National Treasures N-Z

  1. skactopus
  2. JY

These are movies that I really enjoyed, are multiple watchers, and have a high probability of entering my movie collection (in alphabetical order).

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Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian 2009,  PG)
Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian
Shawn Levy gets it right again, with a sequel that is just as entertaining as the first. Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian is a family film to remember.

Is this movie watchable without having seen the first? Absolutely. The only thing that will be missing, if not watched, is the knowledge of the characters from the previous installment.

The story has a nice pace to it and it is good enough to setup all the fun that happens. The opening 10 minutes also does a decent job at explaining the tablet, which is why everything in the museum comes to life

The entertainment factor is through the roof. There are so much characters to keep this film from becoming boring and there are clever ideas popping up all over the place.

The cast is loaded, and why shouldn't it be with so much characters. Ben Stiller may be the star of the show, but Amy Adams is without question, the STAR of the show. Her performance is so good that one can't get enough of her. Hank Azaria not only pulls off the villain, but provides voices for some of the other non-human characters as well. Both he and Amy Adams have great lines of dialogue.

This 1 hour 45 minute film is just one good time for the entire family and fans of the first film will enjoy this.

Ocean's Thirteen 2007,  PG-13)
Ocean's Thirteen
Steven Soderbergh's third adventure with Danny Ocean and his crew is another success.

Ocean's Thirteen is watchable without having seen Ocean's Eleven or Ocean's Twelve, so it is possible to jump right into this one; however, it is much easier to follow and pick up if the previous installments are viewed beforehand.

The film jumps right into the fun and never lets up, as every second of this 1 hour 50+ minute caper is a blast to watch. After all, most of the characters are already built up and there is a lot of detail to cover for a job as complex as this. The quirky style and fast pace are just the icing on an interestingly written story.

The all star cast eats up the film's budget, which it can afford, since there isn't a whole lot of CG or explosive action to worry about. George Clooney and Brad Pitt carry the film as the ringleaders of the bunch, while Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin step in as the victims this time around.

Ocean's Thirteen has the entertainment value to make it a film to check out. This applies even more so to fans of Soderbergh's previous Ocean's films.

Predator 1987,  R)
When you first watch this movie you are expecting a full on Arnold action flick, but instead you get a kick-ass science fiction action flick.

The story was original and the special effects were out of this world, at least when this movie was released. Although the face-off part of the movie doesn't occur until the last third of the film the suspense from the first part keeps you glued to the screen. There are a good variety of different characters each with their own personalities and they are well played by excellent actors. Bill Duke was great. The dialogue was well written for the characters and some lines even get you to chuckle in this suspenseful film.

There is a good amount of action and guns in this film, but I only wished that Jesse Ventura would have used his chain gun more. The cat and mouse face-off at the end is also a blast to watch.

This movie is probably Arnold's best along with Terminator 2, so if your a fan of Arnold you must see this film. "I'm gonna have me some fun. I'm gonna have me some fun."

Pulp Fiction 1994,  R)
Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino goes back and forth with Pulp Fiction.

The story may be over 2 hours and 30 minutes, but those 150+ minutes are fulfilling to say the least. The story is a little tough to describe, but it is safe to say that the film's title sums it up. With the end in the middle and the middle at the end, it all comes around in amusing fashion.

Granted, scenes could definitely be shorter, which would also shorten the film. There are some long winded segments, but the dialogue and personalities of the characters push back on any negatives that emanate from the film.

There are a lot of memorable characters to go around. John Travolta and Uma Thurman are solid, but the top dog has got to be Samuel L. Jackson. His line delivery is fantastic and a show stealer on top of it all.

Pulp Fiction isn't for everybody; however, it is difficult not to recommend it to everybody.

RocketMan (Rocket Man) 1997,  PG)
RocketMan (Rocket Man)
Warning: Do not take this movie seriously. If you keep this in mind, this will be one of the greatest comedies to come out of Disney's hands.

The story is unbelievably stupid, but for a movie like this it does wonders. It also allows for the great comedic elements to find its place without overdoing it. Unlike other movies that try to force the gags on you, this film leaves most of the comedy in the hands of the actors. "Hes got the whole damn world, in his hands." I'm pretty sure your not laughing right now, but in the context of this film and the tone of voice used by William Sadler you can't help but laugh when you hear this. This is how comedy should be done. This is possibly the only film that I remember tears of laughter filling my eyes in the theater. Even more so than Jackass. Now that is saying something.

The acting is nicely done for this type of film. Harland Williams puts on the comedic performance of his life with his ridiculous acting and his hilarious impressions. I don't think he will ever top this role. William Sadler also does an excellent job at bringing in some laughs with his character as well.

This is probably one of the most ridiculous space stories ever made, but it is also one of funniest. This is a must see for fans of comedy and Harland Williams. Just remember if you make a mistake. "It wasn't me."

