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Still Alice (2014)
Still Alice - a Delicate, Heartbreaking, Intimate and Ultimately Powerful Story, That Is Sadly a Part of Our Everyday Life
It probably goes without saying, but in my opinion "Still Alice" is right up there among this year's best pictures.
And what ultimately makes author Lisa Genova's debut bestselling novel so personal, yet so universal and identifiable in it's messages, are the performances. Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart are a part of a strong supporting cast, that will leave a lasting impression in your mind and it will be more than deserved. Both of their characters were so real - warm, supportive and earthly. And while both Baldwin and Stewart have taken the occasional misstep in their respective pasts, both of them once again showed without a doubt their acting abilities and scope, a word linguistics professor Dr. Alice Howland used, albeit with great difficulties, to describe her daughter Lydia (played by Stewart) in one point of the film.
And what a performance by Julianne Moore that was! She essentially made an already rich character in Alice, a frankly too young Alzheimer's disease patient, who also happens to be a renown linguistics professor, even more dimensional and rich. Moore's Alice is a strong, intelligent woman when we first meet her at her birthday at the beginning of the film. At that moment, Moore is confident and full of purpose. As she gets diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer's disease, that her children might have inherited from her, and time goes by, Alice becomes a shadow of herself, whose mental health deteriorates at an alarmingly fast rate. And that is the part that Moore portrayed with such skill and graceful pain, that the viewer can't help but get irreversibly emotionally involved with her character. We feel for her, we cry with her, we wish she would get better, although it is clear that is sadly not going to happen. And Moore's Alice knows it as well. And that makes the journey through her story even more challenging, difficult and painful for the viewer. Or as Beverly Beckham of The Boston Globe put it "This is Alice Howland's story, for as long as she can tell it".
The film was directed and adapted by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, who share both the writing and directing duties on almost all of their projects to date. The two somehow complete each other and find the balance, that is needed to tell such a delicate story in a manner, which can do it proper justice.
I will probably be the only one saying this, but I thought the score was tremendous as well. Kudos goes to composer Ilan Eshkeri, who did an amazing job on the film. The music is often intense and minimalistic, it feels like it is just an addition to the already rich environment the characters find themselves in and I would love to see at least a nomination at the Oscars for Eshkeri, although I highly doubt it.
So, to wrap it up in a nutshell: Still Alice is a wonderful film, an intimate and fascinating study in the field of family drama, and one of the year's best. I definitely hope to see some awards buzz mainly around the cast - both Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart deserve it for their delicate and supportive portrayal of husband John and youngest daughter Lydia, respectively, who never gave up on Moore's Alice. And Julianne Moore - well, what can I say - her brutally sad and honest portrayal of Alice deserves to go down in the books of top-notch acting and she will reap the fruits of her work a long time from now (well, mostly, at the end of February, I hope).
So it is a nine out of ten stars from me, only because I felt there could have been more screen time for the other children in the Howland family, and therefore the film could have been at least 10-15 minutes longer.
But solely on Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart's impeccable acting, I say this film is among the very best in the subject and also among the best titles this year.
My grade: 9/10
Tension, tension, tension!
After seeing Damien Chazelle's Whiplash - a film the young up-and- coming director wished to do for some time now - being so beautifully realized and brought to life by everyone involved in the project, I was glad and relieved, mainly because I have seen the short film, which was pretty incredible.
I believe that among the most telling facts about a film's fortunes and qualities, is the ability to broaden it's public, but in the same time not forgetting that cinema is not all about commercial success and mass audiences.Or with other words - a film that is not just eye candy and booms and explosions, but also craft, soul, dedication and wits.
Those are some of the things not only the film itself possesses, but the people behind it have in abundance as well.
The upcoming Miles Teller plays the young and dedicated student Andrew Nieman, who has the drive, the ambition to succeed and to be great, which is fine, as long as it doesn't derail your personal life.A lesson the young drummer learns the hard way.
Blind ambition is the thing, that can describe our anti-hero of sorts, Terrence Fletcher a.k.a the brilliant J.K. Simmons, who has a thing for mindeffin' his students to the point of total physical and mental exhaustion and even depression.But he does it for a reason, for the sole purpose of finding the next big, even great, thing in jazz and in music as a whole.The next prodigy, the next "Yardbird" Charlie Parker that will be otherwise lost, if not being pushed to the very limit.
