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|143 reviews in total|
I am baffled by the incredibly bad reception the newest incarnation of
Fantastic Four has been getting! The old ones were watchable but the
heavy dose of forced childish humor and lack of a compelling story made
them forgettable at best. With Josh Trank taking over the baton and
this ensemble of talented young actors united, my curiosity had
certainly spiked. "Joyless", "tedious" and "dull" have been used by
many to describe the new Fantastic Four and I guess I just watched a
completely different movie because I don't agree at all. First, let me
start with what I liked the most here: the horror feel. Trank is a big
David Cronenberg fan and the fact he made the transformations have a
tragic toll as well as a horror vibe at times made them so much more
relatable. The aesthetics of each character were also a lot more
realistic and cooler than in the previous incarnations. Victor von
Doom's descent into madness and the way he is consumed by power was
truly relentless and menacing, being a formidable antagonist here. As
far as the prevalent dark tone, I gotta say there are also some
terrific comedic scenes sparsely distributed throughout the film so it
had a great pacing for me. Overall, Fantastic Four was even better than
expected and actually one of the best comic book based films I've seen
in recent years.
What an astonishing first feature film from Dan Gilroy! He managed to
create one of the most mesmerizing characters ever put on film. Lou
Bloom is a sadistic, persistent and ingenious individual who will do
anything to achieve his great ambitions. Jake Gyllenhaal expertly
encapsulates all those characteristics with a truly masterful
performance and quite possibly his finest. Whenever he confronts
someone, you always get intimidated by his imposing presence and have
an unsettling feeling that something is not quite right with this
fellow. The way Bloom gradually builds more confidence and learns all
the nuances of his work is incredibly engaging to watch. Gilroy's
direction is pretty much flawless and it seems like he's been making
movies for ages now. Not only he has a knack for action as seen in the
thrilling car chase sequences, but his writing is just top-notch. The
dialogue is sharp and Gilroy gets the best efforts from the cast by
letting crucial moments linger on to leave a strong impact on the
audience. I was captivated by the constant moral dilemmas that the
characters have to face, making it also a thought-provoking piece of
work. Nightcrawler is an outstanding debut by Dan Gilroy and has the
performance of a lifetime from Jake Gyllenhaal, being one of the year's
Highs: It's tough to think of many films that can match the frenetic
energy and sheer awesomeness presented in Why Don't You Play in Hell.
This is a very passionate piece of work from director Sion Sono and one
that is made for film lovers. It's also one of the craziest movies I've
seen, filled with plenty of bloody stylized violence and twisted humor.
The premise might seem ridiculous but the story is packed with heart
and originality, making it a very captivating watch.
Lows: I mostly enjoyed the fast cuts and weird scene juxtapositions, but I felt there could have been more smooth editing too at times. The pacing is a bit uneven and while the final sequences are thrilling, they can get quite absurd.
Verdict: Now I realize why director Sion Sono is praised by so many. When it's all over, you just can't help but feel a strong urge to make a film! His unique directing style is vibrant and I can hardly wait to watch Love Exposure as it seems to be another bold, wickedly fun, epic and absorbing film.
Highs: Tusk is an eccentric blend of horror and comedy, having its fair
share of incredibly disturbing moments that stick with you long after
seeing the film. The first half has a very suspenseful build up and
sometimes the dialogue is so over the top, you can't help but laugh at
the excess. There's one hilarious movie reference cleverly inserted
here that I'm sure everyone will love. Michael Parks is quite memorable
in this role.
Lows: The big celebrity cameo who actually has a significant amount of screen time didn't work for me at all. His cartoonish appearance seemed forced and kind of took me out of the film. I thought that after we are finally confronted with the most shocking scene of the movie, everything falls apart, becoming a pure cheese fest. Throwing some dramatic moments into the mix could have given it more depth, but Smith frequently transitions from macabre comedy to heavy drama too abruptly.
Verdict: I admire Kevin Smith's audacity as he still keeps presenting us with fresh and intriguing ideas. Even though I had a couple of problems with Tusk, it's undeniably unique and creepy, being a nice return from the director.
