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The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
Flawless coming of age story
Even going in with good expectations due to the positive reviews, I was very impressed with this simple, heart touching gem of a film. Everything is perfect. The script is flawless. The acting is superb. The story is very topical to modern times. Every scene is filled with either happiness or sadness. There are no 'boring' scenes. The film starts off strong, continues without wasting a single second on screen, and finishes beautifully. None of the characters act 'out of character' for their respective roles and this is what makes the story even truly more believable. Every character has been crafted beautifully by the writer, portrayed unbelievably by the respective actors, and directed with precision and fine eye for detail to bring the emotion of every scene true to life. The film is rated MA - RESTRICTED for under 15's in Australia and R in other America. I have heard so many people say there is nothing explicitly graphic in this film; there's no need for the highly restrictive rating. Well, I tell you what - this kind of reasoning is exactly what has lead to the downfall of young teenagers and adolescents. There is plenty in this movie, in my opinion, to warrant the restrictive rating. Nothing explicit; but plenty of reasons. The film is a very realistic portrayal of youth today, and shows the difficulties of fitting in with a world so ever fast changing for the worst - at many times very neglectful actions with grave consequences are shown as glorified and justified (for the intention of filling the film's purpose) and for this reason youth who attend this film will get WRONG IDEAS about major decisions they make in their life. Albeit, my criticisms are of no value, since 90% of the cinemas was filled with 12 year old's in their groups of guys and gals cuddling and meddling with each other throughout the film and giggling at credits - this is precisely the reason why films like this should not be watched by these kids yet not only is the restrictive rating not enforced by cinemas (obviously), but even much worse, the parents! Kids have been left with no guidance or support and left to roam - we have a movie that essentially demonstrates this quite well (among many other relevant ideas) and yet the people watching the film are the kids themselves! There is nothing traditionally 'epic' about the edge of seventeen, but yet it is a masterpiece of pure simplicity which is almost impossible to achieve in cinema. Do yourselves a favour - watch this film to learn how youth is developing to apply better parenting at home! Don't bring the kids. 9.5/10
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Amazing direction and acting, but falling short of greatness
I will be quick to admit that the tension throughout the film was immense, the directing was essentially perfect, and the acting from all of the 'supporting' actors extraordinary. Jake Gyllenhaal was amazing as usual, but it was Michael Shannon and Aaraon Taylor Johnson stealing the scenes. In particular, the first scene Aaron Johnson is in is purely mesmerizing, whereby he manifests a very believable daunting and fearful character, whereas Shannon shines in every scene with no single scene being a stand out.
Now for the cons: Amy Adams does not do much at all. In fact, it is easily understandable how she has been working on so many projects given her limited screen time as a 'lead' actress, not to mention many of her scenes are essentially her repeated emotional reactions to the script written by her ex husband Edward. Her acting in this film is nothing outstanding, but that is mostly because she didn't really have the opportunity to prove anything. Another shortfall which some may like is that the film is very open ended, and by very I mean very! There is a lot left to the viewer's interpretation.
And the final shortcoming, inherently related to the open ending, is that the film spends something of almost 2 hours building an immense amount of tension with beautiful acting and direction, but yet, there is no climax. Understandably, many will outline this as its 'achievement', but not in my books. For a film that builds so much tension throughout, very successfully indeed, and simply drops the ball on an ending so open ended even a person with the most vivid imagination would find difficulty in attaching a 'climatic' ending to it, it really is an unfortunate waste.
Certainly not the film of the year, which may (and should) get some recognition for supporting actors and directing, but nothing more.
Watch it for the acting and directing, but don't expect too much of the end (I do appreciate it is based on the book which the director would not have wanted to veer too far from).
Looking forward to see Amy Adams in Arrival with hopefully a bit more closure and justified tension.
The Accountant (2016)
Well directed and acted with some setbacks
Although the overall story is simple, the story telling itself is not. There are many scenes in which we as an audience wonder what on Earth is going on until the very end of the film, when it all ties in together. The problem with this is that it detracts from the viewing as it interrupts attention to the main plot. Essentially, it is difficult to decipher the main plot from the relevance of the subplots (to the main plot) until the movie actually concludes. Admittedly, on a second viewing it would be easier to follow and appreciate, but it is nevertheless a flaw demonstrating that although the writers knew where the movie was headed, it was unfortunately not communicated well through the characters. A bit more detail, and a bit more emphasis on some of the earlier scenes would have prevented this.
Also, Anna Kendrik's supporting role felt a bit forced, especially after her character served her initial purpose of discovering the missing money.