And boy, does J.K. Simmons nails it.Chazelle has done a masterful job in casting the two leads in Teller and Simmons.Their respective acts are full of purpose, full of tension and ultimately terrific.
Expect some awards going in the way of "Whiplash" and look out for Simmons in the Oscars shortlist, that's how good he is in it.And in his own words: "What a shame we wrapped it up in only 19 days".It must have been really fun playing a part like Terrence Fletcher and Simmons completely sold it.
As I said, the best movies are those, that reach out to the most diverse and wide spectrum of audiences, not those, who can connect to a massive number of people, who are representatives of only one specific audience type.And Chazelle has achieved just that with "Whiplash" - a precise, tension-building film, full of beautifully staged pieces and above all else, a love towards music and the challenges it often represents if you want to get to the very top.
The film ended in a big round of applause from the packed theater and I am sure that will be the case a long time from now!
My grade: 9/10
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Cooler in every Aspect
As a non Star Trek fan, i might say i found the film staying as far as possible from that universe, without spoiling all the joy to the followers.J.J. Abrams has a way of doing this and i'm sure he'll do it again with Star Wars, although it is a little strange for one person to be doing probably the most iconic sci-fi movies for two of the most devoted fractions of fan groups, despite the fact they don't like each other-the hardcore fans especially-not one bit.
So, on with the film-i must confess i found the first film to be nothing special.Yes, some special effects thrown into it were indeed, spectacular, but the story itself was quite linear and straightforward.No intensity, no tension, only technicalities and quite the strange unit to be honest.It definitely had more for the fans, since it was basically an origins story, and that bugged me as well, because all i wanted was action, clever twists, some wit in the mix, and last, but not least-a great villain (which, albeit an A-lister, Eric Bana sadly isn't).
But for god's sake-Benedict Cumberbatch is!
The story was quite interesting, more than the first time for sure, some clever writing was involved and finally we get to see Kirk (Pine) and Spock (Quinto) actually act, you know-with real emotions and tears in their eyes.This time the action was more and even more impressive, some of the scenes were real space opera, a poetry of Kubrickan proportions.The tie-ins, as one friend, who's quite the Trekkie said, were quite a few, but this time around more delicately added and that also put a smile on my face.I recommend it to everyone and anyone who loves a good space adventure, even if he/she is not a fan of the series-because of that sole reason alone.
Now, the script is more elaborate, more twists are involved and, ahem, John Harrison (Cumberbatch) is probably the best written villain of recent memory.Worthy of a mention are his scene-stealing appearances on the Enterprise as he was locked on the ship.Sherlock just makes acting look a child's play.
The film itself is darker as promised, and i will see it again, because so much is happening at once, because it has it's flaws (everyone are superhuman, for instance, jumping back and forth through outer space looks like i can do it tied-handed and blindfolded).But it's moral dilemmas are overwhelming, and some moments are, in that respect, quite unforgettable and special.And for a film who wants to achieve much, greatness even, i believe this is the most important part indeed.It is a)-special, b)- harder to forget and c)just look at Cumberbatch, seriously, look at him.They say good actors are those, who can stay stone cold in one scene, and weep in the next-but he does both things.At once.In a single shot.And also i cannot say i remember anything from Kirk and Spock's first outing back in 2009.Only the technicalities on their ship pre-flight, the multinational flight squad, Anton Yelchin speaking weird (he does it again, but not as irritating) and some scene with a giant fire ray coming over from a planet (which i think , no disrespect, was destroyed- it even might've been Spock's planet, but it made no difference whatsoever, because i was not feeling it, because they were not feeling it).That's all can remember.
But now they do, it all looks better emotional-wise and i'm grateful to all of the cast for that.
Because of that, this time around, i won't be having the trouble remembering at all!
An almost great, independent (from the old-school Star Trek universe) and original film.
My rate 8.2/10
Engaging From the First Moment to The Very Last, But Blink-and You'll Miss It !
Every passionate moviegoer (as myself) has a certain annual wish-list of films, he/she is willing to do everything to see ASAP.And as a sci-fi fan, it has from some time been a foregone conclusion that Oblivion stands at the very top of my 2013 must-see-at- all-cost list, right up there with Elysium and Riddick among others.So the time finally came and in the time of writing this review, this nutbag moviegoer has seen the film twice.
