Movie Reviews

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Movie Reviews

Films are archived alphabetically; use the sidebar for roundups by ratings over the last six years.


"Couples Retreat"

"Good Hair"

"Paranormal Activity"

"A Serious Man"



Bellview Scale Description

So many movies, so little time.  First, the scale.  The scale is designed with two purposes—to inform you of when the best time to see a movie should be, as well as how much you can pay and still leave the theater feeling good about yourself.  This roughly translates into how good I thought the film was.  For example, “About a Boy” received a $9.50 Show.  This means that you shouldn’t run out to see the film during its first weekend; it wasn’t THAT good.  But, you won’t feel too bad dropping $9.50 to see it because it was very entertaining.  On the other hand, “The Scorpion King” earned a Rental rating.  If you saw this on video you would be satisfied, and overjoyed that you didn’t pay to see this drivel in a theater. 

This is to clarify that the rating system is *not* a five-star system.  Under that system, you would look at a movie that got four stars and think that no matter what the situation was, you would think that film was very good.  I measure the film by both the quality of the film and the VALUE that you will get out of a film depending on when you see it.  This is also why the Hard Vice rating explains that you don’t want to see a Hard Vice film for any reason, even if you can see it for free, because there is nothing to gain from the experience.  One star might mean a film still has some slight entertainment for you; Hard Vice is essentially a zero.  99% of scales measure just the enjoyment of a film; I tried to factor in the dollar when doing these reviews, because I see a lot of films…and I ain't rich!!


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)


You haven't seen "Shiri"?

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 11/05/09