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The appearance of a movie in this review journal does not mean that the movie is endorsed by Kim.  He writes reviews of movies that he saw that he recommends people avoid as well as movies that he considers worth seeing.  Aside from just critical approval regarding the film, some movies may not be suitable for you or your family.  You must make that kind of determination on your own, and stay true to your own convictions on what is appropriate to see.  Some movies are well made, but have offensive or difficult subject matter that is questionable to many viewers. Again, the reviews listed here should not be your only filter for whether or not a film is appropriate for you and and your family.

Additionally, Kim has his own view on what movies are and why he thinks they are a worthwhile aspect of current culture to be investigated.  You certainly don't have to agree with Kim on his viewpoints of movies, and he would be surprised if you did.

Kim's thoughts on movies -

Movies are the modern art "experience" of our culture. They are transmitted in many forms, on screens in theatres, DVDs, television and even computers. They are the merge of classical theatrical acting and modern day technical set and experience creation (effects). The reason I enjoy and watch lots of movies is that they not only entertain, they communicate the nuances of our society. Of course, some have nothing to do with culture, its just greedy corporations trying to produce profits. I am a guy, and as such am not the ideal audience for romantic comedies or 'chick fliks'. However I am also a husband, and domestic bliss (as well as common sense) compels me to at least review them...occasionally.  For the most part, you will find I like (and therefor review a lot of ) action, drama, science fiction, suspense and similarly themed movies.

The Impossible (2013)

Impossible to explain. Unbelievable to experience.

Overall Grade: A-
Story: A-
Acting: A
Direction: A-
Visuals: A+


Summary: The 2004 Tsunami that plunged across the coast of Thailand (and other countries in Indian Ocean basin) is one of the largest natural disasters in recorded history. Inside that event, this movie uncovers the story of one family. Following them from their vacation to the terrible event to their languishing journey to survive and reunite. It is human, evocative and realistic.

Full Review: I went to this movie without having seen any ads or promotion to it, except for the trailer I watched on my cell phone while looking for the movie times at our local theatre. What intrigued me was the claim of this movie being a true story. Not based on, or set in events, but actually the true story of a family. I am very glad I went to this movie.

Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star as the parents who experience the unthinkable tragedy of the 2004 tsunami that devastated the coastal areas of Indonesia, Thailand and many other southeast Asian countries. To give away much of the setup or story would be to deny you the experience of the movie. I won't spoil that for you. But the movie is excellent in its pacing, its character drama and even its portrayal of trauma and its physical and psychological effects that are the aftershocks in real human lives.

The special effects, visuals and cinematography on this film are exceptional. If you can see this while it is still in theatres do so. If you miss it, be sure to watch it in surround sound in a theatre experience. The sound and visuals are astounding and pull you into the experience. Go see "The Impossible". It is an exceptional film.

For parents, this movie should be reserved for children that are 9 and over. Extensive scenes of disaster carnage are not as graphic as they might have been, but they do not lack the sensitivity to uncountable bodies, broken lives and lost families that were effected. There some nudity but only in the most tragic sense- a woman whose shirt it torn in the storm, a destitute man walking without shorts- these are sad reminders of the dehumanizing conditions of tragedy, not sensationalism. Because of the fear and pain the films images can invoke, parents should consider heeding the movie of its MPAA "PG13" rating. 


Amazon DVD Link:


Review by Kim Gentes

Promised Land (2013)

Promises lots. Lands little.

Overall Grade: C
Story: C
Acting: C-
Direction: B-
Visuals: B


Summary: Matt Damon attempts his second "average Joe" movie (after "We Bought A Zoo"), this time on a plot where big, bad natural gas companies are running over little town America. All the elements were there for a decent movie, but the direction and acting fell short. Not terrible. Just not very good.

Full Review: Steve Butler is the top notch salesman for "Global Crossover Energy" (jeepers is Hollywood running out of people to come up with reasonable names for fictitious companies). He is the natural gas industry's equivalent to Tom Cruise's character in Jerry McGuire. You send him into the room to close the deal. But the comparison ends there, because where Cruise makes his character come alive with his intensity, Damon's character looks like he is about to fall asleep or simply scratch his fingernails across the blackboard of the audience's mind for 106 minutes.

There are moments when Damon looks to raise his game, but the dialog is forced to stay out of detailed and complicated arguments of science, to keep the viewers interest. While this is wise, it ultimately means the dialog always kind of languishes between character development (which is actually not that bad) and quasi-scientific environmentalism.  Some old guy affronts Butler's claims in a public meeting and all of a sudden we are supposed to believe that the movie has tension, conflict and suspense. Good golly.

