Category Archives: Five stars


Netflix streaming – they predicted it as somewhere around 4.5 stars for me. I don’t know for sure because they have changed their web interface and I don’t seem to be unable to remove the 5 stars I gave it, to see what their prediction was.

Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Berhard Hopkins. Very famous boxers, and this documentary does a great job of showing us where they came from and what the boxing life did to them.

Champs movie poster

It was a great idea to put the three together into this documentary, though I’m sure that good individual documentaries about each of them are still possible. The story of Bernard Hopkins and his return after serving 5 years of an 18-year prison sentence is moving. Even Mike Tyson seems to be bettering himself now.


Netflix DVD – they rated it at 4.7 stars for me, and 3.9 stars for the general audience. This is another movie where Netflix finds something for me that I might not normally be interested in from reading the description. A jazz drummer determined to succeed and driven by a demanding music teacher? Not interested, normally … but wow, did they ever do a good job of making this movie engaging and suspenseful, and they even got a twist or two in there.

Whiplash movie poster

I really liked the acting in this movie, and it was a lot of fun to watch. It’s not only about music, though people interested in music would probably like it, but more about personality and achievement. It makes you wonder if the “demanding” music teacher was right in some way. I thought my high school band teacher was a real jerk, but this guy (played wonderfully by J.K. Simmons) was WAY worse! I’m going to give it 5 stars.

Avengers Age Of Ultron

Just saw this in the theatre with the family, for Mother’s Day, and we loved it! Close to being as good as the first one, and just as much fun. I liked the new characters of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. While you don’t want to think too much about his creation, the new character The Vision also shows up. Like the first one, it was a ton of fun to watch and I’d like to see it again. We’ll probably buy them both at some point.

Avengers Age of Ultron movie posterThe dialog between the characters was as great as ever, and quite a few funny lines are delivered along the way – “the elevator is not worthy” being a favorite. You’ll know it when you hear it …

The graphics are spectacular and I’m glad to see that they’re making money on it – these things cost so much to make, we don’t need any failures jeopardizing our chances of getting more superhero movies in the future. Speaking of which, where’s the Legion of Super-Heroes movie, and how badly are they going to do it? I fear that it’s going to suck … I hope I’m wrong.

Sons of Anarchy

Netflix streaming – I just finished watching the series finale, from the seventh and final season. They predicted it at 4.3 stars for me, and 4.3 for the huge general audience – over 4 million viewers have rated it so far. This is a fascinating series, one of several that I have been turned off by originally, because of what seem like distasteful people. The Soprano’s and Breaking Bad were both like this as well, I watched an episode and decided I didn’t want to watch such horrible people. However, coming back to them because of glowing reviews everywhere, I got hooked on all of these and wanted to see what would happen to these people. Sons of Anarchy is a fascinating study of people on the wrong path in life, but who seem to be, at least sometimes, doing the right thing for themselves and their families.

Sons of Anarchy poster

This long-running show is a fascinating character study and a vivid demonstration of how bad choices can pile up on each other and send people down a path of destruction. At times, perhaps many times, it is overly convoluted as the plot twists around a huge number of motorcycle gangs and their members, as they cold-heartedly kill each other for a piece of their lucrative and illegal pies, partially fueled by retaliation and disrespect. One good person is caught up, by love, in this mess, and she gradually turns to be more and more like them. It is interesting watching, but I think I had to see the whole thing in order to give it 5 stars. Individual episodes would probably only receive 4 stars from me. From what I’ve read, it seems like they had the entire series planned out, since things in the last episode carry on and reflect back to things in the pilot episode.

Edge Of Tomorrow

Netflix DVD – they predicted it at 4.9 stars for me, and 3.8 for the general audience. Netflix knows what I like! I’m going to give it 5 stars, this is one of my favorite movies of all time. This was the second time I’ve seen it, having seen it in the movie theater a year or so ago. On this second viewing, on our home tv, it was still really good, though of course there were no surprise twists to enjoy this time. The large theater screen was no doubt better than the tv screen, as well. This movie is just a fun, exciting time, with absolutely fantastic graphics, particularly of the alien creatures and the military equipment. It just looks real.

