somehow manage a happy ending to their story despite everything.

Additional Thanks

Good work for Director John Landis. Thank you to Executive Producer Bernie Brillstein for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: General Sline (Steve Forrest), Karen Boyer (Donna Dixon), Mr. Ruby (Bruce Davison), Colonel Rumbus (Bernie Casey), Mr. Keyes (William Prince), General Miegs (Tom Hatten), and Test Monitor (Frank Oz).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

No. It’s a tired rendition of everything we’ve seen and heard before and really do not want to see again.

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Ben Meyers

SCOOBY-DOO (Theatrical Release USA 2002)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.5|5.0 Starsììì

Scooby-Doo
, a blockbuster that grossed $275.7 million on an $84 million budget, reminds us of how much we loved the cartoon.  The live casting is superb with actors that look so much like their cartoon characters that it is unreal. While in some scenes the actors seem a little uncomfortable in their role, the script could use some improvement, and the storyline becomes more than unrealistic—almost goofy at times—it is still a good trip down memory lane for anyone raised with the televised Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? cartoon series. The film comes with a simple ‘moral of the story’—do the best you can and you will be respected for your effort.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

The famous mystery team dissolves over petty arguments, but find themselves once again united to solve the curse of Spooky Island where tourist guests seem to suffer demonic attack. The mystery team finds that, instead of the usual ‘human behind the scenes’ culprit, this island is indeed controlled by very real demons who possess guests and create general havoc everywhere. Thanks, once again, to the ‘bungling efforts’ of Scooby-Doo (voice of Neil Fanning)  and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) the day is saved with all evil banished and happiness in the form of an all-you-can-eat buffet the reward for bravery and courage.

Additional Thanks

Good Work for Director Raja Gosnell. Thank you to Executive Producers Joseph Barbera, Robert Engelman, Kelley Smith-Wait, Andrew Mason, and William Hanna for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Velma (Linda Cardellini), Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson), Mary Jane (Isla Fisher), and Voodoo Maestro (Miguel A. Núñez, Jr.),

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It’s good entertainment, light on the mind, an easy watch.

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Ben Meyers

ERASER (Theatrical Release USA 1996)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.5|5.0 Starsììì

Eraser—
definitely not a Terminator 1, 2, or 3—places Arnold Schwarzenegger a little out of his league. There may be detective movies that Mr. Schwarzenegger can play, just not this one.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

U.S. Marshall John Kruger’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) job entails erasure of crime witnesses from United States records by faking their deaths so they can begin new, safe lives. But, in the case of Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams), erasing becomes complicated and John Kruger finds the necessity of cleaning up all the pieces includes erasing the ‘bad guys’ as well.

Additional Thanks

Good work for Director and Executive Producer Chuck Russell. Thank you to Executive Producer Michael Tadross for his help in making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: WitSec Chief Beller (James Coburn), Johnny Casteleone (Robert Pastorelli), WitSec Deputy Monroe (Danny Nucci), Undersecretary of Defense Daniel Harper (Andy Romano), William Donohue (James Cromwell), and U.S. Marshall Robert DeGuerin (James Caan).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. The storyline has been well written and the action moves along nicely.

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Ben Meyers

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (Theatrical Release USA 2007)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.2|5.0 Starsìììì

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix—
another great in the Harry Potter series—is difficult to follow on an adult level and would seem even more difficult for the unsophisticated, younger child. The film creates very adult situations based on political intrigue and introduces a wider range of settings that increase the complication of its storyline. The film does not seem as well scripted, almost as if it is an interlude to the films to follow. Adults, be prepared for the necessity to explain the nuances of this film and inevitable question/answer sessions.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia


Storyline

In a summer at home, away from Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his cousin, Dudley (Harry Melling), are attacked by Dementors. In an effort to save Dudley and himself, Harry illegally uses magic to quell the Dementors’ force and Hogwarts expels him based on ‘Follow the rules, no matter the circumstance’. Political powers, outside Hogwarts, deny Voldemort has returned and seek to quell anything that supports information to the contrary. Hogwarts, therefore, comes under political control with the establishment of a political regime headed by Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton).  As the political regime increases untenable rules and regulations, students secretly rally to practice ways to defeat Voldemort and protect Hogwarts. In this episode, Harry learns that his path is completely defined—he must extirpate Voldemort in order for goodness to reign.

