0 = Worthless; 2 = Needs Work; 3 = Okay; 4 = Worthwhile; 5 = Good Movie
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Horrible Bosses 2 starring Jason Bateman, Chris Pine, Jennifer Aniston and Jamie Foxx scores a “4”This is a comedy adventure with strong profanity, bawdy humor and insensitive referencesYou will need “thick” skin for this movie folks, it has plenty of foul mouthed humor, yet the laughs are plenty. These characters are condescending to themselves and off the scales insensitive. Critics feel that this line of Hollywood heavies could have done better with their time. But you know what they say, “Forget them if they can’t take a joke”. Actually that’s the g-rated version of that saying. Despite the attempt at a plot, stupidity is the storyboard which is flawlessly captured by these talented stars. Every character in the story added a special blend of seasoning that helped cook up a pretty twisted and hilarious adventure. It was good to see actors like Kevin Spacey, Chris Spine and Jennifer Aniston playing roles that you normally don't see them in which added to the giggle factor of this flick. If this is your type of humor, then it’s worth a trip to the theaters. If you’re just curious about this movie, catch it later on disk. Either way you’re going to laugh. Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1 starring Jennifer Lawrence scores a “2”This is a science fiction movie suitable for teens and anyone else with time to wasteI was really disappointed that I sat in a theater that looked and sounded like a high school auditorium to witness a potential masterpiece fizzle into a political bowl of crap. This movie scored a “2” on our rating scale out of respect for the actors and the studio that tried to help it look great. The story is a thin piece of propaganda being used to turn the page to the next movie in this saga. I did not read the last novel in the Hunger Games series in hopes of being delighted by the Mockingjay Part 1 movie as I was by the finale of the Twightlight saga. The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1 disappoints. I was also amazed that no one in the theater booed at the closure of Part 1. The ending to this movie dangles you like "the best is yet to come", since it surely did not arrive in Part 1. To sum up the movie: there was only one battle sequence; no romantic artisan; no one dies and the character chosen to be resurrected was a waste. Perhaps I am being too harsh. If someone who has seen this movie and can honestly tell me what is good about it, please respond to this review. I may have missed something. However I doubt, I am eidetic which is a curse and a blessing. I will not forget this lousy waste any time soon, which is what I deserve for not going to see “Beyond the Light” and writing it off as a chick flick. “Big Hero Six” with the voices of Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit scores a “5”This is an animated science fiction action-adventure movie suitable for all audiences Disney studios took a few artistic liberties with their version of the Marvel Comic book story “Big Hero 6”. The story starts off very lively and builds on a somewhat tragic base. Nevertheless, the story turns tragedy into a dynamic heroic adventure that will leave you with a good feeling. Accompanied by our youngest movie reviewer Jahmane (age 5) and his mother, we found ourselves, along with the audience, amused, stunned, relieved and well entertained. The story unfolds in futuristic San Fransokyo (San Francisco with a Tokyo overdrive) making the backdrop an artistic blend of San Francisco heritage and Tokyo’s flare for technology. The character Tadashi Hamada (voice of Daniel Henney) a robotics wizard has a nerd brigade of friends with high-tech talent and eccentric quirks that gives way to their super hero abilities: Go-Go Tomago (voice: Jamie Chung) is an adrenaline junkie traveling by electromagnetic wheels; Wasabi No-Ginger (voice: Damon Wayans Jr.) is an obsessive compulsive genius with slicing lasers; Honey Lemon (voice: Genesis Rodriguez) is a chemistry fanatic who has a fancy for chemical filled orbs; Fred (zilla) a groupie for geniuses, has a desire to be a Tokyo disaster movie monster. These four are joined by Tadashi’s younger brother Hiro (voice: Ryan Potter) who is a robotics prodigy with a flare for “bot fighting”. The characters take a turn to super heroism with the help of Baymax (voice: Scott Adsit) a medical robot built by Tadashi.As I mentioned earlier, tragedy befalls our animated friends leading them into a life changing experience that is outrageous, hilarious and heart felt. Jahmane did ask a few striking questions during the movie and he was moved enough by the story to say he wanted to be a “robot”. Since the movie is based on its comic book legend, a franchise does exist for Disney to bring us more from this super hero 6-pack that has anime roots. The story seemed to appeal to the mixed age group in the theater where we viewed it and Big Hero 6 is worth a trip to the theaters. “Interstellar” starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain scores a “3.5”This is a science fiction adventure movie suitable for anyone who can hang with it for about 3 hoursLet me say this again, “This movie is suitable for anyone who can hang with it for about three hours!” Interstellar is way too long for a theatre movie since it lacks the drama and cinematic art of the science fiction space adventure “Gravity” (starring Sandra Bullock). The cast of Interstellar makes staying with the story worthwhile; however I strongly recommend waiting for it on disc. Once the story became creatively weird, I got a bit disappointed since I was expecting some spectacular connection to the space worm hole and an extraterrestrial entity. All I received in the conclusion of this story was an “Outer Limits” style reasoning that doesn’t make since. The robot technology gets merit for creativeness and that’s about it for the technological contribution. While the characters in the movie operated at a super nerd level of using mathematical theories on relativity to solve a mega-rocket space launch, I was trying to piece together what happened to almost three hours of my life. Unfortunately my math skills failed to produce an interstellar formula for recovering my day. However I wish you the best should you put your science fiction interest to the test and take on venturing to see “Interstellar”. “John Wick” starring Keanu Reeves scores a “3.5”This is an action-adventure movie with graphic violence and some profanityJohn Wick is an entertaining movie for those who like close quarters combat, with hand-to-hand fighting, car chases, explosions and shootouts using specialized weaponry. Keanu Reeves plays John Wick a savage character with quite a few outrageous combat moves, mainly the “head shots” the character favors. The fight moves in this movie aren’t as dazzling as the action style of the Matrix franchise however, John Wick is continuously action packed from the time the battles start until the movie ends. I should mention that there is barely a plot in this movie and the back story is just as weak, but I think that’s the point… shoot, stab, punch, kick, explode, crash… do it over and over, then do it again. That’s John Wick and that’s what you get. “The Judge” starring Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. scores a “5”This movie is a drama that contains some profanity and inappropriate behavior. Despite what some movie critics are saying, this may be one of the best movies of the year filled with very dramatic circumstances that may hit home. This story takes you through what top critics call “cliché” situations. By the way, our less than “perfect” society is cliché and the characters in “The Judge” don’t use glamorous or privileged lifestyle backdrops to bring out the dirty laundry depicted in this movie. Quite a bit of pain is revealed and a course of twisted possibilities emerge to bring about redemption and reconciliation to issues of: divorce, physical and mental health problems, estrangement and isolation. Robert Downey Jr. (playing hotshot lawyer Henry Palmer) and Robert Duvall (as his father Judge Joseph Palmer) characters are forced to come to terms with unresolved issues in this legal battled faced by the Judge. Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong playing Judge Palmer’s oldest and youngest sons Glen and Dale, add a dimension of avoided conflicts and alarming secrets. Vera Farmiga’s character Samantha Powell and Leighton Meester (playing daughter Carla Powell) contribute a sordid and disturbing flavor to the plot. There is nothing remarkable about the character Prosecutor Dwight Dickam, played by Billy Bob Thorton, other than the last name sums up his character’s attitude. The critics reporting to Rotten Tomatoes seem a bit arrogant with the statement that this movie is only appealing to the “cable afternoon-viewing circuit”. I tell them this, I’d rather catch a flick in the afternoon than stand in a long movie line at night. To heck with those critics, if you like a good drama, go see the Judge.“Fury” starring Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman scores a “4.5”This is a movie with gory combat violence and profanity.Sony Sony Pictures has a winner here with the movie “Fury” which takes a slightly disturbing look at the duality of mankind’s innocence and the gruesome reality of war. This movie reveals a few grotesque horrors that Nazi Germany did to its own people that this reviewer was unaware of. There is a balance of genres in this story which depicts brotherhood, romance, action-adventure with hints mental health issues that only to this day are being respectfully acknowledged. Army tank commander Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (played by Brad Pitt) is not portrayed as a hero or a perfect man. Sgt Collier is dedicated and determined. The movie doesn't actually quite reveal why he was so driven. Soldier Norman Ellison (played by Logan Lerman) was the inexperienced replacement for a fallen member of the five-man tank crew and somehow winds up in an unlikely romance that helps reshape his attitude towards war. I find no evidence that Fury was based on a true story. I think writer/director David Ayers made it up. I gather that the tale is derived from combat situations tanks were in at the Battle of the Bulge. Some real authenticity was added to the movie by actor Shia LeBeuf (from the Transformer movie franchise). Portraying tank technician Boyd “Bible” Swan, LeBeuf went all "method actor", angering cast and crew when he went without bathing and mutilated his own face to get into the character of a soldier being in battle and stuck in an Army tank for days. The story has