However, moving on to the strong points which would be that the movie is otherwise well directed, with the action scenes really shining - very gruesome, very realistic, and very entertaining! Ben Affleck suits the role perfectly, although I would not go so far as to say his performance is 'Oscar worthy.'
Ultimately, this film is inevitably a good popcorn flick action/drama, but some improvements to the script and subplots could have ranked it much higher.
Hell or High Water (2016)
Magnificent - as good as it can get!!
This film was superb in so many different ways. The acting, directing, cinematography, script, even the timing of the scenes; all flawless! This movie - as a whole - really is a fascinating piece of work. Equal to praise is the director who manages to build characters all of whom we can sympathize with; the writer who drafts a script with so much meaning, intrigue, and entertainment; and the actors who each transition into their respective roles so naturally and seamlessly. Chris Pine is perfect as the desperate ex husband in need of some cash to build a reliable future for his kids who he preaches ethics to; Ben Foster even better as the reckless and dangerous, yet loving brother and uncle; but it is somehow Jeff Bridges who manages to outshine these impeccable younger actors - he not only makes his performance believable to the most extreme critique, but he makes you forget he is acting in a film - it is as if we are third persons watching a real life Texas Ranger do some detective work. He deserves at the minimum some recognition from the Oscars. Let me not forget to tell you that each scene is structured with careful scrutiny to every major and minor detail in order to reach a level of perfection only rarely seen in films. Finally, without spoiling the film, I will say that any film that manages to both create a blockbuster showdown between the big good guy vs the bad guy, but also create a tense emotional debate on morals between protagonist against antagonist, deserves my warm appreciation. There is plenty of humour; plenty of action; plenty of drama; plenty of real meaning. Every scene; every line; every facial expression has a purpose to creating a true masterpiece in cinema. There are plenty of excellent films to come out soon, and I warn you this is the film to beat! It is a slow moving film, but if you have the capability and patience to appreciate brilliance, then you will no doubt love this!
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
Not bad, with room for improvement
I won't provide an extensive review of the film as there seems to be many here already. I will just give my opinion of why I feel this movie fell short of greatness.
The biggest flaw would be not enough character development. And I say 'not enough' instead of 'lack of' because there was some development with characters. Many interesting traits of each character were introduced, but not continued with.
The action was good; but, could have been better. It felt too Hollywoodized instead of realistic - coming from the director of Training Day and the Equalizer, I was expecting the action to be more along those lines - but it wasn't.
The movie was long, but it didn't utilize its time wisely. For a movie this long, there should have been more character development, and also better cinematography.
Overall, there was a lot of lost potential. Fuqua is a great director, no doubt about it, and it does show throughout Magnificent Seven, but I think he oversimplified this particular work, didn't put as much effort as previous times, and simply missed the mark.
Having said that, it is an overall good film and an enjoyable watch, just don't expect something so amazing.
A rather big disappointment!
Oh my god! To think that it was almost a certainty that this would be 'EPIC', just from the overall premise and tone given by the trailer, combined with a solid director and powerhouse actors, was complete ignorance!!
Nothing is epic in this movie. Nothing. The first 2 hours with barely any action builds a story line with no interest. Both Cavill and Affleck fall far short of achieving greatness, or maybe they have the script to blame for that!
Regardless, the plot is ludicrous, not to mention there is hardly an element of Batman V Superman in the film. It is more a matter of Lex Luthor manipulating Batman and Superman against each other, to which they have a less than outstanding battle before they are very quickly made 'friends' to tackle an enemy that should have not even appeared in this film.
Too many plot shifts, too many plot holes, too much of a dull story. The direction is good, but it does not count for much, when nothing else is heading in the right direction.
To people even brave enough to suggest that Affleck is a 'better' Batman than Bale, how can you come to this conclusion!?
Batman's 'darkness' is far from properly exemplified, if anything, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises signify an extremely darker Batman. Even though the Director spends 2 hours building 'character' there is unfortunately no 'character' built.
I give it a 6/10 for some good direction and a good last battle scene with a villain that should not have been present.
This movie was supposed to be about Batman and Superman, but instead it veered off control and way off topic, and it appears to be more of a 'intro' to Justice League than anything else.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)
A good effort, but much room for improvement
Not a bad movie at all. Even though it starts slow, it does pick up pace, and there are some comedic and also emotional scenes throughout. However, there is not as much comedy as initially hoped for and the plot seems rather unoriginal as if the story seemed forced in order to 'create' another Greek wedding (to remain consistent with the title).
