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Paper Towns (2015)
A charming story about the everyday wonders of friendship and the sadness of last times
I have so many favorite scenes from this film, but none of them seem like that big of a deal when I try to tell people about them. And that is just the point, this movie is filled with these wonderful little character-moments that really doesn't sound like much, but it's all in the way they come together. The perfect dialogue, the mood and pacing and above all the chemistry between the actors, how they truly seem like the best of friends, makes these scenes extraordinary.
Over all it's a wonderful adaptation, where I thought every change that was made was for the better, and everything important was still there. I especially liked the decision to give Angela, Radar's girlfriend, a bigger part in the otherwise very male-dominated story, and how the main thing in the end became more about friendship, and appreciating a good thing that is right in front of you while you still have it, and less about Margo and who she really was. Because frankly she is not the most interesting part of this story. She is a catalyst for the other events to take place, and even though I could see the allure of Margo Roth Spiegelman I did not miss her while she was gone.
This is by no fault of the actor, Cara Delevigne gives a great performance with just the right balance of attitude and vulnerability, but Nat Wolff's Q and his gang are exceptional together. My favorite is probably Austin Abrams' charming goof ball Ben, but not by much. The biggest concern I had coming into the film was the casting, I really wanted them to get the friends right because their interactions was the best thing about the book for me, and they nailed it. Every one of them.
I love these characters, I loved them in the book and I might even love them a little more in the movie, they are just these fun, kind and amazing kids that I wish I had as friends when I was in high school. As I can neither go back in time nor will fictional beings into existence I'm just glad I get to hang out with them for two hours, be there while they do their everyday things for the last time and have their final adventure together before they head on into their lives. I recommend that you do the same.
Magic Mike (2012)
Not the kind of magic you expect
This is by far the best film I have seen this year.
Now, I get that it is not everyones cup of tea, but it shouldn't be, and I'm so glad it didn't try for that. This film was made for me, and everyone like me who appreciates the long takes, the beautiful yellow light, the richness of details and the sense that anytime now everything that is great can turn to ashes, and when it does the characters will have no idea how it happened.
It is a film full of natural dialog and little moments of clever editing, like the silence on the bridge as the sun rises, broken by a splash of water, the cut away from preparing a performance to the dressing room after and the repeated cut to a sign spelling out the months of the summer the movie takes place during.
It also does not shy away from it's core subject, objectification and sexualisation of human bodies, and what it does to the individuals that inhabit those bodies. The character Mike is unusual in so many ways, but what stands out to me the most is that his vulnerability takes him by surprise. As a man, he believes he can't get hurt by what he does, he really believes that, and his stumbling realization that to others it's not just something he does, it's something he is, that moment is unique.
I will also point out that the casting is extraordinary. Every little supporting role makes a rich whole and they are all a perfect fit.
All in all, if you don't think you will like this movie, then you probably won't, but if you think it might be alright chances are you will be just as pleasantly surprised as I was.
A thrilling ride with potential for greatness
It's a shame that this excellent danish production hasn't even got five votes on this site yet. It deserves praise and attention for being just as exciting as your average American action-series, but unlike them remaining firmly rooted in reality, in everyday life situations. The structure of two episode arcs, first one ending on a cliffhanger and second one giving closure to the storyline while setting up the next works excellent, and all technical aspects are incredible.
But what really brought me in was the characters. They are an interesting group, really fleshed out with their strengths and flaws, making them real people. I also really liked that the show is centered around body guards, since the whole concept of that profession is deeply fascinating, both on a philosophical, ethical and practical level. It's a fresh angle on the tiered cop story, dealing with the same issues but coming in from a different perspective, constantly in the middle of everything. Also the relationship forming between a body guard and his or her "object", as they refer to their clients, is highly interesting and is a fold for great stories. Although to be honest, in this production they underplay this to leave room for more dramatic, action filled plot lines with high tech surveillance and chasing snipers on rooftops. Which is thrilling and pleasing for the eye, but they have set the scene for great emotional depth, and so far not really delivered. I will keep watching though, hopefully it will develop over the course of the series.
On a side note, frankly I'm surprised that there aren't more movies and shows about bodyguards (that disastrous thing with Whitney Huston aside). As a center of a story it has all the potential in the world.
A wonderful little film that does what it is supposed to
First of, let's understand what this film is. It's a feel good drama comedy. It doesn't aspire to any infinite truths. It's just a little story, about an obese teenage girl who is determined to be an actress, a young woman with a failed career as a filmmaker and equally failed personal life, and a teenage boy who appears to have everything but is living a tragic double life. We are introduced to their hopes for the future, their struggle for acceptance and their dreams.
The direct and honest approach is this films greatest strength. It doesn't pretend to be anything it's not. And it does what it sets out to with grace, the energy and the focus is unusual in Swedish film-making. Balancing somewhere between teen drama, romantic comedy and growing up story in both theme and tone it manages to hit all the right buttons and achieve exactly what it intended. You feel for these characters. As far as message go something is said about being who you are, about finding your place outside the given norm, about how we see anyone who is different, but it is gently placed in you pocket rather than smacked into your head. And most importantly, you smile, you cringe, you might even shed a tear or two and you genuinely laugh when you watch this movie. I know I did.
Anyone who has ever felt like a misfit, a weirdo, a freak and wondered what the hell you are doing wrong and tried to find somewhere to belong should feel right at home in this film.
This is my first IMDb-review ever and I am not really comfortable with writing in English, but I couldn't stand that this wonderful, sweet, heartbreaking, laugh out loud funny film didn't have any comments. So I hope more people will step up and help me market this gem.
If you have a chance to see it, take it!