Because, love it, or hate it-you must admit, that blink-and you've missed it.Shut down for a moment-and you've missed it.And that's what's so fascinating about this experience.
For those of you, who know Joseph Kosinski-i don't need to tell you, that he's already proved (Tron:Legacy), that he is unparalleled in his vision and style.As if he was born to do sci-fi of the highest order.And even if you wanted, dear reader, you actually cannot look any further than Tron, because there's literally nothing to look at.He is indeed new, but that doesn't seem to be bothering him nor his impeccable vision.
The screen writing is also strong, contrary to critics believes.I found the collaborating between so many people in that department rather useful.In most examples, when one has a few writers or directors, the end product becomes rather divided and visibly shaken and chaotic at moments.But the story with Oblivion is very different and unique in it's own way, thus making it all the more special for us.
So, with such an elite team penning the script, Oblivion grabs you in it's clutches and doesn't let go until the very end, when all the questions you had during the build-up, are either left open for you to decide what to believe in, or unfold logically, without ruining the whole mystery and mesmerizing enigma and integrity of the film, thus making it an experience, the first must-see Experience of the year to date.
And with such a talented group of people at the helms, the only thing missing is an equally strong cast.And, boy oh boy, didn't we get one (that's right, Olga Kurylenko, i'm talking about you).As a person, who's seen the film twice, i consider myself lucky to have been able to focus solely on the actors and their expressions and emotions throughout the second view of the film, so soon after the firs one (it's all still fresh in mind this way).
And it's fitting to begin the examination of the actors and the human factor from the man in the front, Mr. 100 million dollar man Tom Cruise.I personally dislike the guy, because of the lack of emotions on screen and the wild personal life off it.But let's focus on the screen-in films such as all "MissionImpossible"'s, i just can't feel any emotions in Cruise, i understand he must be coldblooded and decisive as Hunt, but even the affection he should have been allegedly feeling towards his loved one, just wasn't there.In his more recent Jack Reacher, it's the same.Rosamund Pike is reaching out, but he's not responding.
But here, he's oddly terrific-he even manages to break a tear or two in a few moments.He feels more human, than he does in the films he actually portrays one.But here, although just a number (roughly said, he's more than that), he has all the emotional mojo going on for him.
Andrea Riseborough' Victoria is a little bit colder than needed, but given her looks, i assume that was the idea all along-a precise, even perfect (on the outside), yet cold woman-a perfect description for a flawed, non- functional "human" being.
As one of my most beloved actresses, Olga Kurylenko's fallen angel, Julia, on the other hand, is Vicka's complete opposite.She's warm, full-blooded, a human being in every sense, and Jack's heart rightfully belongs to her, even when she is nothing more but a distant memory, a dream that comes at night.Even with his memory erased, he still sees her as his love, his life in a past world, not yet plagued by destruction.All that time he has been waiting upon her return in his life.She is even willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of all rebellious people left on earth, in order to preserve a little bit of that world she knows still exists in the heart of the still living humans led by Morgan Freeman and ass-kicker Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau, and, of course, Jack.Both she and Jack understand the meaning and the consequence of an eventual sacrifice, because they both know and with her help, they both remember and see, that really "Earth is a memory worth fighting for".
Aside from the strong tagline, which comes to great aid of the film, and a very accurate one as well, the Cruise/Kurylenko pair is a marvelous one, and after seeing her portray Julia the way she did, i no longer feel sadness over Jessica Chastain's (another muse of mine) drop from the film early on.That's how awesome and human Kurylenko was.Just look at her mesmerizing and beautiful eyes, they express a waterfall of emotions throughout.The just say it all...
And that piece of Paradise Jack has found and made for them at the meadow by the lake, is the most deserving and fitting finale for the two, although there's always a sour note that one must digest.But i won't spoil it for you.
But in the end(linger with me just a little more), Oblivion answers most of the questions it raised, and leaves others intentionally wide open.But the human aspect of it, will remain in my mind as the strongest quality this film possess.And the sheer brilliance in the visionary aspect of it.
A fitting finale (the last heartbreaking & in the same time-heartwarming scene in particular) to a fitting summer 2013 opener and my number one so far this year as well!
A deserved 10/10 for Kurylenko, Cruise, Kosinski & co. for the masterful job on Oblivion!
Spring Breakers (2012)
Here's for Harmony Korine's Stylish Attempt at What he Usually Does Best...
