Category Archives: Terse Movie Reviews

Terse Movie Review – Moulin Rouge (1952)

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I know John Huston has made better films — The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The African Queen jump immediately to mind — but this isn’t one of them.  I don’t care it was nominated for Best Picture, Director and Actor.  This is clearly one of the lesser-films in Huston’s oeuvre — it would be a lesser film in any oeuvre — drawn down by an annoying and braying performance by Jose Ferrer, who’s height varies wildly from scene-to0-scene and uninspired ‘decadence’.


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Terse Movie Review – Flash Gordon, Dir. By Mike Hodges (1980)

Flash gordon movie poster.jpgI remember seeing Flash Gordon all the time on HBO when I was a kid, because they must’ve paid an ungodly sum for the rights and were determined to get it’s moneys worth, even if that meant cramming what I knew even then was a terrible movie down subscribers throats.

Still, despite being ever-present in my youth, I easily haven’t seen it in 25 years or more, and it might’ve been another 25 before the urge struck me to see it again if the movie Ted hadn’t made me long to rediscover it.  Well, maybe not long, but curious.  After all, even though I didn’t like it as a kid I’m also aware that age and maturity and shifting perspective changes peoples attitudes of and there was always the possibility that coming to it relatively fresh after all these years, with no real memory of it beyond it being terrible, might find it improved.  Like a fine wine.

And in a sense, the movie did improve, but not in the way you’d expect. Continue reading

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Terse Movie Review – Jiro Dreams of Sushi

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I know this movie is about a man who makes sushi, but in reality, it’s almost an allegory full of life lessons.  My favorites:

  1. Have integrity in everything you do, no matter how inconsequential it may be, because if you don’t have integrity, then what do you have?
  2. Even that which is unpalatable can be make palatable through proper preparation, whether that be octopus or anything else.

A truly fascinating film.  Thanks to Netflix for recommending it to me.

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Terse Movie Review – Holy Rollers and Vertigo

I must apologize my regular reader for being lax with a new post — when you have a ‘real’ job, sometimes your hobby has to take a backseat to things, as much I would like them now to.  But here I am, hoping to make amends, in my own little way.

holyHoly Rollers

Isn’t it a great world where a movie about bible folk counting cards exists?  And it’s not fiction?  And that one of the Bible-thumping card counters is self-aware enough to realize that, in spite of his faith, when he says God told him a member of the team was cheating, he is naturally apprehensive to say something about it because he knows saying he heard the voice of God might make him sound crazy.


It might be sacrilege to say this, given that the film recently supplanted Citizen Kane as the best film of all time – at least according to the AFI – but I’ve never thought Vertigo was even the best Hitchcock movie, let alone the best of all time.  After all, the man made The 39 Steps, Rebecca, Psycho and North by Northwest – all easily better than Vertigo.  I suppose in the end I’ll have to write it off as being magical for some people in the way Citizen Kane is magical for me.  But for my money, the movie is a bit lumpen and lumbering and has a jagged narrative that only partially deserving of its reputation.

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Terse Movie Reviews – Double Feature – The Lone Ranger & World War Z

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So, had a night out at the Capri Drive-In in Coldwater, Michigan, over the weekend, a fact that was previously mentioned in a post here and my choices were either Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University, or The Lone Ranger and World War Z.  Having never seen the first Despicable Me, and only marginally interested in Monsters U, I chose the other screen.

TheLoneRanger2013Poster.jpgThe Lone Ranger.  I’ve said it before about most other movies I’ve seen, and it is a fact that applies to this one — too long.  Usually I think ten minutes is a good number to remove from a movie to make it better but here it easily could’ve been twenty-five.  Bloated doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Oh, and why is it called The Lone Ranger when it’s clearly the story of Tonto and his white friend, The Ranger?

Anyway, say it with me together now: Enh.

