Shawn_Graham

IMDb member since September 2004
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    IMDb Member
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Reviews

The Outpost
(2019)

A gripping war movie in the spirit of "Fury" where nothing goes right
War movies tend to get it really bad, or get it really right. This one gets it right.

More of a docu-drama, than a narrative film, and non-stop "WTF" in your face the entire time. You instantly feel for the soldiers who were based in one of the most ill-conceived camps known. The ominous sense of dread and foreboding haunts the first few minutes of the film.

There are plenty of "gotcha" moments where you think a certain soldier is going to be with you the entire film, only to discover they are not. It's jarring and keeps you on your toes the entire time.

The handheld cameras are shaky, but not overly so, and bring you right into the terror that was that fierce battle.

Every actor delivers a satisfactory performance, but it is Caleb Landry Jones who delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as Ty Carter. An incredible portrayal which required careful nuance, it's one of the best pieces of casting direction I've seen in a long time.

A truly incredible film that will tear you apart, "The Outpost" quickly rises to the my top 25 all-time war films ever made.

2040
(2019)

It's like a car crash you can't look away from, and for the same reasons
The SFX budget alone probably could have fed a few small countries. But like the director said, it's impossible not to be a hypocrite anymore.

I don't know how many times the main music riff repeated itself, perhaps a dozen or more times. This film felt like a broken record and will be relegated to the compost bin of documentaries due to its hilarious premise that if we just eat more seaweed and take subways, we'll be fine.

The narrator must love the oxford comma, because he only speaks in threes. Something, something else, and then something finally. It's as if he can't make a point without talking in threes.

The one and only sole saving grace is the population problem, which the film glosses over. According to the film, women worldwide have around 5 children each. FIVE. If we were to stop that, we'd be OK. And they're completely correct. Population control is the ONLY way to really save us.

A fun game to play with this film is how many times they say "environment" or "resources" I stopped counting around 50. It's the same message pounded into your head over and over. We get it!

The nearly 10 minutes of credits shows the sheer volume and expense of making what is without question the slickest documentary ever produced. If Marvel made a documentary, it'd be this. The visuals were at times so corny and contrived they completely made you miss the message because you were so distracted as to how they did it.

Sure, the film is supposed to be a letter to his daughter, and aside from the unwatchably awful and inappropriate husband/wife sexual innuendos, I hope the kid "Velvet" sees it as a young woman of 16 or more and realizes she has to rise to heights far higher than this in order to make a dent in the world.

Onward
(2020)

It's great until it becomes a blatant Indiana Jones rip-off
With three screenwriters, you couldn't come up with anything other than an invisible bridge that if you believe is there is there? This is a *direct* rip-off of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989). Even the camera angle of when he steps out on the bridge is an exact duplicate. Even the steps you have to walk on carefully are an exact duplicate.

As if that wasn't enough, they steal even more from Indiana Jones, this time from the cave of the first movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981)which is almost a duplicate of that scene, the blob substituting for the boulder.

How this didn't raise the ire of Spielberg and Lucas, I don't know. It's one thing to pay an homage to your favorites, its another thing to steal entire sequences and pass them off as your own. That's beyond plagiarism, that's copyright infringement.

Because of this, I have to rate this film much lower than I normally would. It's entertaining, but when you blatantly rip-off other filmmakers, at least try to put your own stamp on it.

When Trumpets Fade
(1998)

As gritty and real as WWII movies come. A companion to "Fury" and "Saving Private Ryan"
This obscure film sent me reeling upon watching. I was expecting a half-baked made for cable movie. Hoo boy did this film exceed my expectations. The makeup, SFX, and technical crews should have all been nominated for awards (if they weren't already).

This film will take you right to 1944 and WWII. It will not stop or pause or let you go the entie time.

There are many many familiar faces from character actors to household names in this film, but they all capture their character so incredibly visually and wholly. Dwight Yoakam - who is unrecognizable in his role as an army major - plays an individual of the most contentious of all the characters that we see. If there is an antagonist it's him, the dimwitted army officer for whom his orders make no real sense but for him, because they're his orders, they must be obeyed.

But that real story is that arc of heroism through strangely selfish motives played by the lead character, who is in virtually every scene. Ron Eldard plays his characters all the same, understated, quiet, and with that notion he's been shortchanged somehow. This role is no different. His arc is one we might imagine for ourselves. Staying alive at all costs, exhausted beyond comprehension, yet finding the strength to do that right thing for people who depend on you.

This film includes one of the most brutal scenes ever captured on film. That of a US soldier killing one of his own men, a replacement, who is deserting the battlefield. After he kills the soldier, the rest realize they have but one choice, to move forward and fight the enemy. It's one of that most gripping and hard to watch scenes I've ever witnessed.

Watch this film. It's really good.

Screwed
(2000)

It's the cast, stupid
Norm McDonald Dave Chappelle Elaine Stritch Danny Devito Sarah Silverman Sherman Hemsley (the guy from The Jeffersons)

Oh did I mention Dave Chappelle?

This film is a goofy, hilarious, joke-filled comedy that will have you chuckling every few minutes. It's campy, corny, but laugh-a-minute.

That cast!

Dive Bomber
(1941)

Well-done science-based, pre-Pearl Harbor "WWII" film; the one-liners are hilarious
The word "Japanese" and "Germans" are never mentioned here, because the USA was not at war with anyone yet. It wasn't until Dec 7 1941, many months after this film was released, did we declare war on Japan.

Technically its not a WWII film, but feels a bit like one, only its really more of a giant science film, really. How to crack g-forces and high altitude sickness is the two goals of the U.S. Navy.

I wanted to write a quite-up about the humor in the film. There are a lot of jokes and one-liners and gags which make the 132 minute running time fly by.

No pun intended.

The Aeronauts
(2019)

This movie is severely underrated for the sheer height-inducing thrills and chills
The filmmakers do such a great job showing the perils of putting oneself in a wicker basket under a hydrogen gas balloon rising to *spoiler*.

I found myself completely squirming in my seat, getting queasy, and absolutely being more entertained than I have been in years at the theater.

The movie is about these two people and their journey to try something few are willing to do. But the thrills and chills from the adventure in the air is not only completely and totally convincing, it actually almost made me sick. It's so absolutely realistic you find yourself in that basket.

Go watch this film. The 6.6 rating is ridiculous. This movie is a sold 8.5 or higher.

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
(2018)

An incredibly odd, strange trip, that is highly rewarding and leaves you thinking
Combine "Andromeda Strain" "Inglorious Basterds" and "The Notebook" and you have the makings of this film.

It's unlike anything you've ever seen before, so that's why people aren't giving it great reviews.

Ignore them.

This movie is a sentimental journey your grandfather or great-grandfather would have taken (or is taking) and its something for which I'm grateful to the filmmakers and grateful to the cast and crew who made it.

I sat after the end and just watched the credits wondering how I would classify this movie.

If you like strange movies like "Border" or "Annihilation" or "Solaris" then you'll love this.

Highly recommended.

Super Dark Times
(2017)

"Juice" meets "Say Anything"
There were moments in this film where I had to pause it and leave the room. The suspense was palpable. Great directing and editing by the filmmakers.

Heart-pounding thrills.

I heard this film was made for $20,000 but it had the production values of a film that cost $20,000,000.

Just fantastic.

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