some great high points when U.S. tank crews, in their Sherman tanks, go up against a German Tiger 1 tank. The operational Tiger 1 tank used in the movie was actually borrowed from the TankMuseum. Clint Eastwood’s son Scott Clinton Eastwood is portraying one of the U.S. Army tank commanders in this movie. Fury has lots of authenticity and truth stretching to give you an idea how a soldier could wind up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a very worthwhile movie to see or rent however I would not recommend this movie for young children or those who are easily traumatized. “Gone Girl” starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike scores a “4”This movie is a crime thriller with sexual content, violence and homicidal portrayal.For those who have read the novel written by Gillian Flynn that this movie is based, I don’t have to warn you that this is a “twisted” and bizarre tale. The previews of this movie may be deliberately misleading to conceal the Alfred Hitchcock style thriller that unfolds. Having not read the book allowed my cinematic perspective to be stirred down all the neurotic avenues the movie takes you. I had one theory after another I assumed dismissed as the bizarre revelations emerged. Anyone with the stomach for it, may find “Gone Girl” quite fascinating while others like me may found the movie a bit shocking. Either way it is an interesting movie which I was quite pleased with the slap in the face it gives to trash talking television personalities like Nancy Grace. I can’t write much more about this tale without turning this review into story spoiler. I will tell you that if you haven’t read the book, see the movie first and get the full ride this motion picture thriller can take you on. “The Boxtrolls” with the voices of Isaac Hempstead Wright and Elle Fanning scores a “2”This is an animated comedy adventure made for 3D format and hints on using profanityAlan Snow, the author of “Here Be Monsters”, should be happy that they didn’t name the movie after his book that it is based on. “The Boxtrolls” is a slow moving cinematic disappointment. The only thing impressive about this movie is that it was filmed in “stop action”, which requires the models to be moved and photographed frame by frame to create what appears to be seamless movement. The story of a boy being adopted by box trolls is no more original than Mowgli the man cub, from the Jungle Book movie, being adopted by jungle animals. The movie takes a sad turn when box troll derrieres fill the screen and troll hunter Mr. Gristle (voice of Tracy Morgan) lets the remark, “Oh shi…” slip out short of adding the letter “t” to the word. Our rating of “2” means a movie needs work and in this case the score is connected with the stop action special effects, otherwise Boxtrolls is a zero in need of a script and I’m glad we didn’t waste money on the 3D format. “The Equalizer” starring Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas and Chloe Grace Moretz scores a “4.5”This movie is an action thriller with scenes of violence and homicide.There is something not right about Robert McCall (played by Denzel Washington) and the Russian mob finds out the hard way. Retired operative McCall brings his secret skills to life after his young friend Teri (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) is brutalized by Russian pimp Slavi. Denzel takes you on McCall’s straight–faced brutal revenge rampage that gives his enemies a shocking reality that they have met more than their match. The obsessive compulsive style Denzel’s character uses to execute justice is down right “cold” and it is just what the corrupt criminal elements he is up against deserves. You may find yourself rooting for this “one-man” tactical weapon and you may also give celebratory remarks aloud in the theater when the bad guys get theirs. This should be a worthwhile trip to the theaters if this is the type of movie you crave.“A Walk Among the Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson, Brian “Astro” Bradley and Maurice Compte scores a “3”This is a crime thriller with portrayals of homicidal violence, sadistic torture and profanity.This is an okay movie if you like crime thrillers and it will make a good rental selection. “A Walk Among the Tombstones” is a journey following the disturbing actions of a pair of twisted sadists. Liam Neeson is not disappointing in his role as retired Detective Matt Scutter, whose clientele are not the most deserving of his help. The flick is about thirty minutes too long with a drawn out timeline that hurts its movie score. Rental is the way to go with this movie and can allow you a break from the boredom that will emerge. Brian Bradley portraying “TJ” adds some interest to the storyboard, but don’t let his youth lead you to believe this is a movie for a younger audience. It’s some sick subject matter dealt with in this show. Wait for the rental or retail releases of this movie, even if someone tells you how it ends it shouldn’t spoil it for you should you watch it later. “No Good Deed” starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson scores a “4.5”This movie is a crime thriller with scenes of homicidal violence, woman beating and they drop the “F” word a few times No Good Deed outsold Dolphin Tale 2 at the box office its first week out, yet it was slammed by the critics at Rotten Tomatoes, while their readers are giving a nice rating of three stars. I almost joined other viewers in giving “No Good Deed” a rating of 3 out of 5 until the plot took a mega twist that left this writer gasping, “Oh snap!” Thrillers like these are hard to share comments without dropping a story spoiler, yet I have to tell you that Taraji Henson’s character Terri Granger is one tough lady with the solution for woman beaters and cheaters. Ladies, Idris Elba playing Colin Evans has an “eye candy” scene in this movie, however his character proves to be a bad habit. The slow gaps in this movie took away from giving it our “Good Movie” rating, but it has a darn good finish. Go see it then inbox me to let me know what part drops your jaw open. This movie has a champion finish. “When the Game Stands Tall” starring Jim Caviezel, Stephan James and Alexander Ludwig scores a “4”This story is based on real-life occurrences, it contains some sad and somber content and the story contains a few biblical references. Movie critics seem to hate this movie, yet fans appear to love it. Negative remarks made by critics target the biblical overtones De La Salle High School “Spartans” football coach Bob Ladouceur uses in his football program. This true and riveting story shows a touching demonstration of “brotherhood”. I even questioned if our organization Brothers Who Care comes anywhere close to the brotherhood revealed in this movie. The depictions of De La Salle High School football game highlights are impressive, yet they do not overshadow the circumstances that challenged the humanity of the characters portrayed. “When the Game Stands Tall” gives a much needed reminder that there is good a nature among us in the midst of the never ending tide of global despair. Check it out and see if the story can uplift your spirit. “The November Man” starring Pierce Bronson, Luke Bracey and Olga Kurylenko scores a “2.5”This is a crime thriller that has graphic nudity, a very provocative sex scene, strong language and homicidal portrayals.This is your typical cloak and dagger movie with clandestine activity leading you through a series of thrilling conflicts. The ending does have a bit of a twist in the “who really done it”. However this movie is more of a rental night adventure instead of running to the theater, so forgive us for not getting the review published sooner if already made the trip. They could have cut out the gratuitous sex scene and the strip club porn. There were some dry moments in the movie and this story needs a little work. I can’t say much more about the story without spoiling it for those who wish to watch it. Pierce Bronson playing retired CIA operative Peter “the November Man” Devereaux will not let you down and Luke Bracey playing CIA operative protégé David Mason plays a good character as well. The actors, including Olga Kurylenko, give a good performance; the story is a bit mundane and stale. The action scenes almost carried the movie to our rating score of “3” yet the remainder of the flick kept the score where it’s at. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) with Megan Fox, Will Arnett and William Fichtner scores a “4.5”This is an action-adventure fantasy with combat violence and one cuss word. This movie should be suitable for all ages. “Knock, knock you’re about to be shell-shocked” is the battle cry and rap lyrics of these mutant turtles played by Alan Ritchson (as Raphael aka Raph the hot head with the dark red mask and a pair of sai weapons), Noel Fisher (as love struck Michelangelo aka Mikey with the orange mask who does a bit of self-snitching, wielding nunchakus and a rocket powered skateboard) , Pete Ploszeke (as Leonardo the appointed leader of the band wearing a blue mask, he’s nicknamed Leo and rightfully so with two razor sharp swords) and Jeremy Howard (as the four-eyed, nerd wizard Donatello aka Donnie, wearing the purple mask and fights with a spring loaded bo staff among his arsenal of nerdy battle gismos). Apparently MichaelBay and Megan Fox have made nice since he fired her off of the Transformer franchise. Fox makes up for her absence from Bay with a really good performance, relying on her acting skills rather than her beauty (which is really down played in Ninja Turtles 2014). It’s a good script and Danny Woodburn’s character Master Splinter (the mutant rat) narrates a really good back story for those who are not fans or may be weak on the history of these comic book legends. Will Arnett plays cameraman Vernon Fenwick the comic relief sidekick to Fox’s character television reporter April O’ Neil. Whoopi Goldberg, playing O’ Neil’s boss, is pretty much a waste of screen time, while William Fichtner, as scientist Eric Sacks, plays out a surprising role. The special effects team brings to live these turtles, Master Splinter and bad guy Shredder (played by Tohoru Masamune) making the movie a good 3D choice that our five-year old review team member Jah and I enjoyed. Plus they added some really “cool” abilities to the Ninja Turtles in this version of the story. The movie almost made a high score of “5” until Ninja Turtle Leonardo drops the “a” double “s” word, which I thought was distasteful for young viewers. I don’t think our movie reviewer Jah caught the cuss word since he probably would have grilled me about it. We had a rare chance to discuss the story as it unfolded since we were the only two people