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Manos sucias (2014)
A great movie
This movie is simply great. Perhaps I am biased, as I conduct research in epidemiology in the same geographic area in which this movie develops. I can attest that this movie is faithful to the complex social dynamics in the Colombian Pacific coast, and does so in a way that does not detract from the tragedy of their misery. "There are no black people in Bogota" is a sentence repeated several times in the movie, and it has a profound meaning: the disparity in development between rural and urban areas is enormous. Buenaventura, where the story begins, processes 70% of the cargo that enters Colombia, but this economic activity leaves very little behind. The lack of jobs, services, security, opportunities is inferred from this movie as the cause for the ordeal of the protagonists, but the movie avoids stereotypes and simplistic political interpretations. Character development is superb. Manos Sucias is a lesson in contemporary history.
The Interview (2014)
North Korea is trying to censor with an army of fake reviews
This movie is a satire that crosses many levels of political and societal issues. It is actually well made, the music is superb, and the humor is scatological and juvenile (but that is expected from the actors and producers, and you know that before you start watching it). This movie is actually much smarter than it seems; the the main character acts stupid, but in the end was correct about everything.
What seems obvious to me is that North Korea, after hiring an army of hackers against Sony has hired an army of "reviewers" to bring down the score of this movie. Do not believe all one-star reviews. This movie is worth watching (not the greatest, but much closer to the top than the bottom) to understand how a small character ruling a starving nation cannot take humor, just as some other idiots could not take Charlie Hebdo.
This movie epitomizes free speech. Not with a flare of an intellectual aura, but instead in a smart way that speaks to those who do not usually follow world affairs.
Mocking Moviegoers - What a Horrible Movie
The screenwriter team for this movie was obviously under pressure to extend beyond reason the simplistic narrative of this movie. The result: over two hours of acting without substance. I cannot complain about the actors, for they did what they were paid to do, but COME ON, did it have to be so melodramatic and empty? Emotions are simply not credible, and only inspire scorn.
I want my money back. I want my time back. What a waste of effort to extend this film beyond one installment. Had they compacted the movie in 1 hour, then probably all the bad cinematography would have been eliminated.
Sure producers will make a profit at the expense of unsuspected viewers and several (perhaps demolishing) hits on actors careers. I will NOT view the last installment. I refuse to give my money away for nothing.
The saddest part is that this movie could have been great. The acting talent was there. Technical resources were available. But he most inexpensive part of the production was neglected beyond belief: storytelling. The screenwriters in this movie are not idiots. It is obvious that artificial constraints were placed to extend the story to two parts.
SAVE YOUR TIME, SAVE YOUR MONEY, DO NOT WATCH THIS BAD, BAD MOVIE.
Excellent Sci-Fi Movie
This movie truly is a masterpiece of science fiction, that is, it fictionalizes what happens if the limits of science are expanded. And it does that at a carefully measured pace. I was surprised that many "critics" (i.e. parasites of opinion that compete for the meanest words to retain readers) point quickly to the inaccuracy of the science behind Lucy, but they do not care to point to the physical impossibility of let say Captain America.
This is not your average Marvel movie... it is much better. There is the sexy girl, the exciting action scenes, and some profound questions without trying to give mystical answers. You can just sit down, relax, and enjoy an action sci-fi flick that is outside the predictable and formulaic Hollywood bunch (some of which I also enjoy greatly). This movie is a refreshing view on an old topic. There are many cultural references in this movie (to movies, arts, science, the crown of french archaeological findings, etc.) that you might miss if you do not pay enough attention; even if you do, you need to have vast knowledge to pick them all up. I am sure I missed many. For example, there is an elegant reference to Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam", and another clever fundamental scene with Lucy drinking water happens in what looks like Gorges de l'Ardèche, where the Cahuvet Cave guards the oldest human paintings. Pay attention to the statue destroyed at the University. Perhaps many references are unintentional, and simply reflect the spirit of our time. In any case, Lucy takes you on a ride that will last long after the lights are back on. LUCY IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Dark of the Movies: What a waste of time and money (mine, of course)
There is no redemption for this movie. It is by far the worse in the series. LaBeouf gives a solid performance and that is about all the movie has to offer. Huntington-Whiteley is beyond plain... a cup of coffee is more expressive than she is. All others are very, very forgettable. This is bad movie because even though there are great special effects, the story sucks big time... too many loose ends, too many undeveloped characters, too many inconsistencies. This is an action movie, and as such we do not expect great psychological complexity; HOWEVER, movie goers are not THAT stupid (learn from e.g. X-men First Class). It feels like the marketing team put too many demands on the story (appeal to this group... and this other... and this other...), and the plot dissolved in thin air. Now all good guys (I mean machines) have thick very identifiable thick accents. I could not tell you how did it all end, because I left by one hour and 50 minutes into the movie. Give my my $10 back! The worst is that time is the most valuable asset a person possesses, for once gone it never can be recovered... I wasted nearly two hours of my life.
