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Jodorowsky's Dune (2013)
Jodorowskys Dune: The greatest film never made (thank goodness for that!)
I must confess that before watching this documentary, I never heard of Alejandro Jodorowski or his movies, or that he wanted to do a movie based on Frank Herberts sci-fi novel Dune". Being a great fan of Sci-Fi I went to see this documentary and I must confess it is a fascinating movie. It shows Jodorowskys passion about this project, his visions (probably LSD-induced) and the obstacles he faced during the preparation of the movie. He said himself that he wanted to create a mind-changing movie for the entire generation of youth, a movie which induces hallucinations for the viewer without having to take LSD, and in my opinion, that is the core of the entire problem, the cause of his failure. Jodorowsky is a true representative of the avantgarde in the 60's and 70's. It was a generation of people who tried to find some bigger truth and to provoke the establishment, all that with the help of mind-altering drugs, mysticism, lots of sex and horrible fashion, and ultimately they failed. Many movies from this period are violent, disgusting (here I mean sci-fi movies) and bizarre things, which are better left unseen. In this context, Jodorowsky thinks that his movies are deep, challenging and philosophical, but he is wrong. Confusing or strange or sick images are not deep. Bizarre brutality is not challenging of philosophical. It is what it is. The only thing which cannot be disputed is Jodorowsky energy which he uses to convince people that nothing is something. His enthusiasm for his project is great but I cannot perceive his rationale behind his actions, his only criteria for everything is his intuition, which led him to make a bizarre cast for the movie. Enough to begin with Salvador Dali (whose demands were ridiculous) as the Emperor of the Galaxy, then Orson Wells (whose demands were also ridiculous) as baron Harkonnen. These two egos on the stage would have probably never be able to cooperate. He continues with Mick Jagger as Feyd Harkonnen and Dalis muse Amanda Lear as princess Irulan. For the soundtrack he chose Pink Floyd and a group named Magma. From his scenario we can see how he imagined the costumes and it reminds greatly of Flash Gordon" from 1980. Everything looks bizarre, campy and ridiculous. As for the story, he made some big changes in his script, which were unnecessary in my opinion and did not contribute to the movie at all. He was not ready to make any compromises with anyone so he did not want to cooperate with Douglas Trumbull, the special effects expert from that time, only because he didn't like him. The length of the movie was estimated at 12 hours or more, which scared and banished all the movie companies in Hollywood. And of course, anybody in Hollywood who has seen Jodorowskys other movies would be frightened by a prospect of letting him do a movie without any creative control. All in all, a must-see documentary for all science fiction and Dune"-fans, which must be grateful Jodorowsky failed to put his vision on the big screen. It would have probably be overlong, campy, bizarre, brutal, frustrating ordeal with lousy special effects, but however it would have become a cult movie (probably impossible to watch sober), if nothing else then for it's strangeness.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Nice view behind the scenes in the world of business
This movie is known for its many swear words and nudity, but rest assured it is all with a purpose. It is based on an autobiography of Jordan Belfort (played by excellent Di Caprio), stock market manipulator. I will not elaborate much of the story because it is simple, a story of a self made man from his humble beginnings to his downfall, after some criminal activity, of course. The movie gives splendid presentation of how things work in today's economy and stock market exchange. It is a worrisome and at the same time funny business when you see that many people who rule the economy world are primitive, greedy, lying, manipulative, sinful people with short tempers. They apparently try to enjoy everything life has to offer, without limits. They enjoy drugs on regular basis, alcohol and all kinds of sex. In short, they are in all aspects priests of hedonism. Wherever you have success and money, the face under the make-up is ugly. But the most important scene in the movie, which recapitulates the whole thing, is with Di Caprio and Matthew McConaughey at the beginning where things are explained in short. Everything is a game without any meaning. The only goal is to make naive people give your their money and in exchange they receive the illusion that this money exists somewhere multiplied many times. As long they feel rich, they are rich. When they try to cash this money, the moment has arrived to deliver them from their illusion. Go see the movie, it will be informative and you will not regret it.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Excellent and funny movie