Ronin 1998,  R)
John Frankenheimer's resume may not look that impressive, but in 1998, a gem of a film known as Ronin shines out to the public.

The pacing for this 2 hour movie is a tad slow, however the characters and story make it worth the watch. Stealing a case sounds really simple, and it is, but the double crossing keeps things interesting and entertaining.

There is a decent amount of action, which comes in the form of gun fights and car chases. Let's talk about these car chases; the second one to be more specific. Absolutely superb. There is no slow motion or constant carnage and explosions. Just a little of the latter. It is just pure real time adrenaline. Everything ranging from the camerawork, to the editing, and to the driving is just fantastic, and this makes both car chases, but more the second, some of the greatest chases ever caught on film.

The casting is also nicely done. Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, and everyone else fit perfectly into this story and style of film. Michael Lonsdale and the ice skating phenom, Katarina Witt, also show up for some small roles.

Ronin is one intriguing crime thriller with great characters and car chases. Watch it and ask yourself "What's in the case?"

Sesame Street Presents - Follow that Bird 1985,  G)
Sesame Street Presents - Follow that Bird
I grew up watching Sesame Street and when they made this movie, I was blown away. I watched this many times when I was growing up and I could never get tired of it. I really enjoyed how many of the characters had their own modes of transporation when searching for Big Bird. Supergrover flew, Oscar had his Sloppy Jalopy, Count had his dracula car, Bert and Ernie had their plane, and how can you forget that little yellow Volkswagon Beetle. If you grew up loving Sesame Street you will definitely enjoy this movie.
The Shawshank Redemption 1994,  R)
The Shawshank Redemption
I'm not really a huge fan of drama movies, but there are some that I can come to enjoy. This movie is one of them.

The story is well written and it is told in a way that makes you want to keep watching. The characters are all played well by their respected actors and the ending is as memorable as can be. Morgan Freeman does a great job with the narration as well.

This is a must see movie for almost everybody. You don't have to be a fan of dramas at all to find this movie moving and enjoyable.

Spaceballs 1987,  PG)
Spaceballs-The Review:

Spaceballs has got to be one of Mel Brooks' finest movie parodies.

At a tad short, but appropriate 90 minutes, Spaceballs consistently entertains with its quirky and slapstick comedy. What makes this picture funny is the fact that it isn't all about sex jokes or mimicking other films over and over, although there is some of that in here. And yes, this is a parody of Star Wars.

"LUDICROUS SPEED! GO!" Th............1987............P!

"Well, are we stopped?" "We're stopped, Sir." "Good. Well why don't we take a five minute break?"

Sorry, let's try that again in regular speed. The effects are a bit cheesy, however they are tolerable for a 1987 comedy. The dialogue and comedic antics are also highly memorable. This is what makes this film a classic. "Stop this thing! I order you, STOP!"

There are many recognizable faces in this picture, including Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, John Candy, and Mel Brooks, who casts himself in 2 roles. John Hurt even steps in for an Alien cameo.

Fans of comedic parodies will want to check out and then pick up a copy of this. Heck, the instant cassette was out before the film was finished. "May the schwartz be with you!"

The Spiderwick Chronicles 2008,  PG)
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Mark Waters delivers a high caliber fantasy adventure with The Spiderwick Chronicles.

At roughly 90 minutes, this picture makes the most of it by successfully setting up characters quite swiftly, yet successfully. More than half of the film also takes place at a single house and it's surrounding yard, but that is hardly a flaw because the story is entertaining enough to keep the setting from becoming stale.

The CG is great, although not the best, and once the fantasy characters show up, they are there to stay for the duration of the picture. There isn't an abundance in the variety of the creatures, but that is hardly a flaw, since the characters that do exist are more than enough to fill this movie.

The acting is a plus and the younger cast members are the ones to carry the film. Freddie Highmore gets the chance to play a set of twin brothers while Sarah Bolger plays the sister. It's also hard to argue when the supporting cast contains Mary-Louise Parker and the voices of Nick Nolte, Martin Short, and Seth Rogen.

The Spiderwick Chronicles has a solid story and it becomes a fantasy film for all ages. It is high on the recommend list.

Star Trek 2009,  PG-13)
Star Trek
J.J. Abrams, who at this point in time, hasn't worked on a ton of films from the director's chair, comes through with a science fiction adventure to talk about.

This film tells the beginning of James Kirk's career, so having seen the original Star Trek episodes are not necessary.

At just over 2 hours, the pacing is good and the story never gets boring. The plot is very interesting, as time travel usually is, and the character buildup is more than decent. The earlier parts of the film, with the build up for the Kirk character is a bit excessive, however the rest of the film makes up for this.

There is a moderate amount of action, and to be quite honest, it isn't anything spectacular, although the CG and the sound effects are top notch. This is OK, since the action doesn't carry this picture.

