You are here:  Ronen Recommends

Ronen's Rating System:

***** A must watch
**** Worth seeing
*** If you must watch a movie and there is nothing else out there
** Don’t bother
* It’s so bad its almost good... not... These are films I walked out on, or just fell asleep
(K: stars) Rating by my children. As they are easy to please, would typically be higher than mine...


Movie Review: Astro Boy (2009) ****

Where did I see this ploy before? Wait… maybe in 95% of the animated children films made these days?... Boy needs his dad’s approval, approval needs to be won, boy perform an act of heroism, boy wind approval. This film is no different. It just add to the mix a little bit of A.I. (Spielberg), shreds of Battlestar Galactica and even a little bit of Pinocchio… There are elements of environment (recycling) WALL-E style, and some political hints to the re-election of a certain president using scare techniques of WMD.
So with this said, why 4 star rating? My 10 years old, given the rating scale of 1 to 5, gave it a 4, maybe a 5. He really liked it. I was debating between 3 (plot) and 4 (execution). So 4 it is, on a children scale, meaning your kids will love it and you will not suffer.

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Movie Review: A Serious Man (2009) ****

So what does it all mean? asks, if not always in these exact words, Larry, the main character of this depressingly funny, randomly serious film, that starts in Yiddish and ends up with a hurricane… A Coen brother’s fan I am. And as such, I take great delight whenever a new creation of theirs hits the screens. This film somewhat stood out as it handles a topic, or so it seemed from the previews, the brothers steered clear from previously: Jewish heritage. Yet, so it appears, when the Coens finally decide to address their roots, they handle it mercilessly – stereotypes and all. This is to say that I suspect some parts will not be obvious for people outside this heritage, while other parts may piss-off those who are from within. The Coen’s typical Jew is, wait a minute… a Woody Allen type? Complicated and sort of funny -- drowning in his own misery. Always asking why, always looking for the moral of the story; filling out a large blackboard with complicated formulas only to prove that everything is random… And so, what is the moral of this film? The film is the moral of the film, life is the moral of life. And if you expect any other clues, don’t…

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Movie Review: Good Hair (2009) ****

If I would have known in advance this film is a documentary about black hair, I doubt I would have ended up seeing this charmer. Lucky me. With a nice frame story and a flowing plot-line, Chris Rock keeps its audience engaged and entertained. Surprisingly enough, the film includes snippets of international flavors, commentary related to social issues, and plenty of gender conflicts, all surrounding what some of us takes for granted – good hair...

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Movie Review: Whip It (2009) ****

What does the heroine of the film Whip It (Bliss, played by Ellen Page) has in common with Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee in Zombieland? Tallahassee’s memorable quote: “my momma always said I'd be good at somethin’, someday; although, I don't think she meant zombie killin’.” And so can Bliss say much in the same way – “although I don’t think she meant roller derby…”
It is a fun movie, even if very much following the expected formula of a misfit girl finding her place in the world. The usual confrontation with her family, the climate at the end of the second act -- where it seems everyone, including her best friend, parents and her newfound love are turning their backs on her, and the “everything coming together well” sort of ending. But despite the expected plot line, the backdrop of the fast-moving roller-derby, combined with fine acting, provides for an exciting and engaging 111 minutes of film, and a nice directorial debut for Drew Barrymore. Who would have guessed the screamer from E.T. will eventually direct movies? Then again, who would have guessed the freckled boy from Happy Days will end up being such a successful film director? I am giving it a borderline 4 star (since I don’t have a 3.5 option in my rating system).

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Movie Review: Zombieland (2009) ***

Movie Review: Zombieland (2009) ***

Being that the horror/gore/zombie genre was never of interest to me, how did I end up seeing Zombieland? Two reasons – the movie previews promised a comedy, and Woody Harrelson. I guess as far as Zombie movies go I can’t really rate this flick – maybe a 4-star? But I am not qualified. As a comedy I am giving it 3 stars. It’s funny but limited. It gets credit for good performances, the list of rules, poking fun at the Zombie genre, and for the non-syrupy ending.

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Movie Review: The Informant! (2009) ***

I was a little thrown off right at the movie’s start, with the sepia toning of the film. I guess it was to serve a purpose of making the film feel somewhat like a documentary and also give a sense that it happened a few decades ago. To a point, it worked too well. I got the impression that it happened back the 70s… And not until a title flashed on with “1992” did I realize the time frame. In a sense, this misconception repeated throughout the film on various levels, and this is one of the areas this film is a miss. The film, featuring a great cast headed by the talented Mr. Matt Damon, who portrays the bipolar, whistleblower, real-life Mark Whitacre, is all in all entertaining. I found the story to be engaging, at least throughout the first half of the film. But the main problem I had with this movie is that throughout the second part, I completely lost sympathy to the main character, and at that point, also lost interest in the movie. How it could have been done better would be a topic for a longer article. I do overall like Soderbergh’s movies. He is an intelligent filmmaker who understands the art of filmmaking, how to move a plot and how to engage an audience. On the Informant! however, Soderbergh allowed the main character’s delusions of grandeur, take over the plot and throw it off-track.
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