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Added by johanlefourbe on 16 Jun 2013 11:01
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Almost a complete review of Joe Johnston's work

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People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.8

unfortunately, I haven't seen this one yet...
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Cast : Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper , Stanley Tucci , Samuel L. Jackson , , Toby Jones, Derek Luke

What was it about?
After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending USA ideals.

My two cents:
I must admit that I was first positively surprised. Indeed, It really enjoyed the tone of the first part and it was pretty neat to see a super-hero flick in the 40's for a change. The whole thing looked really good and I was rather impressed by how they managed to make Chris Evans look really small and it did look really convincing. Furthermore, they took their time to establish Steve Rogers personality and it worked rather well. So, I did enjoy the first half but, unfortunately, I wasn't really convinced by the rest of the movie. The biggest issue was mainly the plot which was some rather disposable succession of action scenes. I think that this movie and 'Thor' were purely made as marketing strategy and as a result, even though they were well made, they still lack some artistic and creative qualities. Still, even though it is flawed, it remains an entertaining super-hero flick.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 1170 Average listal rating (736 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.8
The Wolfman (2010)


Cast : Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Anthony Hopkins, Asa Butterfield

What was it about?
Upon his return to his ancestral homeland, an American man is bitten, and subsequently cursed by, a werewolf.

My two cents:
Even though the critics were not really enthusiast, I was still curious about this flick. Indeed, the cast was pretty good and the sets and costumes were also quite gorgeous. However, the story didn't really work. Maybe it's because it takes like an hour before del Toro becomes a werewolf, I don't know. Anyway, it was not boring but almost and it didn't add anything new to the genre. I really wonder how the whole thing would have turned out if Mark Romanek didn't leave the project in the middle of the production. I mean, Joe Johnston is a decent director at best, no less but not much more than that, whereas Romanek is a really intriguing director. Anyway, even though the whole thing was indeed rather underwhelming, I don't think it is as bad as everyone says.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 781 Average listal rating (502 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.7


Cast : Viggo Mortensen, Omar Sharif, Said Taghmaoui, J.K. Simmons

What was it about?
In 1890, a down-and-out cowboy and his horse travel to Arabia to compete in a deadly cross desert horse race.

My two cents:
One of the great things about ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy is that it launched many careers and Viggo Mortensen basically became a star overnight. It was even more impressive when you know the fact that Mortensen actually replaced Stuart Townsend after filming began. Anyway, after the massive success of the LOTR trilogy, Viggo Mortensen became immensely popular and the producers were quick to cash-in on his newfound popularity and released as soon as possible a new blockbuster starring Mortensen on his own this time. Eventually, I thought it is was actually rather entertaining but still very predictable and quite generic. Still, Viggo Mortensen is always charismatic and the whole thing looked pretty decent.

My rating: 06/10

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Cast : Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Téa Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Laura Dern

What was it about?
A decidedly odd couple with ulterior motives convince Dr. Alan Grant to go to Isla Sorna (the second InGen dinosaur lab.), resulting in an unexpected landing...and unexpected new inhabitants on the island.

My two cents:
Since this movie had a rather bad rep, I had rather low expectations before watching this flick. Furthermore, I thought the first sequel was really abysmal, especially when you take into account that it was directed by someone like Steven Spielberg. Eventually, I must admit that I was actually positively surprised by this 3rd installment. I mean, of course, it was not a masterpiece whatsoever but, at least, it was better than the preposterous second movie. Obviously, Joe Johnston is no Steven Spielberg but I thought the directing was good enough and full of awesome action scenes. To be honest, this movie didn´t add much to the whole concept but I think is rather difficult to expand it and, as a result, they pretty much end up repeating basically the same story over and over again (that´s why I don´t really see the point of making a fourth one). Still, I thought it was actually a rather well made and entertaining blockbuster extravaganza.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 629 Average listal rating (379 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.8


Cast : Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Laura Dern

What was it about?
The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes.