The casting is a positive. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, etc. all have their own personalities and are easily identifiable. It is nice to see Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, show up for an integral role in the story.

Star Trek is an all around good time for science fiction fans alike. This includes non Star Trek people.

Star Trek Into Darkness 2013,  PG-13)
Star Trek Into Darkness
J.J. Abrams' Star Trek: Into Darkness is a sequel that lives up to the original.

The 2 hour story behind this picture is told at an adequate pace; never too fast and never too slow. The plot details are rich and it keeps pushing the movie forward, along with the help of a plethora of solid characters.

Visually, Star Trek: Into Darkness is everything a movie of this caliber should be. Fantastic. The settings, effects, and costumes all mesh nicely into a science fiction masterpiece. Note the huge black dreadnaught.

Everything comes as expected from the returning cast. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto carry the film as they should be. Benedict Cumberbatch is a welcome addition to the cast and is at the level of Pine and Quinto.

Is Star Trek: Into Darkness a recommendable film? No question about it.
Stargate: The Ark of Truth 2008,  Unrated)
Stargate: The Ark of Truth
Stargate SG-1 may be a defunct television series, but its legacy lives on in Stargate: The Ark of Truth. This adventure is the first film after the ending of the series and it provides a nice continuation to where the series left off.

Do you need to be a fan of the series to enjoy this movie? No. Do you need to be a fan of the series for this to make sense? H*** yes! There is a 9-10 minute prelude before the film, but even that won't help you if you haven't followed the series. As much as I want to recommend this to all science fiction fans, I can really only suggest this film to people that follow, at least, the latter seasons of the show. At the time of this viewing, I have seen less than 50% of the episodes, but I know enough about the story to easily follow this film.

The story isn't as complex as the TV series and that is a little bit of a disappointment. It does bring some nice closure to some elements while still leaving others open for future installments.

The story may be lacking, but the action sure isn't. There is a lot going on action wise and that makes the hour 40 minute picture fly by. The CG is great as usual and the same can be said about the sound effects.

All the major actors return to reprise their roles. Unfortunately, Don Davis and Richard Dean Anderson don't show up. The return of Morena Baccarin is candy for the eyes.

This is a must see for Stargate SG-1 fans. For others, I recommend checking out some of the series first.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991,  R)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
What can I say? James Cameron takes advantage of some great CG and a big budget to create a sci-fi masterpiece. Seriously, this will be a classic forever.

The story is great. Two terminators from the future go head to head. This is enough to create many a movie, but this film actually gives the story depth and meaning along with the clashing of the terminators. I guess this is the reason why the film runs over 2 hours.

Right from the get go, you are thrown into the future where machines are fighting robots. The lasers blasts are good and the sound effects are even better. It's too bad that the rest of the film takes place in the present day. This film has its share of action, but it does have some slow parts too. Fortunately, the characters and story are good enough to keep the film interesting.

You like action? This is the right movie for you. A winchester shotgun, mini-gatling gun, grenade launcher, and multiple vehicle chases will get you through the movie. The T-1000 is a brilliant villain as well. It may be a little too powerful, but that just makes the action that much more intense. When the T-1000 morphs its head into its hands you have to think that nothing can stop it.

The acting is superb. Arnold plays a part that he really matches and Robert Patrick pulls off one of his most memorable roles. Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong round out a good supporting cast. Don't forget to be on the lookout for Budnick.

There is no question that any fan of sci-fi NEEDS to see this before they die. No question at all.

Tombstone 1993,  R)
Congratulations to George P. Cosmatos because Tombstone is one fine Western.

With a run time just past 2 hours, this film may seem long, but there is enough material in the story to occupy every minute of it. There is great emphasis on the story and characters, while it is obvious that the action takes a back seat to it all. This isn't to say that the film is boring because it isn't. The dialogue is well written and the characters are a blast to watch.

The Western style gunfights show up at opportune times and they are nicely done, especially the standoff near the end. The sound effects and soundtrack compliment these sequences as well.

The ensemble cast is rock solid. The likes of Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Sam Elliot, Stephen Lang, Dana Delany, etc. all fit well into this Western setting. Val Kilmer is absolutely fantastic and is a scene stealer throughout the entire picture. Stephen Lang is notable for creating an absolutely unlikable character.

All that's left to say is that in the Western genre, Tombstone is a must see. "That's a fact."

Toy Story 2 1999,  G)
Toy Story 2
It takes three directors to put together this sequel, but it works because Toy Story 2 is a success.

Aside from the character carry over and some references to the story from the original Toy Story, this picture is easily watchable on its own. The story has a strong positive vibe behind it, and even though it never reaches 90 minutes, it doesn't matter. The time is managed wisely without trying to do too much or too little.

One of the film's many satisfying pieces is the comedy, as it is both frequent enough and effective. The street crossing scene is worthy of note. "Why did the toys cross the road?"