in the theater for the 4:50 Tuesday matinee at Valley Mall Regal Cinema. This movie could be enjoyed in standard digital, but plenty of pop in your face action made it worth the cost of 3D. There is not an after credits preview clip for the next possible Ninja Turtle feature, so don’t waste time hanging around to see one. “Let’s Be Cops” with Damon Wayans Jr., and Jake Johnson scores a “4”This movie is an adventure comedy with profanity, very inappropriate behavior and is not suitable for minors.Luke Green wrote a story with an obvious ending and it doesn’t have a fantastic plot. The movie is about a couple of buddies being outrageous fake cops and they nailed it! Circumstances bring the duo to terms with themselves and they still have an outrageously funny response. Robert Riggle, playing Patrol Officer Seagars, offers his straight-faced comic relief to help out and actor Andy Garcia as Detective Brolin lends a hand keeping the story interesting. Damon Wayans Jr.’s character Justin Miller really wasn’t stretched out as much it should have been. Wayans are hilarious comedians and Damon Junior appears to have as much comedic potential as his senior. Keegan-Michael Key adds bawdy humor with his role as the snitching Jamaican Pupa, but he’s much better as Mark Rodriguez in the television series “Playing House”. I think former model Nina Dobrev, playing the character Josie, was more or less “eye candy” in the story because her role could have been more dynamic. James D’Arcy portraying Russian gangster Mossi Kasic does a good role, because I think at some point you will want to punch Mossi in the face like I wanted to. So to heck with Rotten Tomatoes’ review on this movie, sometimes you have to set aside the rating standards and indulge in stupidity. Let’s Be Cops is stupid funny and worth a look. “The Expendables 3” with Stallone, Statman, Banderas, Snipes, Jet Li, Lundgren, Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Kelsey Grammer and Harrison Ford scores a “0”This is supposed to be an action adventure movie. There is combat violence depicted and this movie is not suitable for young children.What kind of movie do you get if you mix action hero superstars from: Blade, the Terminator, the Transporter, Indiana Jones, Rambo, Predator, Die Hard, Rocky, Desperado, El Boxero, Ultimate Fighting Championship, The Dark Knight, Spiderman, Romeo Must Die and the Twilight Saga? Well if Sylvester Stallone writes the story you’ll have a flop. I am going to have to learn that when the majority of the Speak Up Movie Review Team avoids going to a movie with me that I need to trust their collective instinct that the movie is not worth the trip. This movie should have been a “Block Buster” considering the immense talent it hired, however “EX3” is a horrible bore. I wanted to give it at least our rating of “2” indicating that with a little work it would be okay. This movie is not worth grabbing the cinematic AED (that is an automatic external defibrillator, for you none medical types). The change in my summer schedule may leave me with a little jet lag, but I normally do not catch myself dozing off more than once in a movie theater. While I was watching "The Expendables 3", I had the “chicken pecks” going so hard trying to fight sleep that I should get an attorney to sue Stallone for causing me to have “whiplash”. Seeing Rousey, Lutz, Powell and Ortiz barely perform was even more disappointing than seeing the veteran action stars robbed of being dynamic in this movie. There isn’t any excitement in this story, nor is there any outstanding action features. The only remarkable success that the Expendables 3 can consider an accolade was bringing all that talent under one roof. Perhaps such a feat as this drained Stallone of a worthy story for his All-Star cast to do a good movie. This was one times that I wished movie theaters shows came with a remote control. I deserved to see a bad flick after passing over the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, which I heard was way better than the Expendables 3.“Guardians of the Galaxy (3D) starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and, Bradley Cooper scores a “5”This is a science-fiction, action adventure movie with a few “cuss” words and lots of combat violence. Teens and adults should be able to handle the content of this movie.Chris Pratt stars Peter Quill an alien abductee who turned intergalactic pirate, who turns galaxy hero in a star packed Marvel Comic story that is as funny as it is adventurous. Zoe Saldana, (who played Uhura in Star Trek 2014; is playing the assassin Gamora), joins Pratt along with mixed martial art champion/actor Dave Batista (playings Drax the Destroyer), Vin Diesel (the voice of the tree creature Groot) and Bradley Cooper (the voice of Rocket the genetically altered raccoon); five rivals alien characters who join forces to defend the galaxy against Ronan the Kree (Ronan is played by Lee Pace). A lot is thrown at you once the action unfolds following the abduction scene. It’s the personality of the characters that keeps the story exciting as well as amusing. But don’t take this movie as a comedy; there is a diabolical and deadly scheme centering on possessing the Infinity Stone. The pursuit and possession of the stone rivets the band of rivals into the self-proclaimed guardians of the galaxy. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is not your typical Disney movie; however Disney did a better job with this movie than they did with “Spiderman 2”. “Into the Storm” starring Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies scores a “5”This is an Action-Thriller with some inappropriate language. Teens and adults should be able to handle the content of this movie.“Into the Storm” was not given very good ratings by the “critics” with the exception of the Internet Movie Data Base website. Speak Up Movie Reviewers aren’t critics, we are experienced movie goers trying to give a fair report on the movies we see hoping our reports can help your viewing decisions. I think that disaster movie fans are going to have a good experience with "Into the Storm. The back story isn't very good and may be the fuel that is driving down review ratings for Into the Storm. The back story is built on some of the characters recording a time capsule documentary and the other characters documenting tornadoes in hopes their footage will make them rich and famous (yet, not all of the storm chasers in the movie appear to be driven by greed). The high school characters Donnie Morris (played by Max Deacon) and Trey Morris (played by Nickelodeon star Nathan Kriss) are tasked by their father, vice-principal Gary Morris, (played by the Hobbit movie regular Richard Armitage) to video the time capsule documentary. Storm chaser Pete (played by Matt Wash) has a crew who track and video tornadoes. Pete's storm chasing team includes Dr. Allison Stone (played by Walking Dead television star Sarah Wayne Callies) leads the team to the town of Silverton, which is ground zero for a tornado Armageddon. The back story fortunately gets overshadowed by the outstanding tornado special effects. There are plenty of thrilling moments that helps the 90 minute movie fly by without fizzling out of action sequences. The movie has a bitter sweet ending that concludes with a notable contrast in the interviews by those taped before and after the storm . The “redneck storm chasers” are the comic relief in this movie and while not fitting, they add their own twist to idea of videoing twisters. This movie is nothing to compare to the cult classic movie “Twister” (starring Bill Paxton and Helen Ford) that has the storm analyzing machine Dorothy. Into the Storm has the hard as nails storm tank “Titus” and special effects that makes it a good movie and possibly even better if had they put out a 3D version of the story.. “Get On Up” starring Chadwick Boseman, Nelson Ellis and Dan Aykroyd scores a “4”This is a drama tale based on the life of music legend James Brown and contains situations not suitable for children.If you thought Chadwick Boseman (portraying James Brown) gave a powerful performance in the Jackie Robinson story “42”, Boseman is going to take you through a series of emotions as he unleashes a glimpse of James Brown worth seeing. Boseman is not alone bringing to life this gripping tale. Nelson Ellis portraying Bobby Byrd’s character gives a perspective of the James Brown that is touching and convincing. Ellis, who is best known for his character Lafayette Reynolds, in the HBO’s show True Blood, is a Southerner who touches his Bobby Byrd character with his roots. I cannot leave out saluting actor Dan Aykroyd for his portrayal of Brown’s friend in business, Ben Bart (aka “Pops”). These three actors, along with a talented cast give an entertaining and emotionally stirring tale of one of music’s greatest legends. Boseman’s incredible dance performance in this movie will have you think that he is possessed by James Brown himself (and who knows, they are both from South Carolina). Parts of the movie can literally have you tapping your feet and “grooving” like you’re at a James Brown concert. The weak part of the movie is that it flashes around through James Brown’s life with so many recollections that you may have trouble keeping up with the timeline being posted on the screen. Also having Brown’s character talking to the audience in a “Ferris Bueller movie” style just didn’t fit the story. I met Maceo Parker a few years ago and Craig Nelson was just not a good match to portray Parker. The movie did not really do much with Maceo’s character other than to make him look bad. Parker was loyal and grateful to Brown yet the story didn’t do anything to prove it. Biography buffs and music fans may find “Get On Up” worth seeing but it may take a couple of times watching since it’s a lot to take in during this 2 hour and 16 minute feature. “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman scores a “3”This movie is an action-adventure, crime drama with a hint of science-fiction that borders on fantasy and is not suitable for young viewers.To appreciate the movie “Lucy” you should watch it for the action-adventure and NOT the scientific aspect. I still have nerd credentials so I can warn science fiction fans to avoid being disappointed with this story, especially the “weak” ending. The hand-to-hand combat, the car chases and shootouts in “Lucy” are outstandingly entertaining for action buffs. The superhuman evolutionary abilities the story gives Lucy just doesn’t add up when Morgan Freeman (playing Professor Samuel Norman) openly discusses the hypothesis (or in regular terms, a “hunch”) of what is happening to Lucy (played by Johansson). Maybe I shouldn’t be so critical about how the