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unexplained but original
The story is original, with a newly invented villain. It is told superficially, with many elements that could be well explored to enrich the film being ignored. But, although much of it goes unexplained, the villains are cool. The makeup effects are pretty mixed: some are great (the skinless bodies), but some aren't (hooks in the skin). The cenobites' makeup are also very nice. The special effects are OK to an 1987 movie. The soundtrack wasn't much present, contributing little to the movie. The acting is poor overall, pretty artificial. And the characters weren't demanding: they are plain stereotyped good guys/bad guys. I recommend it, since it's a classic. It's not bad overall, I guess I just expected more. I'm still about to check the follow-ups that may enhance the experience with this movie.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
no story, but enjoyable
I liked this compilation of scenes. I liked the soundtrack; I liked the acting; I liked the settings; I liked the effects. As a game, it works greatly. The movie is a sum of chunks of stories. Most of them are action stories. A few are horror stories. Another few are mystery stories. And none of them are connected to each other. They just share common characters.
Honestly, the plot is just an excuse for great action scenes. And I liked the action scenes. I rate it zero for the story, ten for the technical quality. And I have to admit it: in the end, I liked it as a whole.
Le hérisson (2009)
This is a very charming and thought-provoking movie. It displays prejudice and stereotyping, to deliver the message that every person is a person, independently of their role in our lifes. But some people assimilate their roles to the point of forgetting they're much more themselves. The story develops slowly, at the perfect pace, in a dynamic way, allowing the viewer to assimilate the many different points that are developed at the same time. The different image types (from the movie itself, and from Paloma's filmings) help keep it interesting. Added to the beautiful soundtrack, it leads you to the mood where you'll open your mind to the questions the director wanted you to think about. The acting is also superb, specially Josiane Balasko. With an original story and engaging characters, this is a must see. And must think, afterwards.
Simple and safe story in a high quality CG movie
First of all, I have to add my voice to the mass that praises the technical aspects of this movie. Considering the budget, we couldn't expect less. The soundtrack also is orchestrated as expected from a work of this financial magnitude.
The story, however, have mixed features. I also analyze it in 2 halves. The beginning is nice: I consider it has originality in the future it portrays. The main plot and elements are a common formula, the details are what count. Except for the exaggeration in the robot's "humanity", it's a very good start. Then we have the second half, which may be totally dismissed. It's almost like a totally different movie. It portrays the USA society almost as it is now; it displays an absolutely human robot; it tells us a tale that have been told over and over for centuries. The characters, action and everything else is so overly far-fetched. Although the pace of the film is eventful, apart from a few references that may make it enjoyable, it's a bore.
I recommend it for the less thought-demanding audiences. For everyone else, you better spend your time with a different movie.
Nice fantasy animation for all audiences
This is a nice fantasy story. The high point here is creativity. The main plot's elements don't make much sense, but they are coherent between themselves. It's like a dream, where things obey the dream logic, but don't obey real-world logic. This also highlights the human characteristics of the main character.
Like many Japanese stories, this movie contains a lot of story for just 2 hours. It's not a boring movie; it has a long, complete story. The adventures of Chihiro are told in a good pace, we can follow it without getting bored. The personality of the various supporting characters are revealed as time passes, and Chihiro is an open-minded child, whose lack of prejudice makes her see the characters as they are, and therefore help the world she is in.
Technically, this film is very good. Full of colours, they vary according to each moment's mood, adding to the storytelling. The soundtrack also agrees with the scenes. The drawing is very good, like all Miyazakis.
One of the greatest accomplishments of this movie is that it appeals to most audiences, from the most thought-demanding to the less. When you analyze it, you can see many messages and information; on the other hand, if you're not like that, you can just sit back and enjoy the little nice fantastic story.
From Inside (2008)
An engaging, strong nightmare
I watched this movie at Fantaspoa 2010, and I was very impressed by it. It really took me to another reality, or rather, unreality; a bad dream. The great graphical quality of it, together with a matching soundtrack, and a well performed narrative, telling such original and uncommon story, accomplished what many top-budget Hollywood horror movies failed to. It made me feel uncomfortable, even though I shouldn't be able see myself into any of the characters, as it tells us about an apocalyptic world. This animation's characteristics, though, made it easy to feel like in a nightmare. A nightmare that could be mine. A nightmare that, for 70 minutes, was mine.