The voice acting impresses. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen continue to bring the Woody and Buzz Lightyear characters to life, while Joan Cusack is a great addition to the already enjoyable supporting cast of voice-work and characters.

Toy Story 2 is one film that appeals to a large age range and that makes it highly recommendable. Don't forget to stick around for the outtakes during the end credits.

Toy Story 3 2010,  G)
Toy Story 3
Lee Unkrich gets the call to direct Toy Story 3 and what an honor it is.

At a little over 90 minutes, Toy Story 3 has it all. There is an adventurous story to keep things interesting. There are characters to care about and adore; that includes both the protagonists and antagonists. There is heart and spirit in the story to play with emotions. To top it all off, there are even laughs. Mr. tortilla-head anyone? Leave it to Pixar to make toys seem like the most precious objects in the universe.

Toy Story 3 is visually appealing and it is the attention to detail that bring the toys to life. From the way the characters walk to the way they smile, it all looks and feels right.

The voice work is just as good as everything else and the fact that many actors return to reprise their roles is a huge plus. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack make their characters a joy to watch. The many other returning, as well as new, characters also deserve praise.

There isn't much to gripe about regarding Toy Story 3 and that is why it is so good. Just go out and see it. It's as simple as that.

True Grit 2010,  PG-13)
True Grit
Simply put, the Coens piece together an excellent western in True Grit.

Stemming from Charles Portis' novel by the same name, the 1 hour 50 minute story thrives off of good directing. This may not be an edge of the seat gripping thriller; however, the dialogue and characters are all it takes to get this movie from the beginning to the end without a whole lot of intense thinking.

This film does have its fair share of shootings, but in the grand scheme of things it is more of an afterthought. Not because the action is bad, which it isn't, but because everything else is that much better.

The highest praise goes to the acting. Jeff Bridges is the most noticeable name and he is excellent; however, Hailee Steinfeld is the true star of the film. Watching her deliver her lines is pure enjoyment. Matt Damon and the rest of the supporting cast are the icing on the cake, behind the memorable performances of Steinfeld and Bridges.

The Coens' True Grit excels in many, if not all, departments and is a western worth taking a good look at.

WALL-E 2008,  G)
At the time of this release, there is only 1 Pixar film that tops this. It is Finding Nemo and the director for that film is Andrew Stanton. Low and behold, he is the director for this film as well. Once again, the combination of Stanton and Pixar put together an entertaining film for all.

WALL-E is all about story. How can you tell? Well, this film has very little dialogue, especially the first 30 minutes or so. Other than the 2 robots and visuals, it has to be the story that carries this movie. It's amazing how the directing and storytelling can make you fall in love with a character who has no lines of dialogue, except for 1 word phrases here and there.

Visually, this film is spectacular. It just boggles the mind at how Pixar is able to create films that just get visually better and better with each one that comes out. If you think Ratatouille is nicely done, WALL-E will take your breath away. The dents and dirt marks on WALL-E are all there and visible to the human eye.

So, how does a film stay interesting without that much dialogue? The answer is sound effects and background music. The sound effects and the voice work are great. No matter how often you hear Eve say WALL-E's name, it sounds fresh every time. It doesn't get old. Thomas Newman creates original background music that matches the film and the use of other classical music is another enhancement.

This is a G-Rated film that isn't just for kids. Pixar's films are for everybody, which means everybody should see this.

The Wizard 1989,  PG)
The Wizard
The Wizard is, quite frankly, one of the best films from the 80s. We are talking about a movie that revolves around the original Nintendo system. Wonderful memories.

When viewing the first 10 minutes or so, this film doesn't seem like it will be about video games, but once "The Wizard" takes a stab at Double Dragon all bets are off and the quarters become important. David Chisholm is able to come up with a nicely written story and some pretty memorable dialogue. "California."

While most of the film revolves around 3 kids making their way to California for a video game tournament, the 100 minute story still finds the time for laughs by using the antics of Will Seltzer and Beau Bridges in between the kids' scenes.

The video games shown in here are classic. Double Dragon, Ninja Gaiden, and Super Mario Bros. 2 are just a few. There is also the introduction of Super Mario Bros. 3. Ingenious on Nintendo's part. I can't forget to mention some airtime of the power glove. My only huge complaint is how "The Wizard" knows the shortcut in Super Mario Bros. 3 when it is the first appearance of the game.

The rating for this picture is PG, but that is being generous, considering that the "B" and "S" words appear in here. Multiple times, by the way. Maybe PG-13 is a better rating for this.

Fred Savage, Jenny Lewis, and Luke Edwards are able to carry this movie to it's end. Beau Bridges and Will Seltzer provide the laughs, while Christian Slater is Christian Slater.

The Wizard is a great family film and is a must see for classic Nintendo fans.

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