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Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Fun film but could be better
I enjoyed this film, and it works well at a prequel to the original film "The Wizard of Oz". The film has many similarities with the style of the original in its story-telling (I won't go into this much as I don't want to spoil it). Generally, it's a fun fantasy-adventure film.
However, some negative points: I found the pacing or editing to be slightly off. The film is just over two hours long, but I felt that it could be a little longer in some scenes and shorter in others. I think they tried to cram too much into the film. Also, I found the characters to be a little wooden. (I thought the acting was generally good, so I am not faulting the acting as I felt the three witches and Oz did a great job.). I was not able to care about the characters as much as I did in the original film. Thirdly, I found the use of CGI to be a little problematic with some of the characters and areas where they were just showing off the CGI. I wish story would be more important than the CGI.
I think I probably had trouble letting go of the original film and comparing it too much, so please don't try to compare it with the classic film when you see it. However, you will see some clues and similarities with the original film and this one.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Very entertaining, action-packed, funny
'Hot Fuzz' is a satirical story about a police officer from London who is moved to a quiet village. Along the way, he tries to uncover the truths about some abnormal deaths in the village. The film pokes fun at small British village life in Gloucestershire, the police, and at itself. Simon Pegg (and some of his Spaced co-stars) makes his come-back with this satirical, dark-humored film. There's plenty of action and humour and school-child events (like creative ways in which people meet their ends). This film appeals to the inner child, so it cannot be taken seriously, and the action/suspense/comedy keep it interesting. In my opinion, 'Hot Fuzz' is a better film than 'Sean of the Dead'. The pitfalls of 'Sean of the Dead' (which was not too bad of a film) were overcome in 'Hot Fuzz' to create a more entertaining film.
Music and Lyrics (2007)
fun & not too serious
'Music and Lyrics' is a film that you can sit back and enjoy on a weekend evening. The film has a witty story and flawed characters who come together to help each other out. Coinciding with its release date near Valentine's Day, it is the perfect film for couples. The film is not complicated, and it uses wit in remembering the cliché boy bands and music videos of the 1980s. This also brings us into today's world of modern pop music and follows the creative process of song-writing between an older 1980s has-been and a young, insecure female writer. The music in the film is done very well and is also very strong. Simply, this is a good feel-good film to watch when you need to wind down.
Casino Royale (2006)
Not the best Bond film
While 'James Bond' is entertaining action-packed and contains a cast of criminals even more unusual and evil than the criminals in previous Bond films, you cannot go too wrong if you are looking for a little light entertainment. However, this film just did not seem to do it for me. First of all, the film was much too long. The location and type of action kept changing throughout without a build-up. The film tried to do too much, and then it left you suspended at the end.
The best part of the film was the card-playing sequence when we learned there was more than meets the eye to the situation there. This had suspense, action, and everything that the film needed but failed throughout.
I was also not happy about the sensitive side to this Bond with him falling head-pver-heels with the girl and planning to leave his job for her. I preferred the cool, stoic Bonds. However, it was refreshing and good to get a different character to Bond - and one a little more flawed in some areas.
The Holiday (2006)
A good holiday romantic comedy for once!
I usually go to the cinema disappointed with romantic comedies; they are not a genre of film I enjoy because they tend to be lacking in storyline or tend to be a little too cheesy. However, I did enjoy 'The Holiday', a film about two women (one from the UK and one from the USA) with troubled love lives who swap houses. Both women end up improving some aspect in their life and finding romance at the same time. The film has a list of well-known actors and actresses. It's just a happy little romantic comedy for the holiday season and it succeeds where 'Love Actually' fails. The story is a good one, and it's a complex series of stories for each character. The film is filled with surprises, and well - it's a must-see for the holiday, even if you don't care for this genre, you'll be surprised.
Funny if you like this sort of humor
'Borat' is a film about a man who travels to America and who ends up in all sorts of odd situations, fueled to travel to California to find and marry Pamela Anderson. Along the way, he ridicules America (without meaning to) and the American people, irregardless of ethnicity or religion. Some of the situations he finds himself in include singing the anthem (badly) at a rodeo, attending a meeting with feminists, learning (or trying to learn) etiquette at a dinner party, and trying to be cool with a group of black youths and wanting to be like them.
The film is low-budget, and if you dislike 'offensive' humor or do not have the same sense of humor, then you will not enjoy this film. A lot of the humor is what I would consider very American, but there's also a lot of humor that some sensitive people may find offensive. (However, the film does not just pick on one group of people, but it makes fun of everyone, and it should be taken light-heartedly.) I found the film very funny. It's not a great film, but it serves its purpose in making me laugh. I wouldn't want to sit through another viewing, however, as I would know what happens and I don't think this humor would hold through a second viewing. (Some of the humor is 'shock value'.) Good for a comedy, but I wouldn't call it a classic.
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)
'Star Wars' Clone Wars is an animated film (or series) that takes place between 'Attack of the Clones' and 'Revenge of the Sith'. It takes a little while to get used to the style of animation of the series, and I am not sure that it really works; it looks like it was just cheap to make. For a science fiction film and the amount of interest that Star Wars has and the money that it makes, I would have expected a different style of animation. The sequences are okay with some decent battle scenes and new worlds. Overall, you can take it or leave it; you do not really need to see this in order to understand or get into 'Revenge of the Sith', but it probably would help understand some of the story line.
Watership Down (1978)
not to my liking
'Watership Down' is an animated film about rabbits who seek a new place to avoid life's hardships and the enemies of the rabbits (natural predators of rabbits). 'Watership Down' is a graphic and a sad film, but I think that you need to be a child to really appreciate this film and for the film to make an impact. The animation is graphic for a children's film, but this probably makes it memorable.
I never saw this film as a child; I have only seen it as an adult. I was not impressed, and I thought that the story was a little bit slow, and I did not think that it was sad. I have heard a lot of good things about this film, but I think I would have appreciated it much more if I watched it as a child, and it probably has a nastalgic feel to it too. Overall, I was not impressed, but I could see where children may like it.
good character drama
'Volver' is a story about a family of Spanish women who come together in the time of crisis. The story is about a young woman whose life is turned around by family circumstances involving her daughter, aunt, and husband. This encourages her to become more indpedent and to start taking more chances and making changes in her life. Her sister also is affected by some family secrets and ends up meeting the 'ghost' of her dead mother, but there is more to this little reunion than is expected.
The film is ultimately about mother-daughter relationships, regret, and people working together in the times of crisis. This character drama contains some dramatic cinematogrpahy that aid in the suspense, mood, and in the story-telling. The performances are done well, and along with the darker scenes, there are plenty of lighter comical scenes and emotional scenes. It's worth seeing once, but I probably would not bother seeing this film again.
Smoke Signals (1998)
'Smoke Signals' is a film that I watched at university as being a representation of the portrayal of Native Americans in films today. The film is about a group of Native Americans living on a reservation, and it portrays their society and their style of living, which conflicts with the way that they were portrayed in films in previous years. The film even pokes some fun at these portrayals. The film is about a couple of friends setting off on a bus where they come in to contact with non-Native Americans. They learn a little but about non-Native American culture from this trip from meeting these people. The performances are good, and the film has charm and it contains its comedy. It's a light film for those who want some light entertainment.