Technically speaking, the soundtrack is not great. It's suitable. The graphics are great. Most of the time, it doesn't seem like hard things to make, like it was a challenge. But each element was well orchestrated, making each frame a painting, a portrait of pain, despair. The narrative of the main character was well elaborated, completing the portrait with the colors of agony, lack of hope, compromise to emptiness. The pace of the movie is slow. It gives you the time to assimilate each and every bad moment the character is going through. It helps you enter the torpid, dormant feelings of the train's passengers, as life passes by outside. The engineers of the train made the important decisions, practically nobody else cared. They let themselves be taken.
The story is coherent overall, as a dream can be. Many elements go unexplained, but you should consider that as not relevant. It stands clear that the important thing is Cee's point of view of the things that happen around her. The other characters' behaviours aren't unrealistic. Greed, altruism, envy, pride. Nothing is exaggerated or stereotyped.
I won't recommend it for most people, as it is strong. It is, after all, also like a nightmare in these points: you don't want it. You don't like it. You wish you never had it. It makes you feel bad. But it ends, and then you're glad that you can be awake in your real world, in your real life. Back to normality.
So yes, I liked it a lot, and there are a few people I would recommend it to: the few people who are aware that nightmares are a part of ourselves. A part that helps to keep us sane. The same part that helps us understand the difference between reality and illusion. Good things and bad things. Ultimately, it helps us understand the balance of life.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
This is a pretty average Disney movie. I had high expectations because of Tim Burton directing it. And actually Burton's visual style is easily recognizable. But basically, that is what saves this movie from a total failure. I won't complain that the story is not that from the book: that was announced, and therefore it was expected. But I was expecting a Burtonian story. Finding a typical Disney story was very disappointing.
About the characters, you would expect to have a great participation of Alice, or maybe the Hatter (Burton's idol Johnny Depp), but instead the most prominent character happens to be the Red Queen, by far.
At least the movie is not boring, and well produced (as it was expected).
Summary: Technically great, visually great; poor, disappointing story. If you want to just sit and relax, it's a good choice. If you want to entertain your brain, you better pick something else.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Great story, wanting for a remake
Graphically, this movie is good and enjoyable. Although the settings were cheap, the choices for artifacts, costumes, colors and camera positioning made up very good shots. But this work is even more remarkable for having a great soundtrack. It fits perfectly well into the story, that is the best part of it. A thrilling suspense, with a wonderfully tailored plot. I regret the technical limitations of the producers of this movie. With such story, it would get a 10 for sure from me, if properly produced, and with tiny little changes here and there. When I take into account the time this movie was done, and the budget allocated to it, it really impresses me.
The pace of the film is not fast, but it's not tedious as well. Some sequences seems to be purposely slow, for the audience to assimilate what's going on in the screen. But it never wanders to dead ends; the story is all linked up. An important fact about this film is that most of what happens in it is feasible, or almost. For me, it really felt like an Agatha Christie story.
A few elements simply "are", like Dr. Phibes' assistant. But it's a needed element, it would be lacking if it weren't there.
Summary: The acting is OK, the scenery is cheap, the soundtrack is great, the story even better. I highly recommend, for those devoid of bias against old-time horror movies. And I'll eagerly pray and wait for a good Hollywood remake.
The Hangover (2009)
Waste of a creative story
This movie is hard to evaluate. It has some very good points, but it is not as great as it might sound. It's just good. The story is creative, with weird and curious mysteries to be unveiled. Although not at a slow pace, the film goes at a slower pace than it should, considering the various things happening. Most mysteries are explained, but the things done by the characters are not believable. Most things that are supposed to be funny are just plain dummy. So, in the end, this is a pretty average work. It's well produced, as expected from a Hollywood movie. An average movie with a creative story. All I can say is that they wasted a good opportunity to make a great movie.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
A different story in a pretty movie
This is a very entertaining animation. The story is not politically correct: it teaches children to follow their will and talents, even if that means being a good burglar. But it also teaches good things: to accept oneself; to do your best; to unite to get stronger, and work as a team, among other things.
The film goes on a good pace, it has a lot of action. Many things happen, keeping your attention. It gives the impression of being a long movie, but not because it's bad. I felt like my spent time was worth it. The different things that happen are well linked, and they go according to the characters' personality. As a fable, it works great - most fables do; and the characters are amusing.
This movie also gets extra points from me due to its originality. It represents people, in a way that it contains different, sometimes conflicting elements found in most people.
There are a few unnecessary scene, but they don't make this movie less fun. And a few technical elements are poor also, but one must admit that some things must be really hard to do in stop-motion. In fact, the creators did have a good amount of creativity in some scenes. Finally, I can't leave behind any comments on the graphical quality of the movie. It has some really beautiful images, and most of the others are at least very nice.