movie exploits the possibility of the brain’s potential since it’s also impossible to quantify the abilities of the human soul or spirit, which are also considered immeasurable concepts. Lucy is an okay action-adventure, so enjoy it for that because it is going to make a nice rental movie for those who like that genre. “Hercules” starring Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Reece Ritchie, Ingrid Berdal, Rufus Sewell and Rebecca Ferguson scores a “4.5”This movie is an action-adventure, mythical fantasy with combat violence suitable for teens and older. I intended to see this movie in IMAX and allowed my decision to be corrupted by the report of another critic who claimed the story was not “epic”. Hercules 2014 may not be epic in regards to the traditional mythical story, but it is epic in scale and definitely worth a peek in IMAX format. I did see it in “RealD 3D”, So I am not deep in regret for my format choice. I strongly recommend seeing it in at least 3D. Dwayne Johnson’s role as Hercules delivered a bit of uplifting humor making this take on the story delightful and perhaps taking it from its ancient tradition. Other twist and turns disband traditional Greek “myths” as the story’s journey moves forth. I actually feel that the artistic freedom taken by the writers gave this story “freshness” and curbed possible boredom with the old legend. Hercules 2014 is a little over an hour and a half, which is a fitting time frame for an action movie, at least you don’t get held hostage by Father Time. The movie is listed as an American-made movie filmed in Budapest with most of the cast from the United Kingdom: John Hurt (playing Lord Cotys); Rufus Sewell (playing Autolycus); Reece Ritchie (playing Lolaus) and Joseph Fienneg (playing King Euystheus). The UK cast is joined by a few Norwegians that include Ingrid Berdal playing the Amazon archer Atalanta. The story “rocks” with action from beginning to end, some of which may have you on the edge of your seat and cheering on the heroes. If you are not up on your Greek mythology, you may get a few surprises with the treachery that unfolds and the tragedy that demands revenge. Again, I urge you to see it in 3D and even if you rent it later to view on your HD3D television at home, Hercules 2014 starring The Rock, deserves a cinema “big” screen to take in this epic journey.“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” starring Andy Serkis and Jason Clarke score a “4”This is a science-fiction adventure with combat violence, some profanity and is not suitable for children.I strongly recommend that you see this movie in 3D, the imagery is amazing, the apes look real and the close up on ape leader Caesar is astonishing. You do need to know that this movie has a “story” so it takes time to go through the script, maybe a little too much time. It is refreshing that the entire movie was not just built around combat and violence. The writers definitely work up a conclusion in this movie that opens the possibility for the next in this sequel. Andy Serkis, playing Caesar, makes it a bit challenging to understand what the heck he’s saying thus hurting the score I’m giving “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. Jason Clarke playing Malcolm and Keri Russell playing Ellie do outstanding in their character roles in helping to align ape and humankind. For those who have missed the first installment in this Planet of the Apes series, the back story in this movie should bring you up to speed and so will the action once it unfolds. There are plenty of surprises in this movie that makes it worth seeing. Again, I recommend seeing it in 3D. I sort of wished I viewed it in IMAX but I’m saving that ticket for “Hercules” starring Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson. “Transformers 4” starring Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer and Staley Tucci scores a “3”This is a science-fiction action/adventure fantasy with combat violence, gorey graphic depictions and profanity. Not suitable for children.I need to start by telling you that this 2 hour and 45 minute feature is literally two movies in one. My experience as a critic and having driven transit buses gives me the durability to sit through movies that are ridiculously long. So besides the length of the movie and some of the content you may not want to take anyone under 13 years of age to see this movie, I witnessed a lot of people running in and out to what had to been trips to the toilet. The graphic display of a human character being incinerated with flesh dripping off their skin and the unnecessary use of profanity may be a little much for children. Plus it sends a bad message to children having a cigar smoking Autobot “hero”. Adding new Autobot features and characters may help hold your interest, along with the new morph abilities and features of the Decepticons. Autobot characters, Hound and Cross Hairs add a bit of comic relief, though Hound could lose the cigar (who thought of putting a stogy in the mouth of a military utility truck Transformer?). Voice actor John Dimaggio has Autobot Cross Hairs sounding like actor Jason Statham. Mark Wahlberg does outstanding in his role as failed inventor Cade Yeager, however there is not much depth to Nicola Peltz's character that portrays his daughter Tessa Yeager and the same goes for actor Jack Reynor’s character Shane Dyson. Stanley Tucci (portraying Joshua Joyce) is great in his role and he also adds comic relief. Kelsey Grammer playing CIA agent Harold Attinger is going to get no love from the CIA with his well played bad guy role. I saw this in IMAX 3D, but the 3D imagery did not live up to the franchises good use of 3D graphics, but it is an epic movie so the 60 foot screen helps. However, you may not want to fork over $18 to see this in IMAX.“Think Like A Man Too” scores a “0”This is movie is supposed to be a comedy; it contains unnecessary profanity and is not funny. Not recommended for any audience The writers failed to put together a script that could have made a much better movie. I wanted to give this movie some credit, however we don’t have a rating of “1” and giving it our “2” rating would have been way too much credit. I have a concern about why the movie industry is so compelled to keep doing these cloned stories about characters having an adventure in Las Vegas prior to a wedding. Las Vegas must be throwing a LOT of benefits to movie makers to feature their town in this latest batch of comedy adventures. This type of story is played out and “Think Live A Man Too” has nailed the doors shut on Vegas comedies for me. I was sucked into seeing this movie because it is loaded with a talented cast; however the characters are thrown into so many directions in the story that you may be left trying to fill in the blanks. There are no conclusions in the story to whether one couple manages to conceive the child they wanted or if the outrageous hotel expenses get settled with the jackpot winnings. The story opens these sorts of questions and provides no answers. I even stayed away from my normal mentioning of the starring characters since none of them were allowed to give a starring performance in “Think Like A Man Too. This movie steals from every other recent Las Vegas adventure comedy even to cameo a boxing celebrity. I sure hope that “Think Like A Man Too” isn’t an indication that Kevin Hart’s star is going dim. Stay home folks and wait for this movie on rental if you’re curious to see how far it falls from grace. “22 Jump Street” starring Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Ice Cube scores a “3.5”This is an action comedy with strong language and bawdy behavior made for adult audiences.Tasteless, degrading and raunchy antics are laced throughout this undercover façade that in no way reflects law enforcement, at least we hope. Tatum and Hill team up again with Ice Cube to deliver another hilarious exploitation of the 80’s television series “21 Jump Street”. This leg of the saga would not have been complete without another a cameo appearance from the show’s TV series legend Richard Grieco. “22 Jump Street” is staged as an undercover operation in a college co-ed environment that creates new relationship challenges for the Jump Street duo when they make connections with jocks and campus darlings. A host of talent is available in this cinema comedy so you should be able to get quite a few laughs if your funny bone lacks a bit of dignity. Be sure to watch the post scene snippets that actually run right after the movie concludes so you don’t have to wait through scrolling credits. The snippets are funny mock ups of Jump Street chronicles. “How To Train Your Dragon 2” with the voices of: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler and Cate Blanchett scores “4.5”This is an animated action-adventure fantasy with enchanted combat scenes and is suitable for all audiences.The writers did a good job tying you into this sequel and having not seen the first movie, I was able to catch up with the back story provided. I saw “How To Train Your Dragon 2” in a normal digital format since I was accompanied by our soon to be five-year old movie critic and I'm not quite sure if he's ready for 3D glasses. However the animation was fantastic and looked to be worth seeing in 3D. The sound of Jay Barachel’s voice doesn’t quite seem to fit his lead character “Hiccup” but it got the job done considering his dragon riding peers sounded like California “surfer dudes”. Gerard Butler’s voice for Viking Chief Stoick was convincing. The storyline was captivating and kept the attention and focus of our young critic, who said he liked the movie (I guess as much as the snacks, he consumed an entire kid’s snack combo and a handful of peanuts and did not ask to run out to the restroom – way to go Jah!). Intrigue is maintained and the surprises are entertaining in “How To Train Your Dragon 2”. The script is actually geared towards the younger audience and older. Tragedy is weaved into this story, so there may be a need for discussion with the youngsters you take to see this movie should they have questions. I think this is worth mentioning if you enjoy discounts as much as I do; and with the heat wave weather approaching, this is an excellent early afternoon adventure, so remember Regal Theaters have all day discounts on Tuesdays. “Edge of Tomorrow” starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton scores a “3.5”This is a science-fiction action-adventure movie with combat violence. Adults, young adults and teens should be able to handle this content.This action flick uses the “déjà vu” theme from the movie “Groundhog Day” (starring Bill Murray) and puts it in a daring science-fiction adventure that was worth seeing in the RealD 3D format. You could get away with seeing Edge in standard digital format, but this show really was made for IMAX any thing else is a step down. Bill Paxton playing Master Sargent Ferell is the comic relief for this movie and his interactions are used as the start point for the reset sequences, so pay attention to his dialogue. The alien “Mimics” are a fresh spin on alien invasion characters and 3D lets you enjoy their behavior and feature. Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise make a good dynamic match for the characters they bring to life in this story and the script should hold your attention. I definitely want to see this again in rental to really examine the special effects at my own pace since the producers of this movie throw a lot at you making it an epic proportion deserving of an IMAX sized screen. Sci-fi lovers and Tom Cruise fans note this: If the writers would have been a bit more original with the storyboard instead of robbing the reset concept from the Ground Hog Day movie, I would have scored it a bit higher. EOT is a worthwhile movie; however it can only be thoroughly enjoyed on a BIG screen, which means the rental may not be as entertaining. And for you gamers, check out the official “Edge of Tomorrow” movie website before they kill the link: http://udfcombatsimulator.edgeoftomorrowmovie.com/ and play the UDF Combat Simulator to test your skills to see how many minutes you can last. I was just as bad in training as Cruise’s character Major William Cage before he started the reset sequence. The website also has a EOT Live Die Repeat game that requires a download. By the way, UDF stands for United Defense Force. The Earth had to combine its military powers to stand against the invading alien “mimics”. Also keep track of the alien types. You will see Drone mimics, Alpha mimics, and eventually the Omega. Knowing the difference and abilities of the alien mimics will help you with the nerdy sci-fi hoopla that is discussed throughout the movie. Tracking “alienology” may be a slight bummer for those who are seeking just senseless mayhem and action scenes. This movie has a plot and a not too silly ending. “Blended” starring Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Terry Crews and Abdoulaye NGom scores a “5”This is a comedy with a couple of bawdy incidents otherwise it is suitable for teens, young adults and adults. If you like comedy without the perverse and raunchy humor, this is the movie for you. “Blended” is a hilarious comedy and will be one of my Adam Sandler favorites. Barrymore and Sandler teamed for the third time in a movie that is fun and should leave you with a good feeling. Movie critics are giving this movie negative reviews and I think they are pretentious with “fake” political concerns over how the African characters working in the resort are portrayed and I did not see a problem. I offer this challenge of $20 to anyone who could sit through this movie and not laugh through most of it. The audience I watched “Blended” with laughed throughout the entire movie and some were in tears from laughing, including me. Abdoulaye NGom (playing resort concierge Mfana) and Terry Crews (playing resort entertainer Nickens) competed for the Best Comic Relief and I think it comes out a tie. And for the bit role that Shaquille O’Neal played as best buddy Doug, Shaq did well. The ideal of a family hijacking a vacation trip to an African resort to attend “Familymoon” is a fresh spin and works for this story of a modern day “Brady Bunch” to be. So the heck with the critics that rave and thirst over trashy movies like “A Million Ways to Die in the West” and “Neighbors”. In fact I watched “Neighbors” and I refused to write a review on that piece of racist and misogynistic crap. If you go to the movies and watch “Blended” and you don’t like it, write me your reason why and if I post it, I’ll give you a refund. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence scores a “4”This is a science-fiction fantasy with combat violence and mayhem. Adults, young adults and teens should be able to handle this content.I should start by saying, “See this movie in 3D.” Before I saw this movie, I spoke with one of the managers at the Westview IMAX last weekand he said, “They should have made X-Men: Days of Future Past in IMAX”. I now agree and I am glad I caught it in 3D at the Tuesday all-day matinee at the Regal Cinemas in the Valley Mall. Good price with a nice screen. There are too many characters in X-Men Days of Future Past to discuss each character’s contribution; nevertheless it was the characters portrayed as the X-Men of the past that rocked this movie, including Hugh Jackman who is becoming “Mr. X-Man” since his Wolverine roll is centered in most of the sequels. The director and writers managed to pump out the story in a way that you can actually follow the different layers plus gather some new meaning to old scenarios. Jennifer Lawrence’s role as Raven/Mystique is chasing after her performance level in the Hunger Games franchise and it is hard to take your eyes off of her X-Men character. Ellen Page, the darling actress from the movie “Juno”, takes center focus in this story with her Kitty Pride mutant abilities. Did I mention the awesome 3D that deserved the huge IMAX format? This movie may be worth seeing a couple of times at the theater just to sweep up some crumbs of details you may miss in one viewing. The story is action-packed and well paced without dull moments and no vulgarity or gore, just violent mutant combat! Almost forgot, don’t waste a moment waiting for the post credits scene. The thirty-second post scene is a promotion for “X-Men: Apocalypse” and hardly worth waiting through five minutes of post credits. The preview shows a hooded character being worshiped by masses of people chanting ‘En Sabah Nur’, which means “the first one,” while the unidentified hooded character manipulates the construction of what looks like Egyptian pyramids. The scene ends with a glimpse of Apocalypse aka the first mutant. I hope this next X-Men movie is better than the stupid preview. “Godzilla 2014” starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe and David Strathairn scores a “2”This is a science-fiction fantasy with combat violence and disaster portrayals. Adults, young adults and teens should be able to handle this content.This movie is being promoted as the “Number One Movie in the World”, and with a heavyweight title like this I decided to see it in IMAX. I can’t get this review out soon enough to warn people that it may be the “#1 ticket selling movie in the world”, but it is no where near the best movie in the world. Godzilla 2014 is not even an “okay” movie by our rating system. This is another big budget movie that is slow paced, failing to deliver enough action to be in a “3D” format and only has a total of 40 minutes of action sequences with about 15 minutes of the action actually showing the monsters. Godzilla probably gets about 10 minutes of face time, of which is in a dark background hiding most of the detail imagery. When they do show Godzilla in the daytime scenes, he looks fantastic. Another failure in this story is that they barely used their acting talent. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the star of the movie franchise “Kick Ass” and Johnson can play a pretty decent action character, yet he is limited in Godzilla. Watanabe and Strathairn roles are underutilized as well. Movie goers would probably be more entertained with a throw-back Japanese version of Godzilla. Perhaps they should have let the Japanese produce this movie and gave Godzilla fans a more satisfying feature. And it may have been a tad bit of a stereotype on how San Francisco’s is used. I’m not a disaster movie fan; however I do expect good special effects with scenes of demolition rather than the destruction special effects in Godzilla 2014. I was warned by one of our other reviewers that he had heard this movie was not good. But unless he says he’s seen a movie himself, I will not base my movie selections on hearsay since we have readers who trust Speak Up Movie Reviews. Just like the Spider-Man 2 movie, they saved most of the action for the last half-hour of the Godzilla movie and while there is not a lot of action, I think seeing it in IMAX helped get it a rating of “2” otherwise this movie is a zero.“Brick Mansions” starring Paul Walker, David Belle and RZA scores a “3”This is an action-adventure crime drama with gun violence, homicide scenes and very inappropriate behavior. Adults and young adults should be able to handle this content.Paul Walker’s last movie is not a very dynamic story, in fact it is a blend of “Escape from New York” and “NewJackCity” with a hint of movie “The Raid” using a subtle Detroit backdrop. Yet “Brick Mansions” fails to touch any of these movies in score or storyboard. The highlight of the movie is an extended look into the Parkour/Free Running style of action. The parkour performed by Sebastien Foucan in the James Bond movie “Casino Royale” was far more entertaining than what David Belle offers in Brick Mansions. If the homicide scenes had been eliminated and Ayisha Issa’s “racy” role as Rayzah had been tone down, I would have expanded the viewer recommendation to include teens, but the character Rayzah has issues. Robert Maillet as the giant henchman “Yeti” has an impressive combat scene worth watching. BrickMansion does makes up for its flat story with an okay ending, making it a good “made for DVD” movie. So wait for the rental, then you can replay the action scenes you like. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2 starring Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx, Emma Stoner and Dane DeHaan scores a “0”This is an action adventure movie based on comic book characters and it is suitable for all audiences.In fairness to the movie I would like to share a Facebook commentary from our movie review reader Chad Smith,“Saw Amazing Spider-Man 2 last night. Although the action and effects were ‘Amazing’, it fell victim to X-Men syndrome by inserting too many characters and plotlines into one film. There were some great moments in the film, most notably the interaction between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. I also got lots of laughs from Spidey's trademark witty banter in the fight scenes. Jaime Foxx made a B level villain in Electro look like an A level threat. At times, it felt like too much of a setup for future Spider-Man films rather than a self sustaining experience. I never felt like I was part of an overarching plot, I wasn't sure what story was being told or who the focus of the film was. Was it Peter, Spidey, or his villains? Doesn't seem Sony has learned anything from Disney's handling of the Marvel cinemaverse. Final grade? B.”I have this to say to Chad, “Nice write-up, however you are far too generous with your grade of this movie to be a Speak Up Movie Review critic.” People reading Speak Up Movie Reviews want to know if the movies we write about are worth seeing as well type of content the movies contain. I did go to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and since it was from the comic book genre, I was accompanied by the youngest member of our review team, 5 year-old Jahmane. Let me put it to you this way, after about an hour of sitting through the “Amazing” Spider-Man movie, Jah asked me if we had to stay and finish watching the movie. Using a bribe of snacks and a twisted truth that the movie was almost over, I persuade Jah to stay. Little did Jah know we had about another hour of boredom to endure. However in my defense, the movie was over after it started. As Chad had commented, this movie was too much of a setup for the future Spider-Man films. Basically the best part of the movie was the last 15 minutes which was used as a segue to the next film in the Spidey franchise. Also I would like to know why they rolled an X-Men movie clip after the Spider-Man movie credits finished. At first I thought the X-Men feature was a post film highlight to the next Spider-Man movie. Wrong I was. Jahmane was right, we should have walked out. Jah’s instinct as a movie critic was the most “Amazing” thing that happened during this movie. So don’t waste your money and time on this crock of crap! “Heaven is for Real” starring Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly and Connor Corum scores a “5”This movie drama is based on a real event and is suitable for all audiences. “Heaven is for Real” is a story that is thought provoking, emotion steering and delightful. Regardless your religion, faith or lack of religion, the concluding remarks in the story to “Love Others” can be a life changing challenge for anyone willing to. As much as I personally try loving others, even family, it is challenging, rewarding and heart breaking. I have to tell you that if you have a loving heart, this story will break a little peace of it. Yet, the message inside this story will give back any part of your heart that it breaks. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when little Cassie Burpo (played by Lane Styles) was asked about turning the other cheek and her explanation plus how she turned the other cheek makes this movie worth seeing again. Heaven is for Real is a very good story that I do not feel is aimed at converting your belief system; I take the movie as a message to do better with others. “A Haunted House 2” starring Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias scores a “4”This is a comedy horror movie spoof that is vulgar and obscene to say the least. Not recommended for anyone with moral dignity.This movie is not getting good ratings by other critics. “A Haunted House 2” is not anymore degrading and sinful as the “Hangover” movie series or Seth MacFarlane’s movie “Ted” or the movie “We’re The Millers”. “A Haunted House 2”, as a comedy, is “hilarious” so I gave it a high score. No matter what your values are or how insulting and insensitive this movie is…, this movie is FUNNY!!! And I am honest enough to admit it. “A Haunted House 2” exploits ridiculous stereotypes and exaggerates “ghetto” humor why emulating self-inflicted discriminating insults. The blatant behavior of the story’s characters is stupid funny and I believe that is what writer/actor Marlon Wayans wanted to achieve with this movie that not only mocks the horror movie genre, it also shows the ridiculousness of racism and prejudice. Perhaps that’s why “A Haunted House 2” is not getting good reviews from the industry critics… think about it. “Noah” starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly scores a “3”This is a dramatic story based on biblical passages, contains graphic violence. Youth and adults should be able to handle this movie.I wonder if Cecil B. DeMille got as much flack for making his movie “The Ten Commandments” as this movie “Noah” is receiving from the public. The movie “Noah”, much like DeMille’s production, is based on scriptural references and uses dramatic speculation to make a cinematic story. Why didn’t the public get in an uproar over the comedic spoof movie “Evan Almighty” where Steve Carell played a sort of Noah? The most valid concern I have with this version of Noah is that the story could leave you to think that God did not speak to Noah. According to the Holy Bible in Genesis chapter 6 verses 13 through 22, God spoke to Noah about the fate of mankind and Noah’s task in order to be spared along with the animals. Also the bible gives no indication that Noah was faced with the possible sacrifice of a human child to end humanity. The story of Noah written by writer/director Darren Aronofsky and writer Ari Handel is speculative and thought provoking much like the 1956 Ten Commandments movie starring Charlton Heston. Unlike DeMille’s production, which is colorful and lively, the 2014 story of Noah is visually dark and savage, lacking any bright moment until the story ends with a crappy rainbow effect. They could have left that alone and just put a rainbow in the sky as indicated in the bible, Genesis 9:13. If you are interested in seeing Noah (2014) wait for it on disk then determine what all the fuss is about or if it’s just entertainment. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” starring Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlet Johansson and Anthony Mackie” scores a “5”This is an action-adventure fantasy movie with combat violence. This movie can be suitable for youth, young adults and adultsI could sum up this review with one remark, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” has everything that an action adventure movie should have!” This movie is action-packed with continuous thrills and exciting surprises. There wasn’t a whole lot of the Winter Soldier in the story; however I’m not going to shave points off for a movie name that was used to introduce a new character into the franchise. This movie is done without a lot of gore and Disney did not let Samuel L. Jackson use any of his trademark language. This is an entertaining movie with a hint of romance, but not enough to distract Chris Evans character Captain Steve Rogers. Anthony Mackie’s character Sam Wilson the Falcon has some dazzling screen time performance. Scarlet Johansson’s character Black Widow from the Avenger’s is believable that she is a former Russian agent. Jackson’s character Nick Fury is up to his neck busy with the Avenger’s, Iron Man and the Captain America sequels but you have to go see this movie if you want to know if its curtain for Nick Fury in this episode. The action rocks and the weaponry is dazzling fresh. I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier in regular digital and it was good, so it may be worth a peek in 3D. Either way it’ll be worth a trip to the theaters.“Muppets Most Wanted” starring Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey with the puppet work of Steve Whitmire and Matt Vogel” scores a “4”This is an action-adventure comedy made for all audiences.Contributions to this review are made by 4 year-old movie critic Jahmane Johnson (aka Jah). As we watched the show, I was impressed by Jah’s ability to stay focused on the screen. Even when he ate his snacks his head would turn sideways to feed while his eyes stayed glued to the screen. The movie is over an hour and forty-five minutes and the little guy was alert and appeared interested the entire show including the time spent watching the previews. I had to drink a caffeinated beverage to help keep myself sharp. Jah had quite a few questions in anticipation of the movies. He recognized that the movie previews did not include Muppet characters. I explained to him that when he sees the green screens that it was only a preview of a different movie. Then behold Disney drops in a Monsters Inc movie short and I had to explain that it was just a free mini-movie to convince him that we would to get see our featured movie. And after the 30 minute prelude of commercials, previews and a free short movie; we received a worthwhile “Muppets Most Wanted” treat. The movie delivers a star studded cast that includes: Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), Danny Trejo (Machete), Sean Combs (P Diddy), Lady Gaga, Stanley Tucci, Usher, Tony Bennett and too many others to list. Funny and clever as always, the Muppets go on an international tour flavored with antics from all of the show’s puppet characters. Miss Piggy is finally gets a wedding amidst the chaos and “Kermit” finally lets the Muppet stars do the show they always wanted. At least that’s what everyone thinks except for investigators Sam Eagle (puppeteer Eric Jacobson) and French detective Jean Pierre Napoleon (played by actor Ty Burrell). Kermit the Frog (played by puppeteer Steve Whitmire) unwittingly steals the heart of Russian gulag guard Nadya (played by Saturday Night Live star Tina Fey) creating a new set of romantic problems only out matched by Miss Piggy’s self-centered pursuits. After the movie ended and we finished watching the amusing end credits I asked Jah what did he think about the two “Kermits” and he responded that the “bad” Kermit was an “Evil Mastermind”. With that sort of summary, I believe Jah is going to be a very promising critic. His remark pretty much summed up the behavior of the diabolical frog Muppet Constantine (played by puppeteer Matt Vogel). Jah said he liked the movie and that dear readers makes it worthy of a score of “4”.