By the time the movie is in full swing, all that could be done is to make the characters interesting, engaging and at least human. Matt Damon and Frances McDormand (his co-worker/assistant) have personalities that are yin/yang interesting and can be enjoyed as the characters are developed in the story. The conflict comes down to a fact-finding dual between the two gas company sales people and a mysterious environmental wunderkind, Dustin Noble (played by "The Office" star John Krasinski). I won't ruin the plot or outcome, because maybe one day you might see the film and it wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to you.

I kept hoping for the love of all things good and right that Damon would pick up a book and beat someone senseless (as he did with both a magazine and hardcover book in two his Jason Bourne movies), take on a 6-pack of armed environmentalists with just his fists, or even start ranting with power and intelligence (as he did with intensity in several scenes of Good Will Hunting- the bar room rant on history of the southern colonies is a classic!). Heck, I would have settled for a rampage where Damon is just getting mad and strides like a flat footed Olympic race-walker (as he did on the beach of Gao in The Bourne Supremacy). But instead, we get McDormand reciting tired lines of unempathetic drivel about her son, and Damon cowering in self-doubt about a process that he seems to know nothing about, after working for years to become it's Vice President of land development.

I wanted to love this movie- and I actually came away thinking that there must be better minds behind the anti-fracking lobbyists than the thin veil of dull intelligence that was thrown at this movie. The script writing (Damon and Krasinski, again), while surface witty a few times and charming occasionally, is placidly unoriginal and downright emotionless through the vast majority of the film. The directing is a bit better and the cinematography is actually enjoyable, showing off some beautiful scenes from various rural American towns.

I would save this movie for the rental shelf or Netflix. The director, actors and production team obviously saved their best for another film- you might as well too.

For parents, this movie should be reserved for children that are 11 and over. The offense for this film is only found with language, where use of the "f" word visits the script multiple times. For these infractions the movie gets its MPAA "R" rating. 


Amazon DVD Link:


Review by Kim Gentes

Lincoln (2012)

History, not Hollywood.

Overall Grade: A-
Story: A-
Acting: A
Direction: A
Visuals: B


Summary: Abraham Lincoln's presidency is seen by most historians as the ascendancy of the greatest leader in American history. The primary accomplishments of Lincoln's leadership are narrowed to the lightning rod items of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution and the winning of the American Civil War. This film is an attempt at historical narrative through the vision of the book "Team of Rivals" (Goodwin). The film is directed by Steven Spielberg, who (unlike the pitiable attempts by Oliver Stone and other revisionists to history) does not try to cast his own vision of reality, only present the story with brilliant intensity and humble respect to reality. A triumph, worthy of its subject.

Full Review: Under the direction of legendary Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field take the screen in their most realistic roles ever, telling the story of Lincoln's most crucial achievement. Achievement that changed US and world history by inaugurating an age of American vanguard stance as a defender of human and racial rights. Winning the civil war and passing the 13th amendment to the US constitution are the pivotal points of this drama. But they are made real and riveting by the acting by Lewis and Field (with the support of Tommy Lee Jones), and the directors homage to historical accuracy as taken from the Doris Kearns Goodwin book "Team of Rivals". The movie isn't meant to be Hollywood, but is clearly meant to be confined within the realm of reality. If you accept Goodwin's details of Lincoln's biographical narrative, then this movie is an unmistakeable triumph.

Spielberg's work, as usual, is outstanding, especially in his restraint for the time period as a uniquely other world than what we often envision looking through our 21st Century worldviews. The acting, though excellent, is just a shade away from legendary. Something palpable dominates the screen when Lewis is in frame, but the meager 149 minutes given to Lincoln seems to truncate what might have been a masterpiece worthy of 3 hour film time. Sally Field does fill the role of troubled and irritating Mary Todd Lincoln, and does so with complexity due the character. There was a bit of room left in my rating (A-, rather than A or A+) because of the legendary status this film had the chance to attain. One wonders what would have been done had the scope or detail been broadened to give us a full 180 minutes. The story is so deep, it feels like we scratch the surface, settle in for the film, and then it ends.

That said, if you have the opportunity to see this movie while it is still in theatres, do so. Otherwise, be sure to pick it up in the Netflix, Amazon or other outlets as it releases therein. Don't miss it.

For parents, this movie should be reserved for children that are 11 and over. Some brief but severe scenes of war carnage, and a few instances of offensive language give this movie rating its MPAA "PG13" rating. 


Amazon DVD Link:


Review by Kim Gentes

Flight (2012)

Crashing and Burning. Oh ya, and a plane goes down.

Overall Grade: A
Story: A
Acting: A+
Direction: A+
Visuals: A


Summary: Denzel Washington is the everyman, superhero and legend that we all look up to. Except now. Flight is a brilliant detour of character for one of the best actors of our generation. In a film that looks like no airline movie you've ever seen, Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington both have their careers and modus operandi take a sharp turn from the past. Heroic and tragic, this very serious film about serious issues may be one of the top 3 movies of the year. An absolute must-see. NOTE: it is important for people read my rating caution at the bottom of this review.

