Reviews written by registered user

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74 reviews in total 
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Sons (2006)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Chasing Justice, Hiding Secrets, 15 April 2012

Sønner presents us a profound controversy of doing what is right and hiding what is wrong. Starting at a subtle tone the movie establishes the theme and the story by introducing the mid-aged man who has been having sexual relationships with teenage boys in the neighborhood. Lars, a 25-year-old who works at a swimming pool as a lifeguard, has the intention of bringing this man to justice.

As the secret unfolds, which I won't spoil here, the twist inserts a different layer into the film, unraveling a more personal story. Often in movies do the characters find themselves reluctantly between seeking justice and maintaining a secret. The conflict arises when only one can be done.

Actors have given outstanding performances as the plot nears its climax. Overall, the performances are beautiful and realistic.

It's all about what to believe and whether you are afraid, and thus, what to choose. The fear of exposing a secret is well depicted, and the actions that follow are reasonably organized in a way the film can truly be viewed as a real-life experience. That adds to both to the storytelling and the sentimental values of Sønner.

In another viewpoint, the movie is also about hesitation, and letting go of and accept the past. It is also about revenge and anger, which give the film an emotional angle that attracts the audience.

Sønner is a beautifully directed and acted movie. Its captivation lies in its realistic portrayal, and also in its organization and message. The theme is undoubtedly dark but it is still a gem to enjoy.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Inspiring Story about Racism, 14 April 2012

There is no need to remind you of the dark nature of this story. It's intense and violent throughout; the profanity is perpetually spread. But for those who admire the film, they admire in another angle. This is an interesting film that makes me reflect and inspires the way we think about this society.

American History X is a story depicting a profound relationship between two brothers, and the family as a whole. It is a story about racism, a story of bravery and redemption. It shows the truth: sometimes it takes experiences to see the light, and sometimes it takes time and strength to overcome your past and mistakes. But it is also cruel in a sense, though it is the ultimate truth: even if you try so hard, your mistakes can still haunt you and the ones around you.

Edward Norton shines like a diamond for his performance as the big brother with a dark past who strives to prevent his little brother from walking down the same path. Frankly it's easily one of the most outstanding performances I've ever seen in movies.

This film has depth which one must explore and experience by himself. For those who can stand the intensity of the movie, it is definitely a gem to catch and remember.

Project X (2012)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
"Teenage Hangover" Isn't As Hilarious and Successful, 16 March 2012

Movies like this, there is probably not much acting or storytelling to be taken into account when rating. You just enjoy it, or you don't. In terms of commercial success or entertainment, this does seem to only earn a place far under the "Hangover" series.

While the theme and genre remain highly comparable to the "Hangovers", the location does not. Basically, a party gone out of control in a house wraps up the entire movie. So considering that it all takes place in a house in the suburbs, it is pretty crazy already. The gradual progression from a plain fun party to complete chaos either draws your attention and appeals to you, or it does not.

"Project X" adopts a camera-style filming. In other words, you see through the cameraman's eyes. In a way, the somewhat "Chronicle-style" display does enhance the excitement through consolidating a reality. This technique, nevertheless, still fails to interest a certain group of the audience with regular complaints regarding "undirected" cinematography.

Despite the insanity that unfolds, the background stays simple: Three high-school kids organize a party for one of the kids on his birthday. It is the usual emotional transition from fear and doubt to the "what the hell, let's have fun" thought. The "love interest" aspect was handled casually and does not interact much with the rest of the movie. It probably serves its purpose by bringing closure to this wild-party movie.

It is understandable teenagers may be interested in a movie like this. (I am a teenager myself.) This is probably the most ridiculously out-of-control party that most can never experience. While it proves to be great cinematic experience for some with its decent box-office performance, "Project X" slightly disappoints as an addiction the genre of comedy due to its lack of attractiveness and genuinely entertaining and engaging moments.

ATM (2012/I)
43 out of 60 people found the following review useful:
Serial Killer and the ATM, 13 March 2012

So this is a horror or thriller. It is a wise choice for this movie to go without a wide cinema release. It does not really have the horror element and it can only be said to be mildly thrilling.

The title says it all. It's about three people trapped in a remote ATM and encounter a killer. I don't know if it's just me, but the first 30 minutes when I noticed the constant popping up of the CCTV footage and our title character performing aggressively, I made attempts to guess the ending, and I was right. I'm not going to spoil it here, but I promise it is not going to be a twist or stunt that blows you away. And in movies like this, it is often frustrating to watch when you know what is going to happen anyway.

While the plot does not have serious errors, the story is an overall unsatisfactory work. The acting is not top-class but okay, but the plot development and the ending are not pleasant from where I stand.

I've seen worse thrillers, but still I do not recommend this. There are better choices.

9 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
So Not-Avatar: Average Disney Feature, 8 March 2012

Just returned from a special screening and if not for the free tickets I would probably never have watched this. Now that I've sat through the entire movie (though I had the intention to leave near the end), I've confirmed my judgment.