I hoped this would be solid movie and I was not wrong. It is based on a Japanese novel which explains fresh approach in the time-travel concept. The premise of the movie is simple: Earth has been invaded by some alien life-form (called Mimics and remind of sentinels form Matrix) and the Humanity is losing. Almost all of Europe has been conquered and the United Defence Forces are preparing one final big offensive, something like landing in Normandy to reclaim European mainland. Our main protagonist, William Cole played by Tom Cruise, is some kind of military journalist/PR expert who is send to be embedded reporter in the front line. Being a complete coward, he tries to avoid being sent into the combat force but he gets arrested and forcefully drafted. The invasion itself is a total disaster and our hero" dies within minutes. But before he dies, he accidentally manages to kill alien alpha soldier, which obviously has some kind of special ability, because he wakes up a day before the invasion and repeats the same day over and over. On the battlefield he meets a Hero of human forces Sgt.Rita Vrataski (played by Emily Blunt), the woman who managed to defeat the aliens in one battle and she recognizes what happened to him. The Mimics have a power to rewind time each time when some alpha soldier is killed, and after a contact with one Cole has acquired this ability. Rita had this power before, but she lost it after her winning battle. She wants to use Coles ability to train him so that they will be able to find Omega-alien, mind which controls the entire invasion. Training is brutal and difficult, because our protagonist is really not a soldier and we see why he doesn't want to go into battle. He dies time and again, many time funnily. He tries to reach that alien over-mind and at the same time to save Vrataski from a certain death, which is as it seems an impossible mission (no pun intended). The chemistry between Cole and Vrataski is superb, and never feels forced. Luckily, the director has chosen not to overdo the romantic relation between our heroes, everything is hinted at. The ending of the movie is somewhat weaker and not logical, but that's OK, it's a time-travel story and it's difficult to avoid paradoxes.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Not an exciting movie
The hardest thing to review is a mediocre movie. Horrible and excellent movies are easy, because the motivation for a review is high. But with modest movies there is nothing special to say about them. It is possible too see them once in a lifetime and forget them immediately. I had some high hopes about this installment of Spiderman and it failed to meet them. The movie itself is in my opinion too long and most of that time was wasted as a filler. There were many new things introduced in the movie but everything seemed rushed and uninspired. We have two new villains, Electro and Green Goblin. The birth of Electro is somewhat funny, because he was bitten by radioactive electric eel (Not radioactive spider, mind you! Eel!). He hates Spiderman, because he used to love him and he got disappointed later. Green Goblin is born when Harry Osborne injects himself with some kind of radioactive spider poison. And we see him on screen for entire five minutes. Spiderman manages to defeat his enemies at the end after a bombastic fight full sound and fury, but at great price. Then we have setting for a new villains in the future, Black Cat and Rhino which seemed ever more rushed then the first two villains (especially Rhino, it's unbelievable how did they introduced him in the end)and we will see what will happen with them in future movies. All in all, a generic uninspired superhero story, more like a prequel for some future blockbusters. Go see it, you will lose only 140 minutes of your life. And you will gain not much.