“Divergent” starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James scores a “4”This is a science-fiction story with combat violence and homicidal situations made for teen and young adult audiencesThere is so much going on in this movie, it was a challenge for me on how to start this review. It was written for a young adult audience and probably deserves a look from one of the younger critics on our review team. You may have heard the following remarks about this movie, so hear it now in my tone: The stories Divergent by author Veronica Roth and the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins are so similar the two novelists make you wonder if they mentor one another. I could even place the studio settings for the Hunger Games north of Divergent’s Chicago backdrop and save both movie crews some travel time. Even the publicity icons for both stories are circles of fire. To follow the goings on in the story Divergent it may help to read the book. The story is set in a post apocalyptic society that follows the philosophy of five ruling factions, but to save time I’ll discuss three of the five: Abnegation (the lead ruling sector), Erudite (its nemesis) and Dauntless (the brave). Shailene Woodley who stars as Tris/Beatrice crossed over from a T.V. series about American teenagers to star on the big screen and Theo James (playing the character “Four”) starred in about three or four television series. I guess its only fair for television stars to swarm over to the big screen since movie actors are crossing over into television land. The movie’s character Tris is from a family that belongs to the Abnegation faction and she switches to the paramilitary faction Dauntless. Meanwhile a conspiring coup is staged by the Erudite faction to take control from the selfless group Abnegation. This movie gets very political even down to the way that they have the sultry actress Kate Winslet (playing Erudite leader Jeanine) looking like a young Hillary Clinton. The movie also has an interesting social message weaved into it when passion erupts between two characters and morality meets respect. Well done. The movie is a slight Shakespearean dish with a dash of a hope in the conclusion to allow for the series of books to complete its cinema franchise. This feature does have a nice blend of legendary talent to spice things up including: Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd and Jia Courtney (from Showtime’s Californication). Courtney plays bad guy character Eric that you are going to love to hate. I was briefed by a co-worker on the target audience for this movie and didn’t heed her advice so I tell you: If you are young and craving adventure, go see Divergent while it is at the theaters; if you are an adult and wish to see “Divergent”, wait for the rental. Either way, you will be pleased. “300: Rise of an Empire” starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green and Rodrigo Santoro scores a “4.5”This is an action-drama fantasy containing combat violence and sexual situations with nudity. More suited for an adult audience.Written by SPEAK UP movie critic Dwight Lewis – Recently I’d taken my son to see “300, Rise of an Empire” at the Regal Valley Mall Stadium 16 cinemas and we both left very satisfied and entertained. I should begin this critique by urging any readers planning to see this film, whom haven’t already, to spend the extra money to see it in 3D. It was well worth the money, and given the quality, the number of action sequences and digital effects, I believe that 3D definitely added a little something to the experience which would’ve been lacking otherwise. If you were a fan of the original installment of the franchise there is no way for you to not be thoroughly entertained by this film. The film is set in the Aegean Sea where Greek hero Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to rally his fellow countrymen and lead Greek naval forces in defense against the monstrosity which is Xerxes’ navy, led by the ruthless femme fatale, General Artemesia (Eva Green).The film kicks off by giving a little backstory into the historical tale of King Darius, the original Persian invader of Greece and his mortal wounding at the hand of Themistocles. The backstory continues to briefly summarize the plot of the original 300 before picking up the action in the sea. Though certainly not quite the looker that Gerard Butler is, Stapleton is a very convincing Themistocles. What Stapleton lacked in looks and flash, he seemed to make up for in depth and executed his role wonderfully. In addition, Rodrigo Santoro was very haunting as king Xerxes, which proved more important in this movie than the last, as his character is focused on much more. But make no mistake about it… the star of this film, hands down, is Eva Green as the maniacally beautiful Artemesia. Ms. Green commands nearly every scene and though her character is quite ruthless indeed. Given her backstory and the combination of Green’s beauty and performance, I found myself rooting for her from the very beginning and throughout the movie knowing full well that eventually her toils would be for naught. This film was more historically accurate than the first by merit of the backstory of Darius alone (honestly that’s the only issue this reporter could imagine one having with this film). If you’re in it for an accurate play by play of the Greek/Persian wars, then see a documentary… otherwise you will be thoroughly entertained by this film. Fans of the franchise will be happy to learn that the end was left wide open for a third installment, obviously to cover, among other things, Xerxes actions at the end of this story (I’m taking a lot of liberty with this assumption). “Son of God” starring Diogo Morgado, Amber Rose Revah and Darwin Shaw scores a “2.5”This is a drama based on the biblical account of the life of Jesus according to His disciple John. This movie displays graphic violence, scenes of torture and murderous behavior.This movie is not an exploitation of the recorded brutality of Jesus. The focus of this story appears to be on the mission of Jesus. My background in theology and biblical studies allows me to tell you that this is another movie that is biblically inaccurate in regards to the visual features of the actor selected to portray Christ. I attended this with Jade Smith and I immediately told her that according to the prophecy of Isaiah the handsome Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado was not what Isaiah described:Isaiah 53:2 (New International Version) “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” So this was sort of the “plank in my eye” as I watched the rest of the movie to see where else they may go off course. Amazingly when scripture was spoken by the characters, it was correct. I did to use some Berean noble character and went back through the scriptures to check the dialogue used by Pontius Pilate’s character in the movie. Jade Smith was right that the lines used by Greg Hicks, playing Pilate, where in the bible (Gospel of John verses 33-37). I could not find in the Bible if the actual conversation between Pilate and Jesus occurred in a jail cell. The other part of the movie I that I felt wasn’t right was that they portrayed Jesus crying out when He was being beaten. Again I go back to the book of Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Watch the movie and see if my interpretation of the scriptures sets right with your spirit. The movie was not spectacular at all; perhaps they should have based it on the Gospel of Mark. The disciple Mark describes an action packed adventure with Jesus. The movie “Son of God” should hold your interest if you are a bible scholar or a "doubting Thomas". You may want wait until this movie is on DVD so you can stop the show and cross-reference the movie with the Word. “Need for Speed” Starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots and Michael Keaton scores a “4”This is an action packed drama portraying reckless driving and disregard for public safety, the movie includes brief nudityAaron Paul has a lot of TV experience and it helped with his starring role as Tobey Marshall in the action packed “Need for Speed”. Touchtone Pictures has a chance to chase the car movie gold that Universal Pictures experienced with their successful “Fast & Furious” franchise. This movie may lead you to believe its promoting American muscle cars so don’t be disappointed to find out that this chapter of NFS is highlighting expensive foreign sports cars. The story does give the Ford Mustang some amazing exploits and theater sound for movie is incredible, at least at Leitersburg Cinemas in Hagerstown, Maryland. Actress Imogen Poots portrays international car buyer Julia Maddon and gives a bit of a romantic nudge to the story. Rami Malek plays the unforgettable role of Marshall Motors team mechanic Finn. Need for Speed sandwiched a lot of action and drama in a movie that is over two hours long, but you will never realize the movie’s length as the story continues to zip right along. I don’t know how much artistic development the movie’s producer DreamWorks contributed to Need for Speed, but it is a great looking movie that is worthwhile to see in a theater. I nearly dismissed viewing Need for Speed; however this movie pick came from Toni Smith, who treated me to the show. Nice pick Toni E! “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” starring the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles and Ariel Winter scores a “3”This is an animated adventure made for those who grew up on Rock & Bullwinkle and its okay for school-aged audiences too. The most amazing thing to me about this movie is that Ty Burrell (who plays Phil Dunphy on the television show “Modern Family) nailed the voice of the Mr. Peabody character from the 1960’s cartoon classic “Rocky & Bullwinkle Show”. 11 year-old Max Charles does a pretty convincing voice for Peabody’s side kick, Sherman. For the sake of the movie the Sherman character is portrayed as the adopted son of the talking dog Mr. Peabody. Burrell is joined by another Modern Family co-star, Ariel Winter doing the voice of Penny Peterson. Ironically on the TV show Modern Family, Winter plays Alex, the daughter of the show’s character Phil Dunphy. Peabody & Sherman does require a knowledge of famous history figures in order to hone in on some of the humor, so this can leave the younger audience clueless to outburst of laughter from others in the audience. My four-year old critic said that he liked the movie, however he did throw a few questions during the movie at his mother who accompanied us. She also liked the movie, which is good clean entertainment, unless you find the Greek soldiers exiting the butt hole door of the Trojan Horse too much to handle. This movie is okay for $5 Day at the Regal Cinemas, butt (pun intended) you could hold out and wait until it is available for rental.