Normally I review very good or really, really bad movies. This falls in the good category. We have to admit that making an original movie is specially difficult; there are too many common places, and while this movie visits quite a few of them, it introduces twists and surprises that takes you unprepared.
The initial scene only makes sense once you have watched the last one, bringing the whole tale full-circle. The high-pitch music delivered with the initial title and then repetition with the closing title have devastating effects on your nerves. The depth of the title becomes more and more apparent as the final credits roll. Slowly you start thinking "that was an insidious b...". The execution of this film is superb.
This is not to say that the movie is without flaws. There are several lost opportunities, and towards the end some of the carefully crafted eeriness dissolves... but only for a moment. This movie is a great piece that honors a crowded genre.
What a weak plot!
WHAT A WEAK PLOT!!!! Too much hype for this movie. Yes, it has impressive special effects... and that is about it. The protagonist has a problem with authority (always an asset in teenager movies), is saved by the princess of the "others", becomes accepted into the "others", and in less than three months does everything better than the natives AND the PhDs who spent decades training. The essence of the anecdote, of course, is that this punk kisses the girl, saves the planet, and becomes king. WT#. W.T.#.! After spending tens of millions in special effect, Cameron could have spent just a few thousand in a decent screenplay; or, for that matter, he could have gotten a better one for free. About the world, this movie simply adds an extra pair of something to all animals: horses with six legs, birds with four wings, beasts with four eyes; makes you wonder about the love scene. Watching this movies is unavoidable if you are into sci-fi, or just an avid moviegoer. However, while Avatar provides visual entertainment, it is clearly the weakest and sloppiest screenplay in all Cameron's movies; the end result is a disappointing experience. You have been warned: watch it enjoy the visual feast, but PLEASE, do not come out saying this is the best movie ever.
The Burrowers (2008)
Do yourself a favor: do not miss this one
It is difficult to come up with new ideas for a horror movie. Perhaps that is why this movie feels like it has elements of many other well-known movies. Regardless of that fact, this movie is a great piece. The plot develops naturally. Characters are well defined. There is no happy ending, but instead an almost poetic one.
This is the story of the tough people who made a country, good and bad, and the people they displaced, good and bad as well. Some comments about this movie try to use this forum as a platform for political propaganda (i.e. calling the representation of well documented army history "liberal crap")... do not be fooled. This movie is about story telling, not about political agendas, neither liberal nor conservative.
The movie does not show as a low-budget production. Photography is very good, sound is excellent, acting is convincing, the screenplay is engaging... this director is a talented person.
Do yourself a favor: do not miss this one.
Land of the Lost (2009)
Very, very, very few times have I feel compelled to write a film review. PLEASE DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE... the director might feel encouraged to punish us again. What an idiotic movie!!! So childish... no, wait, I would not tell these jokes to a child without fear of being send to jail for child molestation. It is not a film for kids. It is not a film for adults. It is not a film for teens either, since those in the theater were complaining how lame this was. One has to worry when a dozen people has left the theater half way through.
CGI was merely adequate; that was the only acceptable component. If you watched the preview, you already got all the entertainment this movie has to offer. The acting was in the low end of average. The plot was simply and plainly poor. It just does not engage the audience. If this was a comedy, why wasn't people laughing? Granted, this movie will be profitable. But for pure circumstantial reasons. In the small city in which I live, this was one of only two new releases of the week. That is it. How is it possible that Hollywood imposes on us such a low-quality product?