.....and that is kicking us right in the nuts, from the first moment on, until the credits have rolled out...and long after.
Only, this time this isn't a good thing.
From the writer of the critically acclaimed "Kids" and the director of "Gummo", you just know, that it's going to be brutal, it's going to be sadistic, and most shockingly-it's always going to be real-just as the emotional overload Chloe Sevigny was going through in "Kids".
But here-unlike his previous works-it's all to blurry and sugary and colorful, and thus Korine is unable to send us the right message about nowadays teenagers and the sheer downfall some of them are experiencing, while nobody's keeping an eye on them.And just like Franco's character Oz....ooops, i mean Alien(after all he's kinda used to the situation, where he has 3 or more (w)itches at his disposal)the movie is nothing, but an alienating attempt at hitting the right social strings and giving the American audience the punches it needs, in order to change the dystopian societies youth creates for itself.Sadly, it all looks so stylish and so outlandish in the same time, that at the end one feels like he has witnessed a low-budget sci-fi movie set in the near future after a war or a plague of some sort-that's how otherworldly it feels at times.
And that's the script to blame-Korine has done a terrible job at portraying a world, for which one needs more than just inside information to portray-it all feels overloaded with color, rap, chicks, but most importantly-this world lacks the severity and the raw, serious nature of the typical world of a "Lord of War"-something that both Franco and his friend- turned-nemesis aren't.The cold-blooded nature of a person, who's willing to do everything and anything to stay alive just isn't present.
You would say that it wasn't an attempt at a crime movie, yet all of the components are here.So, the assumption that one could make after seeing this mess is that's it's actually pretty genre-less.And that, for me, is the worst place a movie can go.
Now, on a lighter note-movie, that has teen-queens Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez (albeit marketing's done a good job to cover the fact Gomez is absent for a big chunk of the movie), should be fun, right?Right?
Wrong.First of all-the likes of Disney Channel princess Selena Gomez don't have a place in such a movie-either you go all the way, showing you are no longer a 10-year old's wet teen-dream, or go home, because you take the part of a person, who's willing to do a performance of Spartacus-proportions here.I'm not saying i wish to see her naked, i'm saying it is stupid to give the role to a teen, that does not even know what she wants to be associated with-being a good girl on Disney Channel, or a bad girl in adults-oriented movies.In Spring Breakers she does neither.And that's maybe why her character looks so oddly in place-because she really just didn't want to star in this movie, just as her character Faith does not want to be around Franco and his friends, therefore in the center of the events in the movie.And she has no reason to go bad-girl-she definitely has in mind her fans.But, sadly, most of them, don't know what a quality film means yet, so they certainly don't know what a low-budget, B-grade, R-rated movie is, as they fill the PG-13 quote(let's face it-Gomez's fans are essentially low-teen teens), in the best case-scenario.So, Gomez can't get her people to the theater, her cast is totally unneeded.And i probably won't end up talking so much about her in my life...again...
The more interesting subject here is Vanessa Hudgens-she is the right Disney Channel-cast and she's definitely up for a transition to adults-oriented cinema, as she showed with films such as Sucker Punch or Beastly.I actually think she has some potential to rise above her teen-star-wet-dream-status and no 13-year old would like her in the role of the twisted devil she plays in this movie, which is-in my opinion-a good thing.It's time for her to do the leap, and so far she has been bold enough doing it.
Now, back to Alien for a moment.I don't want to discuss Franco's performance any further, 'cause i find words even harder.As a Francophile, i'll just say that in any other day, i would crucified him, but in such a blunt, blank, train wreck of a movie, he would be the only memorable thing in mind after a few hours have passed...he and the 175 pairs of boobs of all kinds and shapes we get to see, mixed with the music Korine thinks young people listen to...well, do we not?
So, a couple of nice and stylishly-shot scenes and interesting soundscape don't make for an otherwise surprisingly dull and empty- shelled movie you'll have a hard time remembering in a few days.Voiced over, designed to be repulsive and thought-provoking with a certain social element to rise awareness of the problems of the youth system as a whole, this attempt at a movie feels empty on the subject and just falls short.
An Unforgettable Experience Brought By Muschietti, Del Toro and Chastain ! !
First of all, my fellow moviegoers and horror-fans, i must begin by saying, that, even in a decade's time, i doubt that my instant love for this film would have changed in any way.