Full Review: We've had nearly 100 years of commercial air flight in the modern world. And there has been some powerful and poignant issues to have been played out on the silver screen using the backdrop of an airplane. Flight is a new movie that takes hold of four topics in that sphere and plays them closely together in a deceptively simple plot. The idolization of pilots, the fear of crashing, the power of government regulators and investigators, and substance abuse are spun into a riveting yarn. Centered around pilot Whip Whitaker, who's rags to riches to addiction story unhinges the audience from loving the central character, this may be one of the best airplane movies ever.

Whitaker (played by Denzel Washington) is an airline captain with uncanny abilities. He grew up, mentored by his crop-dusting pilot father and doating grandfather, to be an expert Navy pilot. He made the dream of flying for a big commercial airline and successfully managed years of untinged record. Yet his family life was dismal. Divorced and bitter over the loss of relationship with his only child, Whitaker drinks and abuses drugs to prop his life up and keep him "flying straight".

[Mini-spoiler- the follow paragraph reveals some of the plot that is important in the story. It doesn't give away the outcome, but we wanted to warn you that it reveals a significant point of the plot]. When tragedy strikes and the plane he is piloting crashes, his amazing piloting abilities save most of the passengers and he is initially hailed as a hero. But toxicology records threaten to reveal his secret life and thus begins a descent into the hell of Whip Whitaker.

This movie is excellent. Denzel's performance alone is worth the price of the ticket. There is one small blip in the storyline that seemed slightly contrived, and left me from giving it my highest ranking (A+), but the direction and acting are so good you will not be disappointed.

That said, this movie is very intense in its treatment of drugs, alcohol and language. While I personally believe it could be a very poignant story, I understand the graphic representation of these topics in a film might be very offensive to some. I am warning you of this now- buckle up and sit down, or don't get on this plane. There will be turbulence- violent turbulence.

RATING CAUTION: For parents, this movie should be reserved for children that are actually 17 and over. With full frontal nudity, drug/alcohol usage and excessive swearing in parts, the movie rating is apt at MPAA "R" rating. I am highlighting this rating because it stretches the limit of what many people will be comfortable with seeing in a film. Overt and repeated drug & alcohol use, and an opening scene of nudity. You should know this going into the film.


Amazon DVD Link:


Review by Kim Gentes

Chronicle (2012)

Intense, overwrought, bad-a.. Super-serious, superheros.

Overall Grade: A+
Story: A+
Acting: A+
Direction: A+
Visuals: A


Summary: Imagine getting super-powers. Not just one of them, but the kind that let you basically do anything. Now imagine that you and your two best friends all got those powers. Woah. That is "Chronicle"! What starts off as a gangly teenager, geek-to-hero movie turns into a dark, serious look into the human soul. A ravaging view into the pithy phrase "absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Full Review: Every high school teenage boy thinks "wouldn't it be cool if I had super powers". But Andrew, Matt and Steve actually get their wish in the sleeper success movie "Chronicle". The three young men happen to ramble down to a newly opened cave where a presumed glowing alien artifact somehow imbues them with telekenetic powers. The story begins with their acquistion of this power and follows the three through the "found footage" filming technique used on such films as "Cloverfield".   As they learn to harness and exercise their powers, one of the three (Andrew) begins to become excessively violent, using his power to express his rage at his personal life and situation as well as his formerly "nerdish" reputation.

The movie turns darker by the moment as Andrew lets his rage overtake his personality and his powers spin into complete destructive overload. His friends try to confront him but tragedy awaits them.

This is a super-hero movie you likely will have missed this year, with some huge blockbusters coming out- Avengers, Dark Night Rises. But this hero story is by far the best, from this reviewers perspective. Partly because the super-powers are a showcase for the full expression of humanity, both for good or evil.  The direction is intentional and brings you to a conclusion that all such power corrupts with ultimate persuasiveness. Yet, there is some hope. If you don't see any superhero movies ever- see this one. If you do- see this one.  There are some very minor character errors in the script, but they are neutralized by the seriousness of the acting done here.

Of all the movies out so far in 2012, Chronicle is the best by far (at from this reviewers perspective). Creators Josh Trank (director, writer) and Max Landis (screenplay, writer) have envisioned a viceral, get-under-your-skin movie that starts off moping along like a gangly-teenager-to-superhero movie. But artfully and tragically, it morphs into a 21st century sci-fi of a raging "Carrie", guy-style.  As Cujo was to Lassie/dog movies, so Chronicle is to superhero movies.

For parents, this movie should be reserved for children that are actually over 13. The movie rating is apt and the intensity of this movie is perhaps slightly underplayed by its MPAA rating. 


Amazon DVD Link:


Review by Kim Gentes