True Worth

Moneyball Movie Review(80/100)

Billy Beane doesn’t have the money that most managers do so he has to put a premium on real quality in his players. And he assembles the best team in baseball, but they don’t win the series. But he does win where it matters, with his daughter. Even through other relationship challenges during the movie he maintains a close relationship with his daughter who serenades him as the movie ends. She kids him about being a “loser” but he only lost on the field, not with his family. Family is what really matters.

Raiders Lite(weight)

For those who haven’t seen either Raiders or Temple of Doom or Last Crusade or National Treasure this will be a stunningly original story. For those who have enjoy the bike chase. Virtually no suspense or identification with the characters (6/10)

The Crime of Boredom

Movie Review: Oceans 8

Script Score(15/30) Nothing to see here. Just move along. No new ideas since Oceans 11. More wise-cracking and eccentric crooks who you should root for(but don’t.) No original dialogue(“You have no idea what it’s like to be in jail.”)
Security Score(15/30) You don’t hire this many new people right before this big an event. You especially don’t hire a new employee on the recommendation of a new employee right before this big an event. If you are working security you don’t let some smart-aleck party goer who keeps saying “hands off” prevent you from checking the areas you need to check. You put your hands on her and move her out of the way and you do your job. If you are a male working security and your client enters the woman’s bathroom you follow her(and her $150 million necklace) into the bathroom. If some smart-aleck party goer stands at the door and tells you you can’t enter you put your hands on her, move her out of the way, and enter the bathroom.
James Corden Score(30/30) Finally, a law enforcement character who seems to know what he’s doing. He’s funny too(“And you have two of these!”)Needed to work him into the story earlier. Would have been nice if he were more ethical though.
Lonely Celebrity Score(0/10) Really? This is what people do when they’re lonely? Nah. Go watch Bette Midler in “The Rose” That’s what loneliness looks, and sounds, like.

Oh well, it was still better than “The Shape of Water.” (60/100)

Don’t Gotta Dance

Singing in the Rain (60/100)

Dancing Score(20/20) A lot of talent on display here, especially since they didn’t give Debbie Reynolds any challenging steps in her routines.

Singing Score (15/20) Talented performers but they dance better than they sing.

Music Score(10/15) None of these tunes are stuck in my head, except the ones I already knew.

Lyrics Score(5/15) There is no dearth of clever, even profound, lyrics in movie musicals but I didn’t detect many here.

Musical Format Score(10/30) The Sound of Music remains the only musical that got me to accept the “let’s just break into song for no real reason” format of musicals. I rejected it in South Pacific, I rejected in Oklahoma, and I reject it here. I continue to think that, if it’s 1:30 in the morning and you’ve talked all night, just note the fact and go on. You don’t need to make a musical production out of it.

But, no matter, this film’s exalted place in movie history remains secure whatever my opinion of it.

Far From the Best

Spider Man:Far From Home (70/100)

Spidey Sense Score(0/5) (And, no, I won’t be using their alternate vocabulary) The functioning, or non-functioning, of this ability seems random and driven by nothing but the needs of the story. But having this perception as part of the fight scene in Vienna would have added and intriguing wrinkle to the story they wound up telling.

Nick Fury Score(5/10) This makes more sense by the end of the film but the deficiencies in his character needed to create more tension in the story as it was told.

MJ Score(10/10) They’ve made some interesting changes in the character. The dark view she brings is a nice balance in the story.

Mysterio Score(10/10) A good job of altering the character a bit but still maintaining important aspects of the comic version.

Story Score(5/10) The problem here is that they didn’t surprise me, even during the final moments on the bridge.

Secret Identity Score(5/10) The problem here is that they dropped the thread of this topic from Homecoming. After Endgame I have high expectations for story continuity and metanarrative in the MCU. But the twist they introduced was intriguing.

Humor Score(30/30) It helps when you have several characters who are nothing but comic relief.

Wise as serpents/Innocent as doves Score(10/15) Peter is learning that there is more to defending the world from evil that spinning webs and punching bad guys. But he encounters some real darkness here and his reaction(especially at the end of the bridge scene) seems more petulant than “I’m determined not to let this happen again.” We’ll see in the next movie if he’s learned his lesson.

An Acceptable Fright

La Belle Et La Bete(Beauty and the Beast)

Beast/Animal Score(20/20) No fluffy Disney protagonist here. This beast is an animal. He doesn’t hunt to protect Belle he hunts as hobby, he hunts to unwind, he comes in still covered in blood. He justly(or so it seems) draws the comment, “You’re an animal” from Belle. This beast would be hard to befriend, much less love. It would be like befriending a wolf.

Castle Score(20/20) Again, a less cuddly alternative to Disney’s singing candlesticks and teapots. They create a darker(and therefore better) atmosphere for the story. The Beast’s castle should be creepy and this one is. You never know when a wall will reach out and grab you.

Avenant Score(10/10) An interesting character. He seems to occupy a moral spectrum between “good-enough-to-marry-Belle” to “willing-to-kill-the-Beast.” But how can Belle have two love interests? The movie’s answer is creative.

“Drink water from my hands” Score(20/20) A gorgeous act which elevates the Beast literally(since he no longer need lay prostrate on the ground to drink) and figuratively(since he can kiss Belle’s hand.) It also leads to a gorgeous image as the Beast raises his eyes after drinking.

Editing Score(10/10) Belle’s acceptance of the Beast is gradual and unrushed. It unfolds over a seemingly large number of situations but the story doesn’t drag.

Acting Score(10/20) This might have been the usual acting style at the time but several scenes seemed overacted with exaggerated body(usually hand) motions.




Unscaled Heights

Dark Phoenix – Movie Review(55/100)

Foundation Score(5/20) – This movie was operating with an incredible deficit from the beginning. A huge component of the story is the love between Jean and Scott. This was not a factor in the movie version. That is totally the fault of the studio.

Script Score(1/5) – Cliches and drivel. How many times can Xavier say, “I never meant to hurt you”?

Train Fight Scene Score(35/35) – One of the best, perhaps the best, battle scene in MCU history.

Story Score(1/10) – If you can’t tell a better story don’t rewrite it. Of course, you can’t pack this epic tale into an hour and 54 minutes.  They wasted a lot of story-telling space in “Last Stand” by killing off and de-powering too many characters. “Last Stand” also failed to tell the Dark Phoenix story in any coherent way.

Michael Fassbinder Score(10/10) – His appearance was the first time the movie seemed to have a center. His lines were better and were delivered with conviction. To be honest, I miss Patrick Stewart as Xavier(and James Marsden as Cyclops. )

Unscaled Heights Score(3/20) – The Dark Phoenix Saga is one of my favorite stories in literature so my expectations were incredibly high(even with the negative reviews.) They were as high as for the Lord of the Rings films. Overall the movie isn’t horrible but it squandered a magnificent opportunity by failing to build a proper foundation, by failing to take the time to tell this epic tale the way it must be told, by failing to provide dialogue that communicated the passion of it’s characters and by failing to deal with the majestic themes of the original story.