Suspenseful, brutal and illogical movie
It's an allegory, of course. The movie, I mean. It was meant to be an example of how the mankind behaves, and truth be told, I think the movie-makers did get some things right, all the plot-holes aside. It is in human nature to make an unjust society which recklessly ignores the biotope in which it lives. The history is full of such examples, whether we see the situation among the people in prison or among the people in most technologically advanced society in the world. The principle is always the same, those who have the power, tend to keep it in their hands, and those without it tend to rebel against such a society, and more often such rebellions fail. Those which succeed, turn into the same thing people rebelled against. The poor are being exploited and sacrifices so that the rich minority can live in luxury. But now for the movie. Where to begin? It has so many plot-holes and many of those have been in detail analyzed by other reviewers. I will only try to point out some bigger problems. First of all, why train? They could have make the entire thing happen in some underground bunker and everything would be much more logical. This train is perpetually running through the frozen rail tracks, to what end? Nobody repairs those tracks, the train is an isolated ecosystem, or so we are told so there is no need to be on the move. The could just stop and nothing would change. Next thing is a question, why the need the people from the last carriage? They don't contribute with anything accept they eat cockroach-energy-bars. Of course, their children are being taken away but all the same, the people in the last carriage are not necessary. Then we have those cockroach-bars, but where in the world have they found all those roaches? They need probably thousands each day. Then we have that garden with couple of trees but it is not enough to sustain the entire drugged, partying population of the rich. The same goes for the aquarium. And the ending! The ending. The train is destroyed and only a teenage girl and a little boy survive the crash, and go outside to face uncertain future. Or, better said, certain death. They have nowhere to go, nothing to eat. They even see a polar bear, who will probably attack and eat them. They are the last two surviving human beings in the world, as far as the viewer knows from the movie. Even if they could procreate (they can't, because the generation gap is too big) it is a too small a number to restart the humanity. So. After decades of train ride, the humanity finally goes bye-bye.
P.S.I gave it four stars, because the movie itself was not boring which is something I can't say for a majority of the movies today.
Crappy indie superhero movie
I always loved noir movies and I thought that this movie will be good indie movie but sadly, it fails on many levels to create suspenseful story. I will not go into detail, but anybody who has seen a film noir knows what to expect: broken heroes, femmes fatale, murder, revenge and so on. It is a mixture between The Watchmen and Phillip Marlowe, with a city with masked vigilantes (but not so many as we expect), people with superpowers, mass murderers. The story itself is really not that bad, but executed poorly with much predictable storytelling and dialogues. Stuff already seen before, and much better. The actors are not exactly miscasted but it is no big surprise when we discover that Jake Busey and Clancy Brown play bad guys. Fist-fighting is so crappy in the movie, they could really have done much better, and the costumes! No comment! All in all, no wonder there aren't many reviews for this movie, not many people have seen it. Looks almost like a direct-to-video stuff. Watch it if you will, you will not feel too cheated for your spent time.
Winter's Tale (2014)
Slow, but boring
I went to see this movie without knowing anything about the story. I presumed it will not be bad because of the cast. Of course, I was wrong. It was boring thing that tried to present a big message on screen, based on a book under the same title, but as I have read later, with many changes. I understand what the filmmaker tried to tell, that Destiny works in a mysterious way and that we can never perceive the whole picture. But it was executed very poorly. We hope that our hero will defeat the forces of Hell (literally, we even have Will Smith as the Devil) and be with his love but that is not his destiny. His destiny is to be thrown from a bridge and sent into the future where he will save little girl who is dying. We also have demonic crime lords, flying horse (who is sometimes a dog, don't ask), angels, Indian legends, and a girl dying from consumption (tuberculosis) who is keeping her temperature low by bathing in cold water and walking barefooted on snow (both things are a very unhealthy thing to do, but whatever). And at the end we have a fistfight between our hero and a demon crime lord who is defeated and turned into snow (I don't know why). This all sounds very confusing but I don't have time or will to explain things into detail, to put it short it was a boring mess. You have been warned!
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Could have been better
It is a solid movie entertainment marred by obvious influence of Jerry Bruckheimer, who was the producer. He could not bring himself to make a movie without action-superhero-sequences. The story itself is well known, so I will not elaborate it in detail, but there are some illogical moments in the movie which spoiled at least for me the viewing. For example when our heroes jump from extreme heights without being hurt. It happen in the beginning when we have John and Tonto on the roof of a derailed train. I wondered how will they save themselves and the solution was appalling, they just waited the train to crash and fling them into the air dozens of meter. They landed without a scratch. Then, near the of the movie we see Tonto jump from a moving train onto another moving train whereby he lands on heap of silver ore, again without being hurt. Another stupid battle was with a soldier firing his Gatling gun. Lone ranger uses his lasso to divert the gun and the poor soldier just keeps on turning the winch of the gun and keeps firing all around, although he could just stop anytime. What happened? Simple enough, bad script writing. All in all, probably a missed chance, but who cares nowadays?