By no means can I call this a failure of Disney, partly on account of Disney's nature and partly because there aren't really obvious errors to speak of. "John Carter" presents itself as a feel-good movie, and somewhat it is, but everything is just not enough.

Having sat through the first 30 minutes or so, the six-lettered word "Avatar" already surfaced, and I knew then that it was going to be hard to sit till the end. I couldn't help having a sense that the movie is trying to be the new "Avatar" (perhaps it's just me), a fact which I instantly realized was impossible, when I thought of the two names Disney and James Cameron, and made a little comparison (that didn't take long).

"Avatar" isn't my favorite kind of movie, but a part of me was truly stunned, at least by the visuals. I can't say the same for this Disney fantasy on Pandora (oh wait I forgot it's Mars). I have never been much of a critique of predictability, but I have to admit "John Carter" gives us an average fairy-tale-like childhood story of a prince and a princess. The short and apparently planned mention of humanity and wars is not about to save the sorrow of the script. I found it hard to sit through two whole hours, slight because of, I've got to admit, the fact that I knew what would happen, but more because I really dislike this kind of prince-saves-princess-and-marries-her story with seemingly effortless thinking. It is definitely not a story that loses the elements of organization and structure, but it is one that is all too familiar and certainly will not interest a wide array of viewers.

And the visual effects, they are good, but not good enough. A dull desert setting with little beauty to witness really, and visually this is nothing compared to other fantasy movies like "Avatar" and "Harry Potter". Cinematography is far behind the standard in works like "War Horse". But I did survive through the IMAX 3D version of the movie, and I promise it doesn't lack action scenes. So if it's the intense fighting and chasing scenes you're looking for, you can still go for it.

The pace of the movie seems moderate and reasonable, while the ending undoubtedly falls flat.

If it's a fairytale and some action you're looking for, this is still an acceptable choice. But there really isn't much more to offer. And while I'm still wondering what the US box office of this will be (expect a sequel if it performs well), I'm praying that the next big thing from Disney will be better than this.

Good Deeds (2012)
5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Decent, or at least Mediocre Romance about a Troubled Rich Man, 8 March 2012

While this Tyler Perry work is negatively user-rated widely and apparently under-performing at the box office, it is in fact a decent love story about a rich businessman, Tyler Perry, who has never been chasing his dreams his entire life. That is, indeed, up to the point Thandie Newton, the female lead who has difficulty earning a living and raising her daughter without any support, enters his life.

The slow-paced setup of the first half tends to give viewers a certain degree of boredom and negative aspect of the movie. Despite the seemingly planned organization of the plot, the complete story is glued together by separate events that somewhat relate, but never really cohere tightly, which costs an interesting story the loss of a natural flow. Though it's not at all fatal, the length of the movie with incoherent sections does seem to add to the disadvantage of storytelling. In other words, the first half and second half are at the fault of imbalance and the development is jumpy at times, especially in the second half.

It is a movie that is more romance than drama and comedy, though it does have its share of laughable moments. Such are nothing too intense but it does help the over-seriousness of the setting. The focus is placed mostly over Perry and Newton, which undoubtedly leads to the impression that other relationships are simply being mentioned and neglected with a somewhat abrupt closing.

Many actions are not explained; they are just shown to be "good deeds". When the movie begins, it feels like an in-depth story about Newton and her life which is nothing but bad. As the story develops, we are shown a relationship that quickly evolves. The abrupt closure is not well-tackled. Indeed, we are back to the problem of imbalance. Viewers enjoy a start with over-explained and over-described matters which inevitably make people tedious, while in the end, it is too quick and make people feel that there is not enough explaining done, which leaves them disappointed.

In a crowd of satisfactory performances, Newton easily stands out with her scenes when she is with her daughter, played by Jordenn Thompson. Those moments are the only that give this flat romance and drama some sentimental value. Writing and directly the movie himself, Tyler Perry manages to offer an okay performance as the title character. Brian White has done a fine job playing the "loser" brother of Perry.

It is a script with certain imbalance and some organizational issues. Nevertheless, as a light romance story about a man's desire to chase his dreams, it is a movie that delivers sufficiency, and warmth occasionally. It is not a movie that shines, but it remains a simple and interesting story with an attempt to tell a message.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Dark Coming-of-age and Crime Story, 5 March 2012

The Chumscrubber seems like another love-or-hate flick. Luckily, I am the one of the fans of this certain style, and I enjoyed every moment of it. If you happen to appreciate this, it is the no doubt that the distinctive way that appeals to you and touches you in a way that does not really work the other type of audience.

For me, I think a great job is done by making what originally should be a serious drama about drugs and crimes less serious, noticeably by adding a dark comedic sense to the storyline. Though hilarious at times, the movie still deals with a very serious issue which exceeds the limits of any typical coming-of-age films. In fact, it is more proper to call this a coming-of-age story within a crime story.