Additional Thanks

Great Work for Director David Yates. Thank you to Executive Producer Lionel Wigram for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Piers (Jason Boyd), Malcolm (Richard Macklin), Mrs. Arabella Figg (Kathryn Hunter), TV Weatherman (Miles Jupp), Aunt Petunia Dursley (Fiona Shaw), Uncle Vernon Dursley (Richard Griffiths), Malfalda Hopkirk (voice of Jessica Hynes), James Potter (Adrian Rawlins), Lily Potter (Geraldine Somerville), Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson), and Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. After all, we must complete the Harry Potter series; but, if the adult shares this film with the younger child, the movie may need pausing, for explanation, due to the political intrigue interwoven into its basic story line.

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Ben Meyers

KUNG FU PANDA (Theatrical Release USA 2008)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.7|5.0 Starsììì

Kung Fu Panda—
fun and lovable kid’s film—teaches that nothing is a coincidence. Everything happens as planned by a benevolent force that not only chooses unlikely heroes, but makes important dreams come true.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

A Giant Panda named Po (voice of Jack Black) has been reared by a goose, Mr. Ping (voice of James Hong), who runs a restaurant that makes Chinese noodles as its specialty. The Giant Panda named Po is a Kung Fu fan to the bone and desires to attend the big Kung Fu ceremony in the Valley of Peace because he wants to see who will be the next Kung Fu Master Dragon Warrior. But, in a serious of mishaps, Po accidentally becomes anointed as the Kung Fu Master Dragon Warrior instead of Tigress (voice of Angelina Jolie Pitt), so when he is anointed he has to be trained by Red Panda Master Shifu (voice of Dustin Hoffman). Despite physical limitations, Po learns the arts of Kung Fu and then fights the Snow Leopard Tai Lung (voice of Ian McShane), who has broken from prison to acquire the highly valued Dragon Scroll. Po’s overweight, a handicap, turns into a valuable asset when fighting against the Snow Leopard. When Po opens the Dragon Scroll for himself he is disappointed to find it just reveals a reflection of himself. Puzzled, he talks to his father, Mr. Ping, who tells him that when you believe something is special, it becomes special. Po understands that it is important to believe in oneself and he sallies forth to successfully vanquish the Snow Leopard with the ‘Wuxi Finger Hold’. The Valley of Peace, now without any known enemies, returns to peace.

Additional Thanks

Really Good Work for Directors Mark Osborne and John Stevenson. Thank you to Executive Producer Bill Damaschke for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Monkey (voice of Jackie Chan), Mantis (voice of Seth Rogen), Viper (voice of Lucy Liu), Crane (voice of David Cross), Zeng (voice of Dan Fogler), Commander Vachir (voice of Michael Clarke Duncan), Oogway (voice of Randall Duk Kim), and Gang Boss (voice of Wayne Knight).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It’s a good animated feature for child and adult that subtly presents a wise and gentle message.

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Ben Meyers

THE LONGEST YARD (Theatrical Release USA 2005)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.4|5.0 Starsììì

The Longest Yard—
a re-make of the 1974 film, The Longest Yard, with Burt Reynolds—stars Adam Sandler as Paul Crewe, a former football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s a good sports comedy that includes Chris Rock as Paul Crewe’s friend, Caretaker, as well as real-life athletes—Bill Goldberg, Bill Rowanowski, Terry Crews, Steve Austin, Bob Sapp, Brian Bosworth, Kevin Nash, Michael Irvin, and Dalip Singh Rana. Unnecessary, sexually suggestive themes detract from the story’s inherent entertainment value.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

Former football player, Paul Crewe has a complaining girlfriend Lena (Courteney Cox). He steals Lena’s 2005 Bentley Continental and deliberately totals it to get even with her complaints about him missing a party to watch a football game and getting drunk. He earns a prison sentence and finds himself coerced into training prisoners needing football training. Paul Crewe with the help of Caretaker and another college football player, Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds), trains them and the story becomes ‘losers’ work hard and become intimidating winners.

Additional Thanks

Good Work for Director Peter Segal. Thank you to Executive Producers Barry Bernardi, Allen Covert, David Gale, Tim Herlihy, Albert S. Ruddy, Adam Sandler, Van Toffler, and Michael Ewing for making the film possible. Additional Characters/Cast include: Megget (Nelly), Deacon Moss (Michael Irvin), Errol Dandridge (Walter Williamson), Battle (Bill Goldberg), Cheeseburger Eddy (Terry Crews), Switcoski (Bob Sapp), and Guard Dunham (Steve Austin).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. The film densely packs unforgettable characters into unforgettable scenes to create above-board sports entertainment.

