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The Maze Runner (2014)
If you've read the book, don't bother; if you haven't read the book - better read it and don't bother to watch
I have seen the trailer of the movie and got hooked up really bad. Distopian novels and movies have found their place among my favorites recently. While waiting for the movie I decided to read the book first. Loved it. All three parts of it. So when the movie came out, me and my husband went to the premiere. Of course, I realize that the script does not always follow the book, some simplifications and omissions are a normal practice. But with the Maze Runner, I was utterly disappointed :( The main drawback of the film (as compared to the book) - is the explanation behind the Maze is not something you are gradually led to, but rather it is something sprung on you at the end of the film, in a "because I said so" kind of way. You may understand that, but you don't empathize with it. In the book, from the very beginning you get those little hints that all of this has to do with the way people think, react to various factors, that this is something to do with the brain, that somebody is watching the Gladers all the time and in introducing new factors and risks and sees how they would react; that there is a higher meaning to that. The telepathy thing between Thomas and Theresa (excluded from the movie) strengthens the idea. The dreams of Thomas (which are very detailed and present a little peak into the subconscious and the memories Thomas lost starting from the childhood - mostly excluded) support the feeling that something bad had happened to the humankind. In the movie - you don't have it. There is a glade, the gladers want to get out because... well because for some reason the gate wouldn't close... Thomas is behind that, but what and why he was doing - he doesn't say... It is a bit chaotic. My husband didn't get that either - he still doesn't understand why I took him to the movie. Maybe I am too prejudiced because I have read the book, but this is the first time I am that disappointed - The Hunger Games, The Divergent (among many others) haven't left me feeling that way. There, I loved the script, I understood why some parts have been omitted and that some things could not be shown. The Maze Runner could have done much better IMHO. So, my advice would be to just read the book and imagine it.
They Came Together (2014)
Was bewildered at first, laughed hard in the end
I should start saying that my husband "sold" the movie to me as a romantic comedy (which I love), so the first 15 minutes I didn't know what to make of the jokes, the style and the characters... I was sitting there with a "This is supposed to be funny or what?" face. Finally (!!!) I realized it was aсtually a parody and after that it got funny. It is full of cliché phrases, long (supposedly meaningful) pauses and glances, arguments and conversations with profound (again, supposedly) meaning, crazy arguments, passionate love scenes (by passionate I mean furniture breaking during foreplay and acrobatic poses during sex). All through that you can't stop wondering why you love those romantic novels and movies as much as you do :) Some episodes were a bit bizarre, but in general the movie is a good one. After some really crappy comedies I have watched recently, this one came out much better than expected. It is not a masterpiece, but I had a nice Sunday movie night.
RED 2 (2013)
Gallantry, little blood in spite of a high body count and wonderful actors. Enjoyed it!
I have read the praising and not so praising reviews of the movie and thought I'd share some views of mine. In response to the critics, this is not a movie which is supposed to give you hours of thinking afterward and put philosophical ideas into your head. It is also not the movie aiming at the highest body count/spilled blood volume/special effects records. It is an easy-going action film starring wonderful actors, boasting hilarious lines and definitely NOT targeted at teenage and very young audience (just like The Expendables, IMHO). You have to be at least over 30 to really appreciate the film, the gallantry of "old school" agents, the "evil" side of Hopkins and the lines of Helen Miller or John Malkovich. You don't get much blood (in spite of spraying bullets etc. - everything is done in a sort of elegant way, that don't make you cringe from the abundance of body parts or blood everywhere). Yes, the plot is a bit shaky, and in some places you have a reasonable doubt as to the way some things develop (e.g. the ease of Helen Miller getting into the ICE facility, or all of them getting in the Kremlin). But that's not the point. The point is the actors, the victory of the Good and the overall mood of the film (which is RED :)) I had a wonderful time yesterday at the cinema, together with my husband. Loved it!
Parental Guidance (2012)
Modern parenting, modern therapies and old-school - loved it!
I am not sure why this movie got so many negative reviews - my guess it that people were hoping for something different from what this movie has to offer. I found it hilarious. The way modern parenting methods (Use your voice! or The game always ends in a tie so as not to traumatize children), therapies (we don't speak at speech therapies) is portrayed makes you laugh at the absurdity, but also realize that this is taken from real life. It may look overly absurd and exaggerated, but it makes you think whether or not all of these ways of politically correct and protective children raising really makes them happy? Yes, I would agree with some reviewers that some of the jokes are clichés, some of the situations are clichés, all seen in tens if not hundreds of other films, but this movie is not about them. I guess you need to have your kids and be able to see the differences between how we were raised, how our grandparents were raised and how we are supposed and urged to raise kids nowadays in order to appreciate what you see in this movie. 10/10 in spite of all clichés and minor drawbacks. Loved it!