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
I was reluctant to see this reboot of Spiderman because I felt it was too early for that, Sam Raimi made his Spiderman movies 2002-2007. I thought of it as a reboot of a reboot and to be honest I didn't like Raimis movies that much. Only thing I liked there was James Francos Harry Osborn in part 2. This time we have a new Spiderman and I must say this time he is more similar to the Spidey from the comics, I always liked his funny one-liners. As for the casting for Peter Parker I'm not sure if Andrew Garfield was best choice but I don't who could have been better, I can only say that something is missing. As for the villain, he is pretty underwhelming, but that it is understandable because his main opponents from the villain-pantheon have been already been used in the last iterations of the movies. Dr.Connors lizard is too similar to the Abomination from The Hulk reboot with Edward Norton and the fight between him and Spiderman is nothing spectacular, brute force against agility, been there-done that. There are also some illogical things in the movie, for example Gwen Stacy (super-hot Emma Stone) is at the same time in the high-school and in ultra-modern high technology company Oscorp. And people say that American education system is bad. And we also have stupid scene when Peter visits Oscorp for the first time. When Dr.Connors asks the students what is the nature of his research, they don't have a clue, only Peter knows the answer and he read it in the internet!!! I thought that those students love science and know at least something, but alas they have no idea. It is directors way to present Peter as more intelligent. All in all, entertaining but forgettable movie, no more than that.
The Host (2013)
Not awful but...
This movie hints at some interesting sci-fi themes but sadly it does not explore them. In the near future, entire Earth has been conquered by some alien parasites (called the Souls) from outer space. Most of the humanity has been taken over but in some hidden places, there are some unpossesed humans left. This plot reminds of Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and there are some interesting problems here. First of all, it is never explained how the invasion took place and what happened. How did those aliens arrive on Earth and when did the Humanity realize it was under attack, if at all? We see that those aliens are surgically implanted into a host body but probably there is some other way for takeover. Were there wars against the invaders or the entire thing happened silently, which is hard to believe? Nevertheless we never see any traces of armed conflict or resistance, everything is suburban-peaceful. The aliens themselves (or at least,most of them) are reluctant to use violence so I wonder how did they manage to conquer a planet with 6 billion warmongering humans. Apparently, when a human body has been taken over by an alien, the original personality is irrevocably erased, but there are some people whose minds manage to remain in their bodies after the take-over. And that is a main plot for our story, our main character is so strong-willed that she remains in her body after the takeover and tries to find her brother. From this point we have some teenager love triangle, which I will not elaborate in detail but some parts of it are executed rather poorly. The conversation between a human host and alien parasite is strange and funny, but that is not a problem, at least not a major one. At some point in the movie, after we began to like our alien parasite, we see that those cruel humans are kidnapping peace-loving aliens and conduct medical experiments on them in order to find a way to remove the parasites from the host-bodies. But I must say it is unjust to present the remainder of the humanity as cruel after the horrible events of the invasion, which was never shown for exactly that reason. The writer tries to make those aliens sympathetic, but let us consider for a moment what really happened. We have a very serious alien threat which assaults the human soul itself, since after the take-over, the hosts memories die off. Billions of humans, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters have been violated terribly, the though itself makes me shudder in horror. To make a love story after such events is illogical thing indeed. Try to imagine the same thing in The Body Snatchers and you will realize what I mean. As for the cast, Saoirse Ronan is excellent despite the script, and it is always a pleasure to watch William Hurt on screen, he is such a strong actor. As for the rest, they are forgettable. All in all, this story has more potential for horror then for love.