Was it because of the wonderful work of the entire cast and crew on the film that struck me?Or even that rare feeling you get, when a film has been carefully nurtured with love and selflessness and raised up to be one of the best in the genre to come out for a good long while?Or is it the wonderful Jessica Chastain with a little mix of Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau's assuring performance as Lucas, and of course, Isabelle Nélisse's and Megan Charpentier haunting performances of Lilly and Victoria.
And once we are rolling and underway, Muschietti and Del Toro never really let us go.Their ideas, their intelligence and vision, along with some brilliant acting, made this film a special cinematic experience.
Suspense and horror wise the filmmakers have made a wise choice not to go with blood, gore and other clichés nowadays horrors are filled to the brim with.Another great choice is the masterful cast they have chosen-Chastain, Waldau the whole cast.And since i'm very fond of Chastain, i will get on the subject thoroughly in a moment.The film was shot in incredible style not revealing in the opening scenes and ,step by step, showing more and more, both story and emotional wise.Not only that, but with the titular character of Mama, we find more about her, we see more of her, and in the end, we experience what means being her, being all of them.This storytelling arc i found very suspenseful and the great character development in Annabel and Victoria, the bigger sister, lead up to the climax, which is very heavy on emotions, pain and a triumph of the director's extraordinary vision.
Which, in my humble opinion, leads to the strongest quality, that this film has in it's possession:the cast!!Game of Thrones's Waldau does a really solid job portraying Lucas, the uncle, who never gave up on his nieces and kept searching, when nobody else did, he never let go.
Isabelle Nélisse and Megan Charpentier are great playing the two wild, insecure, girls and manage to find the perfect line between this world and the civilization they are so reluctantly brought into by their uncle and his girlfriend.Although the word "girlfriend" is very misleading in this situation, it does no justice to the relationship between Chastain's Annabel and Waldau's Lucas at all.Throughout the whole movie we have seen real love and real human feeling, not just a bunch of teens sleeping together and fooling around which basically happens in every horror movie.But here, people are full-blooded, real, emotional, humane.So, they clearly love each other, after all Annabel stayed with him in order to help him raise his nieces, they moved in a new house together, she left her life of the tattooed, beer-drinking, guitar-playing, Rooney Mara-resembling woman, that was not yet ready to be a mother.At the end, Annabel has become so fond of the girls, that she takes the role of a real mother, caring, protecting and loving them, when Lucas in not around.She is risking her own life for them and is gifted with the love of the bigger sister, Victoria, in return, which ultimately proves to be at the center of the main conflict-the unconditional love of two mothers towards the two sisters, and the choice that they have to make.A real mother, or Mama-a hurt, but jealous ghost, with a history of her own, a mother, who is able to take a life in order to preserve it, a mother, who defended the two children for years in the wild, as if they were her own, but not a real, full-blooded mother at all...There is no right choice here, which means things are ultimately going to end bad in one way or another...
So, for those who were able to bear with me for so long, i'm going to wrap it all in a nutshell:this film is an experience, that needs to be seen, an experience, resembling a beautiful, but also painful story with no winners and real, human emotions.It reminds me of Nicole Kidman's The Others in a way...And being introduced to Jessica Chastain's warm and full-blooded portrayal of an otherwise clichéd character, that she shows has been played the wrong way all those years, is the most important experience for me.She was brilliant, and as i have grown to love Chastain for her roles in the past two years, for her devotion and skillfulness, she is the best choice for this role.If horror movies had more overall quality and were higher-regarded as movies not only made for the purpose of cheap jumps, but for enjoying a piece of film making of real cinematic value, in a world where scripts are better, Jessica Chastain could even get nominated for an Oscar among other high-profile awards for her mesmerizing and beautiful, yet humane portrayal of a forced-by-the-circumstances mother, ready to do anything to protect the ones she loves.
So, with the 1000-word limit upon me, for one of the best films in the genre for the last years and a wonderful film as a whole, this piece of devoted filmmaking and acting, will keep you mesmerized until the very end and you'll be discussing it even afterward.It definitely left an impression on me, and i can't wait to see the beautiful Chastain again, as soon as possible, as she has proved to be equally impressive and devoted in every genre she has worked in and every role she has taken.The one-two, that's shaping up at the U.S. box-office this weekend for her, proves she covers more cinematic ground than most, and that the future is bright in her presence!I wish her the Lead Actress Oscar this year, as she absolutely deserves it for her work on Zero Dark Thirty!