Could have been better; not as good as the original, but it does have some laughs and tears. I do praise it for its genuine characters and pretty good acting (for a generic comedy anyway).
Worth a watch, but not sure if its worth the now very expensive cinema price.
Good Kill (2014)
Good Premise, but Poorly Executed
The idea behind this movie was very good - ie. how meaningless is war?
However, unfortunately, the direction, the acting, the script...all poor.
I am generally a fan of Ethan Hawke, not to mention he was the lead in one of my favourite movies/trilogies of all time (Before Sunrise, Sunset and Midnight...his acting was first class in all 3), but his acting in some movies is very mediocre. Good Kill is one example. Despite the strong message the movie was attempting to deliver, I could not bring myself to sympathise or in any way care for Ethan Hawke's character given that his acting seemed careless in this movie to be honest.
The Director was lazy - the movie feels like segments shot by a 5 year old on his camcorder and slapped together in a rush. Even though the movie does flow in terms of plot, it doesn't feel like it is flowing as it should in terms of viewing it.
The script is also quite average, especially in relation to the woman playing Ethan Hawke's wife...as understandable as it may be with her difficulty tackling Ethan Hawke's 'depression', she is by no means relate-able.
After reading some of the reviews I developed good hopes for this film, and thought it may have been one of those rare underrated movies on IMDb, but I regret to say that this movie had lots of potential, but could not deliver on almost all of it.
One of the most beautiful films ever made!!
I was literally in tears this entire film. The love story between the two leads is so simple, real and poignant!
The acting is superb - the script is flawless - the cinematography is amazing.
It is such a shame nobody has viewed this film!! I caught it by a chance screening on TV when I was supposed to be watching the big lebowski (for the 100th time) on DVD but my DVD player broke down so I turned to the TV and this extraordinary movie was playing - how lucky I was!
Sunday is a very sad, depressing movie, but it is filled with so much hope, passion and love that it manages to make you uneasy in the stomach for both positive and negative reasons.
One of the most touching films of my life - I don't give a 10/10 rating lightly, but given the vast array of deep emotion I felt by this chance encounter I rate it my perfect romantic afternoon!! Highly recommended for anyone with a big heart!
Entertaining, but Nevertheless, the worst Craig Bond!
Not a bad film per se, but there were just so many improvements to be made. The first is the plot, which required a ridiculous amount of suspension of disbelief to appreciate. The idea of the SPECTRE group which is supposedly bigger than Quantum and who want to rule the world by surveillance - and gathering 'information' as Christoph Waltz's character puts it - well, it was boring to be honest.
The second it the script and the Villain himself - Christoph Waltz may very well be the most wasted Bond Villain of all time, giving him a no-good script to work with not to mention the even worse back story that makes him a Villain - I really could not care with his reasoning.
Then there is extremely far-fetched heroic actions we see from Bond - I don't understand how some people claim that SPECTRE shows Bond's vulnerability. His vulnerability was shown in Casino Royale, in numerous scenes with Vesper, also obviously when he actually could not save himself and Vesper came in to save him. In SPECTRE James Bond is invincible and manages to get himself out of impossible situations with utter ease.
Oh, and finally, there is the random un-called for un-James Bond acts of violence - in one instance a character pushes his fingers through another man's eyeballs - seriously? Then the rest of the film is PG - what for?
Nevertheless, all the action sequences were entertaining, the 2.5hour run time felt short (mainly due to the film loaded with over the top, but yet enjoyable action) and I must say all my negativity about the film did not really present itself until about the last 1/3 (or hour or so) of the film. It started with an interesting premise, and SPECTRE was given a good sense of scary mystery about it, but then the last 1/3 felt too rushed; too many things were happening at once and the unveiling of the plot was just horrendous. It was as if the writers really could not think of a good way to tie it up and took the lazy way out of just scribbling whatever came to their head first.
Casino Royale was a classic in James Bond; I remember watching that at the Cinemas when it first aired; I was blown away. Quantum of Solace was not bad, but in terms of plot, it did extend it in a good and acceptable manner. Skyfall improved on Quantum, but with a whole new story. Now, SPECTRE, trying to somehow tie up the Quantum story line which was suddenly and disappointingly abandoned, well, it did a bad job - to think that SPECTRE ties in with Casino Royale and Skyfall (Villain's who I actually liked) and that Christoph Waltz was the 'author' of all of James Bond's pain - to be honest it makes me want to reduce my rating of Casino Royale and SKyfall simply because SPECTRE ruins the plot of those films.
Anyways, I recommend watching it just to see what it is about, but the plot is ridiculous and it requires an unbelievable amount of suspension of disbelief.