“Non-Stop” starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery scores a “5”This is an action crime-drama with combat violence and incidents of homicide. Teens, young adults and adults should be able to handle this story.This movie has an excellent cast and a fantastic story with some original perspective. Once the action is unleashed it is non-stop just like the movie title and the mystery continues up until the conclusion of the movie. Hollywood gets it right this time. A few critics held back on complimenting a story that makes you question airline security, but you have to remember this is just a movie and this movie is entertaining.Liam Neeson, portraying Air Marshall Bill Marks, plays just as dynamic a character as his role in the movie “Taken”, however Air Marshall Marks has a few flaws. This movie will have you suspicious of all the characters including Jen Summers (played by Julianne Moore). Not much can be said about this story without robbing you of the thrills and puzzles Non-Stop throws at you. Definitely worth a rental if you don’t make it out to the theaters to see this one, but do try, this is a “big” screen adventure! UPDATE: “About Last Night” with Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall and Joy Bryant scores a “2”This is a romance comedy with course profanity, adult situations, sexual portrayals and this movie is made for an adult audience.I normally don’t do this, however on the plea of some of our readers I watched a movie that was already reviewed by our other critics. And I have to say that our review team was not being unfair with their score of “0” for the movie “About Last Night”. My generous upgrade to a “2” on our rating scale is to protect the reputation of actor Kevin Hart. A score of “2” is just one up from a “0” on our point system. We don’t waste time with a one rating and other rating systems, including Redbox, will force you to give a ½ star (or half a point) for movies that, by our scale, deserve “nothing”, zero! Nevertheless, I do want our readers to know that Kevin Hart (playing the character Bernie Litgo) nailed it, he and actress Regina Hall (playing the character Joan) are funny, outrageous and the only believable characters in the story. Michael Ealy (playing Danny Martin) and Joy Bryant (playing Debbie Sullivan) roles as “boy meets girl/girl breaks up with boy/boy and girl gets back together” is so obvious and boring that I could only wish to be asked to edit this movie to cut out about 30 to 40 minutes worth of “crap” out of it which would heighten the comedy relief. But maybe that’s the guy side of me which doesn’t care much for a “chick flick”. But heck, I thought chick flicks are supposed to have tear jerking emotional scenes. I’m pretty good at stone facing emotions, but I am not emotionally void. I can recognize the part of a movie that makes normal people or at least the female audience cry. About Last Night is a “guy safe” movie has no scenes that are strong enough to pull at your emotions and make you weep. See “Best Man’s Holiday” if your looking for a sobbing adventure. “About Last Night” needs a lot because without the hilarious and talented contributions of Kevin Hart and Joy Bryant, this movie is a Zero. I can’t believe that Ricky Sutton told me this movie was good. No lollipop for you Ricky.“The Lego Movie” with the voices of Christ Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett and Liam Neeson scores a “4”This is an animated action-adventure comedy. This movie is suitable for adults and youth who are old enough to keep up with the storyboardI was asked to see this movie with a four-year old, his mother and their friend. I had reviewed a family movie before with the four-year old and I knew he could go the distance watching movies in a theater without falling asleep or being interruptive. But after three minutes of the Lego Movie, I knew the story was over his head. He actually asked his mother several times what was going on and what did the characters mean by their dialogue. The movie is entertaining for young adults and adults. Judging by the outburst of youngsters in the movie theater, the writers managed to put enough cute stuff in it to justify bringing along a child. The story kicks off right away as a “boy meets girl” and ends with “boy gets girl”, I think that is why they lose the younger audience. Morgan Freeman doing the voice of Virtruvius, can make running water sound interesting. Lego character Virtruvius was definitely the comic relief. Will Arnett nailed the Batman Lego character. Elizabeth Banks did well with the voice of Wyldstyle/Lucy. I didn’t catch Liam Neesan’s voice until the credits and his triple row was stunning plus hilarious. It is a fun movie and of course it includes a moral lesson for adults not to be uptight and lose the meaning of playing. Bottom line, after the movie I asked the four year-old youngster if he liked it and he just murmured. His mother asked him to repeat his answer and he said, “No, I didn’t like it”. Thank goodness for the snacks the kid consumed during the movie or it may have been a total loss of his time. This is a good show to catch if you want to see Lego characters make satire of mainstream movie heroes and celebrity characters. “About Last Night” with Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall and Joy Bryant scores a “0”This is a romance comedy with course profanity, adult situations, sexual portrayals and this movie is made for an adult audience.Despite the “Must Go” reviews that Fandango fans and Fandango critics are giving “About Last Night”, according to our critics, Mollie said that “About Last Night” was boring, stupid and didn’t go anywhere. The story is based on people dating and trying to get together and this movie just wasn’t interesting. Josie said that the movie had a lot of “unnecessary” cussing. Both said this is a “lousy” movie. Perhaps Kevin Hart dropped the ball, because both of our critics said there were not a lot of laughs and everyone knows that Hart is capable of giving some hilarious moments. Josie knows Kevin Hart has comedy skills, she was one of our viewers giving input on “The Ride Along”. Mollie said someone may think About Last Nights is worth rental, but Josie said she wouldn’t even recommend it on bootleg and she had left the theater at one point during the movie. Save your time and money folks, About Last Night may be a worthless trip to the theater!“Robocop” starring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton scores a “3”This is a science-fiction action movie with combat violence. Teens as well as adults should be able to handle this content This movie has a very slow start. The technical effects barely match the 1987 original, so don’t look for anything fantastic in terms of special effects. The motorcycle used in this Robocop was much “cooler” and believable than the hunk of junk depicted in the Judge Dredd remake. The filmmakers failed to make good use Robocop’s family in this version and I think it created a gap in the story. Plus, the Robocop/Detective Alex Murhpy character (played by Kinnaman) never connects with the public as the story did in the original. They didn’t even work in a cameo appearance for Peter Weller (the original Robocop) who is working on his Doctoral Degree in Italian Renaissance Art History, go Doc Weller! The points scored in this movie go to Gary Oldman (from the Batman franchise) a remarkable actor playing scientist Dr. Dennett Norton and Samuel L. Jackson playing television personality Pat Novak. Jackson is hilarious with the biased antics his character’s spews on the Novak Element television show. The Robocop (2014) remake is an okay rental movie and I thought it could be worked into a video game, but one of our critics doubts it, he thinks gamers are more in to the Grand Theft Auto type videos games. Sorry Robocop, maybe Robocop 2 will step it up with more special effects and useful dialogue.“Jack Ryan – Shadow Recruit” starring Chris Pine and Kevin Costner scores a “2”This is an action-thriller with mild violence. This movies should be suitable for teens and adults.I don’t know about the book that this story is based on, but the movie version is “dull”. The good thing is that this movie will easily convert for television since it does not have blood, gore, profanity and nudity. However the movie lacks the action packed thrills and effects that make an action-thriller intense. Chris Pine follows behind a couple of Hollywood stars that played the clandestine “Jack Ryan” in other movie venues: Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games. Pine has portrayed starring roles in the latest Star Trek movie franchise releases and is an outstanding big screen action hero. Shadow Recruit is slow and obvious while barely using the other characters linked to the story. The movie has its moments, but not enough to leave the house to see. “Ride Along” starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart scores a “5”This is an action-adventure crime comedy with street violence, adult situations and bawdy humor laced with a little profanity. Teens and adults should be able to handle this movie“Ride Along" is by far one of the funniest movies to start the New Year with, but I have to be honest; the story does seem similar to “48 Hours”. Instead of a cop and a convict partnering up to solve crime, “Ride Along” has a cop and a police academy candidate getting the job done in a day instead of 48 hours. Good story, lots of hilarious moments (no surprise here) and a good twist in the plot. This movie is fast moving and has no boring segments, so get all of your refreshments and toilet runs in before the show starts because you will not want to miss anything. The trailers for this movie were very stingy, and they had to be to keep the layers of this movie unfolding and entertaining. Get out and see it so your friends can’t spoil the surprises. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. Ride along is funny and worth a trip to the movie theaters to support the movie artists and not the BOOTLEG thieves.
Our top four movie theatersWe do our movie viewing at several movie houses in a Four-State area: Regal Theaters n Hagerstown, Maryland Valley Mall, is a clean theater with plenty of viewing options including 3D and the latest digital formats except for IMAX. Regal Theaters have Discounts on Tuesday nights that include movies reduced below matinee price and discounts on refreshments as well if you use your Regal card. Using your Regal card will earn you FREE movie passes and FREE refreshments.Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia (Great HUGE screens, great 3D with real 3D glasses; the food and drink is ordered at your seat and brought to you – including alcohol beverages.Johnson IMAX Theatre in the Museum of Natural History in WashingtonDC. They have a 60 foot by 90 foot screen and the best 3D in the world! Plus I am a card carrying member of the Smithsonian Institute so I get huge discounts on movies. Their prices are okay for DC and if you are down in the museum district take the kids in a see a 3D short movie.Leitersburg Cinemas in Hagerstown, Maryland on the Pennsylvania border, if you catch the matinee you can enjoy the VIP seats for matinee prices – they also have a Dinner Theater too where you buy the food at the counter, take and eat it in nice recliners that have trays and no one theater staff running around distracting you during the movie. No booze though in this movie house, you’ll have to go to Alamo for that.Follow us on http://Facebook.com/brotherswhocare for the latest reviews
Brothers Who Care 131 W. North Avenue Hagerstown, Maryland 21740 301-393-9290