World War Z poster.jpgWorld War Z.  There are basically two genres of zombie movies anymore: the quick zombies and the slow zombies.  I’ve never really been a fan of the quick zombies — I’m much more partial to the slow, lumbering zombies — but of the genre, World War Z is not bad at all.  Given it’s production problems, I expected a mess and at points, it is sloppy and episodic.  But on the whole, it was smarter than expected, had a fairly surprising non-slasher movie ending, and was completely unafraid to screw with audience expectations.  After all, right about the time Brad Pitt and the plane touches down in Korea with brilliant doctor, who was being set up to be the genius savoir of humanity, I said to my daughter, who was watching with me, wouldn’t it really screw with the audience if the doctor was bitten straightaway and died?  No sooner were the words out of my mouth than he did die (from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound, but still).

Anyway, of the fast zombie movies I would rank them:

  1. 28 Days Later
  2. World War Z
  3. 28 Weeks Later
  4. Any other movie not Zak Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, which was awful.



Both times I’ve been to the Capri a movie with Armie Hammer was featured: last year it was one of the Snow White movies (whichever one he was in that came out last year) and this year it was The Lone Ranger.  Not sure what he’s in next so no telling if I can keep the streak alive.

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Terse Review – Party Down (Seasons 1 & 2)

Just blasted through both seasons of Party Down on DVD — well, maybe not blasted, as it took me a week or so to get there — and even though I know the ending of the show was enforced by cancellation and the loss of Jane Lynch to Glee and Adam Scott to Parks & Rec, I kind of think the ending of the show is perfect.  After all, if it were to have gone to another season you’d know how Henry’s audition for that movie turned out, whether he got the part or not.  But because it ended as it did you’re left to draw your own conclusions about the outcome and fortunately one of the conclusions is that Henry got the part and his career took off and so the show had to end.  After all, the first episode of Party Down began with Henry getting the job, so it would be fitting to say it ended with Henry quitting the job.

As an aside — Lizzy Caplan’s bangs throughout season two were simply hideous.

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Terse Movie Review — This Is The End, dir. by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg


I believe it was John Water’s who said that no comedy should ever be more than 90 minutes long — a good rule of thumb.  After all, most comedy concepts strain credibility from the very beginning and as writers/directors stretch them out the comedy thins out, pulling the laughs farther and farther apart.  This is why a movie like Airplane! is considered a classic and This Is The End will never be anything more than pleasantly amusing.  With Airplane!, the laughs fly at a mile-a-minute pace.  With This Is The End, not so much.

In other words: too long.

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Terse Movie Review: It Might Get Loud, dir. by. Davis Guggenheim


As much as I love this movie — and I really effin’ love it — whenever I watch it I’m invariably struck by two things that seem to surprise me every time:

  1. Jack White always comes across as such a pretentious boob, and
  2. The Edge has to be the most good-natured, self-aware musician in the history of the world

Strangely, I’m a far greater White Stripes fan than U2.  That being said, I’m probably more into Led Zeppelin than either of them, so…

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Terse Movie Review – Bronson, dir. by Nicolas Winding Refn

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It’s not usual for me to comment on the DVD of a film in the stead of reviewing the film, but for Bronson, which is a pretty good movie, carried by a magnetic and awe-inspiring performance by Tom Hardy, a philosophical point on DVD extras seems appropriate.

It has always baffled my why so films shot in English but with a foreign accent — British, Australian, etc. — show up in America without English subtitles.  Just because we’re speaking the same basic language doesn’t mean that language is easy to understand when spoken with a different accent.  See. e.g., Bronson.

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Terse Movie Review – Robot & Frank, dir. by

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Just because this series is called ‘Terse Movie Reviews’ doesn’t mean I necessarily have to be negatively critical — in fact, I don’t have to be critical at all.  And with Robot & Frank, how can you possibly be?

Wonderfully charming, with great, subtle work from Frank Langella — get to the end of the film and you see how subtle it really was — that is also funny, tender, and a bit sad.  And in a way, it made me think of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the notion that, if two people are really meant to be together, they’ll find each other, no matter what’s happened.

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