My rate:a deserved 10/10 !!!
This review may be coming a little bit late, considering i saw the movie back in November, but i wanted to check one or two things before i write it.I wanted to see whether or not the movie will receive any Academy awards buzz from the the Golden Globes and the various Guild awards.I wanted to wait, because i could not believe the hype surrounding it.I saw it, and i was not that impressed at all.So after some amount of time has passed and the seven Academy nominations have been announced, i thought it was time for a second viewing, in order to try and change my mind about the movie, but-no.
First of all, i enjoyed Gone Baby Gone and The Town of Affleck's repertoire much more than i did with Argo.I would even recommend Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow's recent take on historical events, that are important to American society)ahead of Argo.That being said, Affleck's based-on-true-story-sci-fi-flick has it's strenghts.
The fact that the movie is solid enough and that a thorough enough background-check on the events depicted in it, are made, admittedly do the movie some justice.It's well and accurately written, but a nomination is as far as it can stretch itself.Never mind the fact that Affleck is still weaker in front of the camera, than he is behind it, this is clearly visible.One might even wonder how he has that experience as an actor and as a director and be so far ahead with the material when at the helm of a movie.
So, the era is accurately depicted, even the jokes, sets, clothing, music-all fits the bill, although Led Zeppelin's When the Levee Breaks is probably 10-12 years earlier, thus not from this period.But i'm willing to close my eyes on this one, considering the love i have towards Plant&co.On that subject, Aerosmith and Dream On were more accurately chosen, although only for the trailer.
The technical part of the movie was almost excellent, i mean there isn't any breakout aspect to put in the running for some awards (although some people obviously think there is), all in all everything was good enough.Maybe only William Goldenberg can get a nod over the others, but he'll have stiff competition from his other movie, Zero Dark Thirty and himself.As this is pretty evident by now, he has two nominations in one category for two different movies.So, it will be pretty interesting to see which movie do the critics hold in higher regard-this category will tell.For me, that should be "Zero".
So, technically good, historically accurate, even a little tense, so what's the matter, you might ask.Very simple.Contrary to popular belief, that has been planted in most people's minds, there actually was no acting in this movie.Not a single part was properly played by nobody, including you, Mr. Arkin.I can't understand where did this nomination come from, but in my eyes it is totally undeserved.Arkin and Goodman were of course fine, fun to watch, but the parts they played, others have played so long ago and to a better extend.When we start off with Sunset Blvd. and stop at present-day Hank Moody, there are people much more prepared to the challenges of playing a movie guy.Arkin was fine, but for 10 minutes of screen time you just can't receive that kind of reception and you just can't make this big of an impact.It is not normal.Not that they are, those awards and guild-members.
So, if i have to sum it up in a nutshell-the screenplay was good enough, the directing was decent as well, the acting was stiff at best (i'm looking at you, Ben), the era was pretty impressively(although inaccurately story-wise) depicted (still looking at you, Ben), the technical part was top-notch (William Goldberg), but all in all this does not make up for the "masterpiece" many of you claimed it to be.
If i had to recommend it, i would, simply because of it's must-see- based-on-true-story(although if we have to go there, discussing how accurate it really is, we'd be in for a long night) factor.But, as i said earlier, i'm not that impressed and there is nothing all that much to be impressed with.And Best Picture?No way!!
My rate: 6.5/10
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Jessica Chastain in Command ! ! !
Do not get me wrong, the movie is not that good when you get the lovely, energetic, fascinating and brutally honest portrayal of Chastain's CIA agent Maya out of the picture.It would've still be solid, controversial and updated with events, but the X-particle would have been missing.That's what the actress brought to the movie.
The cast is fine-a solid, convincing ensemble, that did their respective jobs very well.I can see why people like Mark Strong and James Gandolfini got some roles in the movie.It's always good to work with a so-called red-hot director at the helm of her so-called favourite turf- war movies.Their cameos, especially Gandolfini's (because Mark Strong was under the spotlights for a little longer) made a refreshing break from the main tone of the movie midway through it, at the moment we needed something different the most.Overall, the cast was an improvement over Bigelow's last effort in the genre.