Christopher Nolan excels again with a truly challenging, emotional and visually stunning piece of work. Interstellar is by far his most ambitious film and a fascinating journey through time and space. It's not only a film about exploring the unknown, but it also shows our unrelenting will to survive in the face of extinction. I was often completely enthralled by the mystery, visual splendor and really strong performances from its talented cast. Interstellar is packed with touching moments and everyone gives their best efforts here in order to make them feel quite endearing and genuine. In addition, there are many intriguing surprises along the way and some really thrilling situations that will leave you in a state of awe. The only aspects of the film that prevented me from giving it a full rating are the ending and score. While I appreciate how everything tied together by the end, I would have preferred to see something more audacious and ambiguous for this type of movie. Hans Zimmer is a very talented composer and his work here is quite inspiring, but the score seemed a bit repetitive as well as unpolished at times. Interstellar is one of the most astonishing sci-fi films I've seen, being a very unique experience and a total feast for the senses.
Revenge is a dish best served cold indeed! Wild Tales has one of the
most electrifying openings I've seen and is a very funny, clever,
brutal and thrilling film. Director/Writer Damián Szifrón puts together
six different stories that all have revenge as their common theme.
While some might be more engaging then others, they all have a lot of
dark humor and take unpredictable turns. Wild Tales would certainly
make Quentin Tarantino proud with its excellent blend of stylized
violence and sharp comedy. This is undoubtedly the most fun I had
watching a movie this year and I cannot recommend it highly enough!
A deliciously dark comedy drama that deals with manhood, primitive instincts and family values. Director/Writer Ruben Östlund presents impeccable comedic timing here, providing lots of clever dialogues and hilarious moments which can be quite unpredictable at times. Many situations seem to linger on and while that could hurt the pace of the film, it's certainly not the case here. Östlund often manages to make the exchange in-between the characters very engaging to watch. A couple of scenes felt out of place for me, but Force Majeure was a pleasant surprise and another great addition to the crop of Swedish films I have seen.
In the same vein of Stray Dogs and A Separation, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep is a slow burner thought-provoking study of the human nature, fully exploring every single character's flaws, regrets and aspirations. I liked that in each piece of conversation, we really get to learn more about them and their conflicts. While there are plenty of interesting reflections on moral values, I felt some of these discussions were quite long at times, making them exhausting to watch. Still, Winter Sleep is a fascinating work that not only contains beautiful landscapes of the Anatolian Steppes, it also has some incredibly rich character development where we can all identify with these people's actions and arguments to some extent.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Leviathan is a fascinating tale of corruption and betrayal, relying on some intriguing visual allegories and symbolisms as a way to propel the story. I was surprised by the great amount of witty humor in the first portion of the film, which proved to be very entertaining, also serving as a display of helplessness towards the abuse of power and corruption that surround the town. Then, we follow the destructive paths some of the characters end up taking and the film becomes truly somber. The performances are all top notch and we are rewarded with some of the most breathtaking cinematography ever shown on screen. Director Andrey Zvyagintsev's geniality consists in leaving it up to the viewer to decide what to make of the fate of these people, ending the picture with a very clever and tragically ironic turn of events. Leviathan is one of the year's finest films and an absolute must-see!
The 38th São Paulo International Film Festival has finally arrived and what a better way to start than with Foxcatcher, one of my most anticipated films this year! I was looking forward to seeing the talented cast in such dramatic roles as they usually appear in more lighthearted movies and the story seemed quite riveting as well as disturbing. Director Bennett Miller once again captures some great performances, maintaining a bleak tone throughout the whole film. I feel the heavy makeup and prosthetics on Steve Carell somehow limited his expressions, but it was still a subtle and chilling portrayal of this deeply troubled man on his quest for glory. Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo give their best efforts and seeing how their relationship changes back and forth was quite powerful. Unfortunately, I couldn't get emotionally invested in the story as much as I had hoped. I thought that the drastic shift in the dynamics between John du Pont and Mark Schultz was rushed and poorly developed. Also, I just couldn't feel the tension building up to the tragic finale, which was a bit underwhelming for me. With all that being said, Foxcatcher is a competently made drama, having solid performances and it's certainly worth watching.
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