Taken 2: Please Take It Back — Review

1.5 of 5 stars
Taken 2: Please Take It Back

If I were introducing Taken 2 to a friend, I would ask him, “Have you seen the first one?”

“Yes,” he might answer blankly. Then there would be an awkward pause.

“Well,” I would beg the question, “What did you think of it?”

“It’s alright,” he might answer halfheartedly. I would promptly nod in approval.

Then I would tell him plainly, “Okay, then Taken 2 wouldn’t work for you.”

How did we end up with Taken 2?

Taken had a certain unexpected intriguing simplicity. It’s the unanticipated adventure of Brian Mills, a very unassuming father that’s faced with post-retirement drudgery.…

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Argo (2012) — Review

4.5 of 5 stars
Argo (2012)

I’m a big boy and I can admit when I’m wrong. As it turns out, I was wrong in my pre-judgement of this film. I’m not sure why, but this film looked like a painfully laborious snoozer to me from the trailers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Argo, though a story developed on a preposterous set of real events that took place, is a well crafted and well executed film full of suspense, tension, and heart. And though the fake film being “made” in Argo, which is called Argo, is an obviously corny and cheesy over-the-top sci-fi, Argo rises so far above the films coming to the box office of…

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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) — Review

5 of 5 stars

Thanks again to Corey for submitting another reader contributed review. If he’s not careful he’s going to become a regular contributor. We welcome the interaction and collaboration, and I’m pretty sure I need to see this film now. Enjoy.

 

TJ

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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

“You’re too old to be filling your head with such nonsense,” Carmen tells her daughter, Ofelia, in an early scene in Pan’s Labyrinth. “Such nonsense” is a book of fairy tales, cradled lovingly in Ofelia’s hands.

But are fairy tales nonsense? Should they be read only by the very young? Or can grown-ups learn from them, too?

For Guillermo de Toro, the answers are clearly No, No, and Yes, respectively. Pan’s Labyrinth is an R-rated tale full of fauns, faeries, and other fantastical creatures. It’s bloody and it’s dark. But it also has much to say.

A Long, Long Time Ago…

The story takes…

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The Red Pill - A Review of ‘The Matrix’ — Review

5 of 5 stars
The Red Pill - A Review of ‘The Matrix’

“The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”

Ever since the inception of The MovieByte Podcast, and the MovieByte site, I have looked forward to this day with some trepidation. You see, The Matrix is one of my all-time favorite films, and something like “your favorite film” is so subjective, and there are people…

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Trouble with the Curve — Review

3.5 of 5 stars
Trouble with the Curve

An ailing baseball scout in his twilight years takes his daughter along for one last recruiting trip.

It’s a story about living as a human being — not a human doing. Best laid plans and hard work go to waste, but life seems to work out for the best if you’ll just stick with it.

And like one character in the movie says, “It’s just a game.”

Storyline

Gus Lobel is one of the great baseball scout experts that should be added to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Thanks to Gus, the Atlanta Braves were successful during the nineties, what with the key players Gus introduced to the team.

But now…

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‘Looper’ (2012) — Review

5 of 5 stars

Welcome to our first reader contributed review. Corey has been excited about Looper ever since I’ve seen him talking online about it. He has shown great enthusiasm for the upcoming film and so Joseph asked him if he would be interested in contributing a review. He said he would love to.

Corey was a big fan of Movieology, from which MovieByte has spun off, and has been very supportive of MovieByte from the get-go. Corey loves books, movies, music, theology, science fiction and more. Exploring the endless possibilities of the English language is one of his favorite pastimes as an aspiring writer. He’s the type of guy who will sit down and read a grammar book from cover to cover (yes, this might just be a little crazy), and enjoy every minute of it. He blogs regularly at www.inkslingerblog.wordpress.com.

TJ

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‘Looper’ (2012)

“I can see you’re not joking when you say you’re gonna kill this guy.”

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a time travel yarn that was actually worth its salt. With Looper, we finally get one… and it’s not just good, it’s fantastic!

Futuristic Storytelling

In the year 2042, time travel hasn’t yet been invented… but in 2072, it has. It’s also been outlawed. It’s so illegal, in fact, that only the mob uses it. When they want to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where he’s promptly offed by a “looper” with a blunderbuss. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one such…

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The Master — Review

3.5 of 5 stars
The Master

Smart, powerfully acted, beautifully filmed, and solidly engrossing, The Master extends writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s winning streak of challenging films for serious audiences.

This striking portrait of drifters and seekers in post World War II America, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master unfolds the journey of a Naval veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future — until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Story line

Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a mentally disturbed man that has…

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The Avengers — Review

4.5 of 5 stars
The Avengers

Finally, the film is here on DVD, Blu-ray, iTunes, and more, giving me an excuse to review it! The year is not over yet and it is possible that this could change, but I doubt it — I think it’s safe to say that The Avengers will be my favorite film this year. Indeed, Avengers is currently my favorite super-hero movie, taking away my personal top spot from Batman Begins. I admit that perhaps I have a little bias working in favor of the film as I have been a fan of Whedon’s work since before he was the cool new filmmaker on the block, but I like to think that all the same, my opinion…

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Samuel Jackson Summer Flop Loses $12 Million

Samuel Jackson Summer Flop Loses $12 Million

Samuel Jackson and Tom Wilkinson should make for an entertaining movie, wouldn’t you agree? I thought so when I saw that Redbox has a new DVD release starring these two in a crime/action film.

The description of The Samaritan from Rotten Tomatoes:

After twenty‚Äźfive years in prison, Foley (Samuel L. Jackson) is finished with the grifter’s life. When he meets an elusive young woman named Iris (Ruth Negga), the possibility of a new start looks real. But his past is proving to be a stubborn companion: Ethan (Luke Kirby), the son of his former partner, has an ingenious plan and he wants…

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Snow White and the Huntsman — Review

4 of 5 stars
Snow White and the Huntsman

“By fairest blood was it done, and only by fairest blood can it be undone.”

This is not the Disney Snow White you may remember from your childhood. Snow White and the Huntsman straddles a much more fine line between gritty realism and a fantastical, magical world of evil queens, magic, dwarves, trolls and more. This rendition of Snow White is ultimately a tale of good versus evil. There is a natural order to things, and Snow White understands and uses that order to great effect. In fact there is quite an allegorical nature to this film. At the beginning, evil appears to be triumphing (the…

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