With "The Locker" i wasn't impressed at all, i was actually on the other end of emotions-i did not understand what all the people saw in it.Overlong and flat, you' be left wondering why so many strange sequences occurred in the movie.And if you are still awake, that is.But Bigelow has improved in those few years.She has a better eye for the cinematic, her cast is stronger, she changes paste effortlessly and now has a sense of jumping in one scene after another almost flawlessly.Those things, in my humble opinion, were not that visible in "The Locker" as mostly critics screamed they were.But the movie ended being the biggest Oscar contender and winner without being the best movie that same year, so what do i know.The only department "The Locker" still overshadows "Zero Dark Thirty" is the tension.No that it wasn't evident here, but more than enough was provided by Bigelow in her last effort.Well, frankly, the nature of the movie was different and couldn't have hurt it.
So, with all that being said, with the beautiful performance by Chastain, who is becoming a real power on the horizon with every single movie she takes, with a haunting performance from Reda Kateb's Ammar in the beginning, where one might feel heartbroken for the guy, what's the problem with the movie, You might ask.
The script!This thing that has been nominated out of sheer patriotism is worth nothing.Some of the lines Boal wrote were sheer ridiculousness at it's finest.No one screams words like "motherfucker" in the CIA director's face at a high-level terrorist-related meeting, even if there is no profane context hidden behind it and even if the CIA boss's role has been handled by the almighty Tony Soprano.Jessica Chastain was actually so good and mesmerizing throughout the course of the movie, that she handled this particular scene with calm and confidence.She was the one screaming it, if it is not yet crystal-clear.And she's been forgiven, she's not to blame at all.Continuing with Boal's outrageous screen writing we find ourselves in the middle of a mission, where the SEALs (who behaved like total children throughout their limited number of scenes, shame on you, Edgerton, i'm looking at you, because one would expect this from Chris Pratt) enter a suspect's house and begin to quietly repeat every single inhabitant's name until, like rabbits, they all come out and they all get shot.A totally unneeded and distracting scene, which took off a lot from the sheer brilliancy and tension off the last sequence of the movie.And even if there were some documented evidence speaking that it was all true, i don't believe that a clever off-the-grid person will be so stupid to get out and check who is calling him by name in the middle of a SEALs mission in his home.I repeat, even if it were true, for the sake of the film itself, leave it out, do not go there!!That's why i think the final act was less suspenseful than Bigelow's last warfare effort.Besides the fact we all now how it ends, of course.And, once again, thank God Jessica Chastain is around to save the day and bring some humanity and emotion to the movie.:But what the heck, let's give a 100/100 to the movie, because we love America".That's the reception right now, as it was with "Argo"...and once again, thank the cinematic Gods for Jessica Chastain's true, emotional, fascinating, electrifying performance!!
At the very end she showed that even in a job well done and even in the years spend doing nothing but this particular job, there is no consolation, there are no smiles, nor happiness.Only a 12-years long hole of emptiness that's being left there.Like a homecoming soldier, who still lives with his brothers in arms, Jessica Chastain's Maya-has a tough way ahead of her.A way filled with new strives and challenges, dreams even.But a long and tough way back to ordinary life, life as it was.This sense of nostalgia is brought in absolutely uncompromising way to the screen by Chastain.
The movie itself would have been a 6/10 without Chastain to say the least, with Boal it falls even steeper, but this new actress (by Hollywood laws that is), makes this whole ride unforgettable in the coming awards-season.
Two thumbs up for a lovely Chastain and hopefully an Oscar this time around!!
Michael Bay has somehow done it-what an improvement, what a Sci-Fi.Genre-defining!
The Transformers series are a very strange and curious trilogy.The first was interesting, a little longer than the plot was capable of handling, but nonetheless enjoyable for what it is.
Then, the second one came around with initial reviews claiming it was a loud-explosion mess of a movie.Yes, i left the theatre deaf as a post, but i still accepted it for what it was-a brainless, one-liner, visual effects driven non-plot having extravaganza, that can take your ears to the grave.Yes, it was a little sub par on plot and substance, but i enjoyed it for what it is-a summer Michael Bay movie.
Now, with the third coming, i must say, that all of you, who were left unhappy, deaf and unsatisfied, you must forget it and see the third part as a reincarnation in a Sci-Fi classic, just like the likes of the nowadays Inception, or District 9 and so on, but with more effects, less inappropriate noise and featuring one of the most breathtaking scenery of giant robots fighting on 3-D.The technical part of the movie is done better than ever, on par up there with Avatar (yes, it's getting a cliché, but it's nevertheless true)and there is a believable plot, considering the flops they used to call stories in the first two movies (again, compared with this, of course).