Video Critique Available Here:


Ben Meyers

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (Theatrical Release USA 2012)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.0|5.0 Starsììì

Rise of the Guardians—
superb animation, imaginative characterization—suffers from a complicated, difficult-to-interpret storyline as well as too many characters to track well. For viewers who are not familiar with Jack Frost, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Man in the Moon, and Pitch Black, confusion unavoidably descends and severely impacts entertainment value.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

The Man in the Moon tells Jack Frost (voice of Chris Pine), after he awakes from a state of amnesia, his true identity. The Man in the Moon warns North aka Santa Claus (voice of Alec Baldwin) that Pitch Black aka the Boogey Man (voice of Jude Law) is back and wreaking havoc in the world. The Man in the Moon tells North that Jack Frost will be added to the group as another ‘guardian’ and will help the current guardians—North, E. Aster Bunnymund aka the Easter Bunny (voice of Hugh Jackman), Sandy aka the Sandman (no script lines), and Tooth aka the Tooth Fairy (voice of Isla Fisher)—in taking down Pitch Black once and for all.

Additional Thanks

Good Work For Director Peter Ramsey. Thank you to Executive Producers Guillermo del Toro. William Joyce, and Michael Siegel for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Jamie Bennett (voice of Dakota Goyo), Caleb (voice of Khamani Griffin), Claude (Kamil McFadden), Sophie Bennett (voice of Georgie Grieves), Jamie’s Mom/Jack’s Mother (voice of Emily Nordwind), and Monty (voice of Jacob Bertrand).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

No. The characters are confusing for the younger child and the story-line suffers from lack of coherency.

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Ben Meyers

ARMAGEDDON (Theatrical Release USA 1998)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.5|5.0 Starsììì

Armageddon—
interesting concept, a little improbable—employs veteran actors, Bruce Willis (Harry Stamper), Billy Bob Thornton (Dan Truman), and Ben Affleck (A.J. Frost) to venture into space and save earth. Bruce Willis, a one-man action/adventure actor, seems a little uncomfortable playing the ‘team, let’s get it done together’ role. The film suffers from poor special effects.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

NASA hires Harry Stamper and team to land on a meteorite, drill a hole, plant explosives, and blow it into two halves so that it will pass earth and leave earth intact, unharmed.

Additional Thanks

Good Work for Director Michael Bay. Thank you to Executive Producers Jonathan Hensleigh, Chad Oman, and Jim Van Wyck for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Grace Stamper (Liv Tyler), Chick (Will Patton), Rockhound (Steve Buscemi), and Oscar Choi (Owen Wilson),

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It’s a good action flick with a little family drama for emotional appeal.


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Ben Meyers

GOOD BURGER (Theatrical Release USA 1997)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 2.7|5.0 Starsìì

Good Burger—
good concept, stupidly comical in an Ernest P. Worrell kind of way—provides 95 minutes of easy entertainment. The storyline seems flat; the script is a bit bland; and the actors are a bit amateurish. But it all works in its own way. Watch for Sinbad in the film. He plays the character of Mr. Wheat.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Storyline

The story is about two teen-age boys, one named Dexter (Kenan Thompson) and the other named Ed (Kel Mitchell). Dexter damages his teacher’s car when driving his mother’s car illegally—no driver’s license or insurance. The teacher gives Dexter the option to pay for the damages and Dexter takes a summer job at Good Burger. He meets Ed, who also works at Good Burger. Good Burger faces competition as a new fast food restaurant, Mondo Burger, opens across the street. Ed invents a new, sensational burger sauce and the story is on as Mondo Burger attempts to steal the recipe and the boys find that Mondo Burger uses an illegal substance to make the meat in their burgers swell in size.

Additional Thanks

Fair work for Director Brian Robbins. Thank you to Executive Producer Julia Pistor for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Otis (Abe Vigoda), Monique (Shar Jackson), Mr. Baily (Dan Schneider), and Kurt Bozwell (Jan Schweiterman).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. If you enjoy comedy along the Jim Varney style, you’ll most likely enjoy Good Burger.

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Ben Meyers