My two cents:
Since it is a rather obscure feature, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it but since Jake Gyllenhaal was starring, I thought I should check it out. To my surprise, I actually really loved this flick. The funny thing is that I’m not a huge fan of those real-life based stories and I would never expect from Joe Johnston to make such a heartfelt and sensitive drama. It was also pretty neat to see Jake Gyllenhaal in his first major part and he did a pretty good job here. Of course, the whole thing follows the traditional rules of your typical inspirational drama but, somehow, it did work very well , at least for me. I don’t know, maybe it has to with the fact that those boys were trying to be really smart, instead of becoming the next football/basketball/baseball/whatever star. I think that there is something awesome about those blue-collar kids trying to build something really neat, an endeavor which was seemingly out-of-their league. I mean, to think that this guy eventually ended up working for the NASA was just, well, really inspirational.

My rating: 08/10

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People who added this item 4938 Average listal rating (3264 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.9


Cast : Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt, Patricia Clarkson

What was it about?
When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.

My two cents:
Even though this movie doesn't have a really good reputation (Roger Ebert didn't like it at all for example), I always had a weak spot for this flick. Of course, it was nothing mind-blowing but I thought that the special effects were pretty cool, I enjoyed the whole chaos created by the plot and this chaos was a good match with Robin Williams’ hysterical blend of humor. Back in those days, Kirsten Dunst was still a child and she had managed to have a pretty steady career. I don't know, Roger Ebert criticized how messy it was and how young kids must have been frightened by the whole thing but I thought it was actually a fun mess with some pretty impressive special effects which are still convincing almost 20 years later.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 569 Average listal rating (343 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6


Cast : Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Leonard Nimoy

What was it about?
A cowardly boy who buries himself in accident statistics enters a library to escape a storm only to be transformed into an animated illustration by the Pagemaster. He has to work through obstacles from classic books to return to real life.

My two cents:
Even though I turned out to be indeed pretty disappointing, I still think the whole thing did have some potential. For this project which took more than 3 years to be completed, they hired two directors, the debuting Pixote Hunt for the animation and Joe Johnston for the live action scenes. Basically, the whole thing is some sort of combination of 'The Neverending story' and 'Roger Rabbit' but, unfortunately, it never reached the quality of those 2 movies. First of all, they could have get rid of the live action bits, the only reason they were there was to show Macauley Culkin in one of his last flicks before 'retiring'. Then, the animation was sometimes alright but most of the time not good at all and you could actually barely see what was on the screen. Finally, and above all, the story was not compelling at all and I was bored to death most of the time. So, it was indeed pretty much a failure.

My rating: 05/10

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People who added this item 521 Average listal rating (339 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.4


Cast : Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, Terry O'Quinn

What was it about?
A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.

My two cents:
No disrespect but when you have Superman, Spider-man, Batman or the X-men why would you bother with the Rocketeer to make a comic-book adaptation ?!? Even though, nowadays, super-heroes are immensely popular and big business at the box-office, they actually made some of those also in the 90's but they always flopped. Somehow, instead of focusing on the popular characters I mentioned before, they preferred to make movies with Spawn, Judge Dredd, the Shadow or the Phantom. Again, I have nothing against those guys but since the mainstream audience is not familiar with them, unless you make a really amazing flick, there is a pretty good chance they will flop (which happened in all those cases). Anyway, Roger Ebert loved this movie but I was just bored during the whole thing. I guess I wasn't the only one because after this introduction to the Rocketeer, he never came back... According to Ebert, it was a great depiction of that time period, a fun and goofy action flick. Personally, I thought it was seriously tedious.

My rating: 05/10

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Cast : Rick Moranis

What was it about?
The scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them.

My two cents:
This movie is definitely a childhood favorite. Indeed, I saw it in the theater when it was released and I really loved the damned thing. Back then, when there was no CGI, I thought it looked really awesome and the story was really exciting for my young age. Of course, the plot is not really that impressive as it was definitely oriented towards a young audience and it does look a little bit cheesy for nowadays standards but I still think the whole thing still look really solid even 20 years after. Even though the whole plot is a little too simple for the adults, I think it is an awesome flick for young kids and I have a great nostalgia feeling when I think about this movie.

My rating: 07/10

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The 25th list in this series will focus on Joe Johnston. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of his work but I have seen all his movies and he has directed a few decent features. Enjoy!


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A Complete Review of various directors' work (53 lists)
list by johanlefourbe
Published 6 years, 4 months ago 7 comments



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