It is surprising to see this seemingly little movie has such famous cast members. Nevertheless, there is no need to worry and whine about wasted talents. Glenn Close, Ralph Fiennes and Jamie Bell, they all deliver excitingly captivating performances and the overall cast is a great ensemble that easily grasps attention from the viewers.

11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Interesting Detective Story; Message Delivery Not So Proper, 3 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While the movie is negatively affected by somewhat odd and untimely flashbacks, the entire structure of storytelling does seem intact and the story turns out to be an interestingly engaging detective-kind of plot. Here's the deal. A teenage girl hangs herself to death and her mother begins unraveling the reason behind her death. It is the same old never-giving-up attitude, despite the fact that it seems reasonable and somewhat believable in the realistic sense. So like any typical detective movies, the investigator is determined to find the truth, only this time the one carrying out the investigation is a mother of a deceased child who she believes is bullied to death. As a ordinary detective story goes, more clues are found as the big picture starts to surface. The story is not bad, but definitely we do not get to see very good editing and organization. The ending perhaps is the part leading to a lot of discussion and questioning. Is this part necessary, or is it too clich for the viewers' taste? Both are possibilities depending on who you are and what you are expecting. What we get overall is a good detective story that is extremely personal. The most disappointing thing has to be the ending, which seems like a weird and constructed for one and one purpose only, for the message delivery. While I am not judging whether such a way of reinforcing a message is the proper way, it would certainly be much more favorable to spread the message throughout the entire movie, instead of making a scene for achieving that effect, which does not seem like a very smart choice. 6/10

Mr. Nobody (2009)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The Most Beautiful Mystery Movie To Date, 2 March 2012

In "Mr. Nobody", an old man who nears death is looking backwards and remembering the missing fragments of his life. The mystery begins to form as contradictions occur in his memories.

I should not say much about the movie in order not to spoil it. I can only say it is a masterpiece combining the best features of storytelling. It is a magical mix of sci-fi, mystery and romance, and do not worry about the ambiguity. As the film ends, you will understand everything. If not, watch it a second time like I did. The extended version seems more enjoyable as it explains some unexplained things in the standard version.

Even a masterful thriller and mystery movie ends with a nice twist, but this movie does more than that. It is moving and full of messages that inspire. It is about our choices in life.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Even After 40 Years, It Still Connects To Film-making And Our Society, 25 February 2012

I had delayed watching this film solely because I did not really enjoy 2001: A Space Odyssey that much as most film critics do. I have to admit I was a bit afraid of watching Kubrick's films after that. "A Clockwork Orange", however, has showed me something I never thought possible -- the ultimate artistic form of a courageous visionary and a mix of messages concerning our society.

What starts out as a portrait of a few British teenagers' gang life in a near future has evolved into much, much more. The true beauty of this artwork begins to surface as the "treatment" of "curing" a person is introduced, and our title character, Alex, volunteers for such an experiment without second thoughts. The real question is perhaps: How do we cure a corrupted mind? Or is there something out there we call a corrupted mind? If such a mind exists, and is born, given inherently in such a way, is changing it a moral choice? Morality. Perhaps that is another social commentary that has made the film so great and definitely a classic to be remembered. What about crimes, psychology, sociology, or even politics? One may think that such complex systems and thoughts cannot possibly be expressed in merely hours, but this masterpiece proves this way of thinking wrong. Putting together an intriguing story and a huge amount of hidden messages, this is a movie that interests as well as inspires. It inspires its viewers to look further into our society.

As thought-provoking as it is, you may think that it does not matter. After all, you may complain about its relevance to our post-modern world, since it has been 41 years. Nevertheless, that is not the case. It is the first time I watch this, and I am already able to relate a lot of the contents and meanings to the society we are living in right now. It is undoubtedly a controversial work, for both its purpose and probably more so for its explicit scenes. Remember it was made back in 1971, though I think it will still be a powerful film were it made this year. It is the kind of film with deep and inspirational intrinsic values that time cannot melt away.

Different people may love this Kubrick work for different reasons. To me, this is my favorite Kubrick films up to date (I have not watched all his films). Perhaps it is the interesting and unique plot that draws you in, or perhaps it is the controversial or the slight touch of anti-cultural excitement that keeps you excited. Either way, in terms of story, what we are given is linear-storytelling at its best. It is solid, proper-paced and it captures the right emotions. When it comes to the message, most likely it will end up with different interpretations. No matter what you think, after watching this, you will feel like you have a lot to express in your mind. You suddenly think a lot of things that are inside your mind are touched, and there is also an inflow of new ideas of this world we are living in, and of course, human nature.

I do not usually write many and long paragraphs in reviews, because often you do not have to say much about a film for people to actually get it. "A Clockwork Orange" is an exception. On one hand, try as I may, I do not think I can describe such a masterpiece in one or two short paragraphs. On a more personal level, it is truly a movie that makes one think about the things around us.

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