The acting isn't great, but it's an improvement, considering the movie's improvement in any other department as well.Even Rosie looks a little better than Megan Fox.Shia LaBeouf is the running man again, and with some additions such as Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich and even the twist in Turturro's character, Transformers 3 looks fresher than ever.
With good reviews coming from literary everywhere right now, i do hope people will believe, because this movie does not deserve to be in the box office shade of it's predecessors, because it is so much better.
So, i'll leave you with this-go see it not because you still have faith in the franchise, but see it because as it looks to you, the movie is really different from the other two (which Bay also claimed to be "dark"), and last but not least, see it for the mind-blowing SFX's, which have not been seen since December 2009...
A great summer movie, a modern action, Sci-Fi movie, which will wind up in many movie collections over the years to come!
Scream 4 (2011)
"The old generation's tragedy, the new generation's entertainment"
Back in 1996, the first Wes Craven movie from the Scream franchise ended, or should i say, began a whole new generation of horror movies.The suspense became bigger than before, and the hackneyed stories of torture, abandoned roads and stokers came to a relative end.The new-age horror began back then-a nice mix of humor, suspense, jump-scenes, blood and gore..and of course, the merge of some typical killer profiles in one.The result-Ghostface.So many movies have been made as a parody of the notorious killer and some of them have succeeded with it.But only one movie will come in mind when we speak of Ghostface- the Scream franchise.And this one sticks to everything we wanted.
Saying that, i must admit i was very annoyed at the beginning of the movie, mainly because of the brainless chicks, with a "135" IQ, who got killed so stupidly.Maybe it should have been 13,5, who knows.But at the end, when i finally managed to control my anger, i come to realize, that was a satire, and a needed one.It comes to show that the series are still a lot of fun throughout and that's what matters.
And speaking of fun, i must say that i was laughing in tears in some moments, and i was at the edge of my seat at others.This is, for me, the most important part of the movie, along with the twists, of course.Not many movies do that, and i surely don't remember the last one i saw it do that.
Wes Craven did a great job working on his child, collaborating alongside Kevin Williamson, a very talented screenwriter, who shows why he's on board the movie.He did a great job making a very difficult story, considering the fact, that this is the four Scream installment.
The movie was very creative as a new-age collaboration between young newcomers, some TV stars, like Hayden Panettiere (whom you probably haven't heard of, if you're not a TV geek, although it's hard to believe, or Emma Roberts, most famous as Julia Robert's daughter for now, although she is talented.) and the old dogs in the sight of David Arquette, Courtney Cox and Neve Campbell.So, this mix-up was cool to see.
There weren't some off the chart performances, if i have to choose, i would say that David Arquette and Emma Roberts were the highlight-actors of the movie.There were some obviously comedic introductions, such as Adrien Brody and Anthony Anderson, playing two of the cops in the movie.
What surprised me the most, was the sheer entertainment of the script, the twists and the movie connections, that were added.I can't think of any other movie, i've seen, that has so much references to other movies or people.They began referencing to the Saw franchise, The Hills Have Eyes, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, Friday the 13-th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and so many others, including references of many of Wes Craven's previous works and actors such as Bruce Willis.But the movies were so many, and many, i couldn't remember them all.Let's say, that there was about 90% of the horror classics in the last 50-60 years or so added as a build-up quiz game to some of the murders.They were that many.Even the weapons those killers used, were added as trivia Q&A's.
So the sheer entertainment, the laughs and scares and twists(which are very incredible, but convincing and untraceable for audiences until the very end, when they tell you about them, are great).The acting of some of the characters was great as well, and i was pleased.
All those things being said, i think, that, as a fourth installment, this movie is sheer entertaining brilliancy, and a history in the making as well.I won't be surprised, if there is another sequel being planed in the future, because the movie was great, as long as it doesn't make you a little angry at the very beginning, in the few opening scenes.Then, you should be alright.
So a fun, memorable ride and the Scream franchise is at it's entertaining best, alongside the first.You will laugh and you will scream but eventually, you'll definitely like it.
My note 7.5/10 for the best horror movie in the last couple of years and the best Scream since the first.A great entertainer!
P.S.Go see it with as many friends as possible-it will be fun as hell!