Edge of Tomorrow movie poster

Both Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise were really good in this movie. In addition to spectacular action, there was a nice, emotional component underneath, and the ending, which I won’t mention here, was the perfect way to handle it. Highly recommended.


Netflix DVD – they rated it at 4.9 stars for me, and 4.0 for the general audience. It might not have been perfect, but it was definitely a masterpiece, and I’m giving it 5 stars. I didn’t know it was such a long movie, and at 2:49 it covers a lot of ground. I didn’t find it to be slow at any point, and the only real letdowns that I had are not surprising at all. I mean, how could it have been done any better? I didn’t know Matthew McConaughey was in this movie, I wouldn’t have picked him as an actor in this type of movie, but he did alright. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have chosen Anne Hathaway for her role, I would have thought somebody more serious-looking would have been better-suited, say, Jennifer Connelly?

Interstellar movie poster

Anyway, it was a great movie, but as usual, people could certainly find things to nitpick. Reviews compared it to 2001, A Space Odyssey, which I haven’t seen, and now I’d like to watch it to see what they are talking about.


Netflix DVD – they rated it at 4.5 stars for me, and 3.7 for the general audience. I really liked this movie, which contrasted the personalities of two race car drivers: the Austrian Niki Lauda and the British James Hunt, through the events of their rivalry for the Formula 1 World Championship title back in the 1970’s. Lauda was serious, dour, and not particularly social, while Hunt was a flashy, outgoing party boy, perfectly played by Chris (Thor) Hemsworth. As the movie plays on, you see their grudging relationship grow, to the point where you can say that they were almost friends, in a sort of sibling rivalry sense.

Rush movie poster

They grew to have a grudging respect for each other. Ron Howard is the director, and he did a good job of including scenes that advanced the story at the same time as being entertaining – both serious and comedic. I’m going to give it 5 stars, and categorize it as a documentary, for telling a true story, though no doubt it is far more dramatized than a typical documentary.

127 Hours

Netflix DVD – they rated it as 4.4 stars for me and 3.7 for the general audience. I’m going to give it 5 stars. I had seen it before, and this second viewing was just as good as the first – it didn’t lose any of its power by knowing what was going to happen. This time, it was easier to see what theme filmmaker Danny Boyle was going for – that of somebody who lived his life in an adventurous, but self-centered manner. We all know what happened to this guy, and the story of his survival is amazing. Could we do such a thing? Maybe not, but look at how he has moved on to live a good, perhaps better than good, life because of that choice.

127 Hours movie poster

Danny Boyle does such a great job of making this story engaging. It’s fun to watch his use of extreme close-ups and extreme pull-backs, and every film-making trick he pulls helps out with telling the story. I would like to know if meeting the two girls and dropping through the crack with them into the water really happened. Maybe I should read the book, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, by Aron Ralston? The story itself is engaging and captivating, and it’s no surprise this movie was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor (James Franco).


Netflix DVD – they rated it as 3.9 stars for me, and 3.7 for the general audience. I’m going to give it 5 stars – while the story may not have been spectacular, it was, in its own way, a masterpiece of film-making. I can see why it won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 2014. In what appears to be a single shot, the story moves seamlessly from one scene to another as the characters move around. The characters are ALL flawed and human, and Michael Keaton’s lead character is wonderful in his desperate life.

Birdman movie poster

He portrays what must be a mid-life crisis brilliantly and it is quite a feat for him to have done it in a movie filmed in this way. Edward Norton does a great job acting as a total jerk hiding behind the facade of a brilliant actor. The amazing thing about this movie, though, is the filming, as they move from place to place in this apparent single shot, winding the camera through things that seem impossible. I would guess that they used digital effects to accomplish several key pieces of this movie. Fascinating movie, I’d love to have seen how many of these scenes they filmed in consecutive real-time, moving from place to place.