The Expendables 2 (2012)
For all the fans of Rambo, Rocky, Terminator etc. - a must-see
I loved this movie. The first part was great, the second one - even better. At the end of the movie Stallone says "we all do (belong in the museum)" - the movie is THE MUSEUM of all the action films of the 80-90s. Don't expect a sophisticated storyline - it is an action film, with a lot of shooting, fighting, exploding, chasing, fast-driving etc. Don't look for deep insights into anything - although there are some conversions pretending to be profound, but really, they are not the point :) With the cast like in this movie, the lines and the jokes they make about each other and themselves - this makes a fantastic movie, a absolute must-see for all those who loved Rambo, Terminator and Chuck Norris :D:D
A Walk to Remember (2002)
A lovely, dramatic not-a-cliché teen story
Happened to watch this movie on a local TV channel yesterday and couldn't help writing. I liked it. The story goes from the cliché "a bad boy meets a good girl and reforms" to something much more dramatic and profound and you cannot help but shed at least some tears. All in all it was a great movie to watch. The only drawback - the acting. Although the main characters are believable, the acting in some scenes of the movie did not really convince me. On several occasions during the movie I caught myself thinking "ok, I understand what is happening here, but it's being demonstrated in a clumsy way" (the scene in the canteen for example, or reconciliation between Landon and his friends...) That is why I gave the movie 8 out of 10. I can hope it was due to the fact that I watched it in a different language, which probably ruined the feeling. Will definitely watch it in its original version. All in all, it is a great movie to watch, which makes you think about all the good and eternal things happening.
I was a bit cautious before I went to see the film - normally, after reading a good book, you tend to find all the flaws and discrepancies from the book in the movie: wrong actors, wrong settings, changed story lines, you name it. So, I prefer to see a movie and then read a book, or read a book and not to see a movie. In this case I was too intrigued to abide by my own rules :) I was not disappointed.
In my opinion, the cast was great. Not once did I want to say "oh, common, he/she is not supposed to be like that!" The way the story was presented was also amazing. Having read the book and realizing the volume of information that was there, I was curious to see how this amount of information could be presented to the viewers... IMHO, it was done great - naturally, some details were not there, some of the points had to be omitted, but all in all - the story was clear.
The ending... - that was the major difference from the book. Although I am not sure why it had to be done... Probably, to save the time (as the movie is long enough without including Australia into it :)) But the main idea remains unchanged - Harriet survived.
All in all, I loved the performance, the scenery, the storyline. Thumbs up! Now waiting for the Girl that Kicked the Hornet's Nest :) Hope it will be even better.
In Time (2011)
An OK movie, but a bit disappointing
I've been wanting to see the movie from the time it was released, but somehow never found the time (ironic :)) Finally, the big day came, and ... I was disappointed :( Not totally, though. The idea is fantastic. It was the idea which made me want to watch the movie from the very beginning: money replaced by time as the main commodity seemed something extremely interesting... But the plot is not that catchy and I was expecting a more (how shall I put it) definitive ending? Somehow, you expect that the main character will change the world, destroy the system, make everybody happy etc etc etc... Here, what you get is a conditional happy ending where the two newly born Robin Hoods continue to rob time banks and distribute time to the "poor"... Does it mean the system survived? What happens if they come to the Bonnie-and-Clyde finale? I really hoped for a more definitive ending, or - if not that - for something that could be interpreted as a hint that a sequel was coming?? All in all, it was not a total waste of time, but it was a pity that such an interesting idea got to be presented in such an average way :(
This movie is simply the best combination of drama/comedy/romance I have seen in the past year. I popped into it (thank God at the very beginning!) while going through TV channels one late evening before going to bed... Well, two hours after that I was still glued to the screen because the movie caught me - first, the face of Til Schweiger, then the plot, the conversations... I was crying and laughing and crying again and couldn't wait for the movie to finish to know whether it will be a happy or not-so-happy or totally unhappy end, but at the same time wanted it to continue for as long as possible because I enjoyed it so much.