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Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
In a word, beautiful.
A single word isn't enough of course.
I'm a huge fan of the original, I was too young when I first watched it though and remember thinking another word boring. At 12 I suppose you don't want to watch a movie that ponders deep philosophical questions, you just want a good guy, a bad guy and some action. As you get older, naturally, the complicated philosophical questions gain more relevance, black and white blurs into shades of gray...
This is long film but the time flashed past in an instant, no scene was unnecessary, poorly written or badly acted. Some scenes stood above the rest though including a gorgeous 2-on-1 love scene that wasn't actually a 2-on-1 love scene at all, a brilliant conversation with a 'creator of memories' and the long awaited re-introduction of Rick Deckard in a fantastically realised derelict 'future Vegas'.
This is also one of the most visually stunning movies that I've ever seen (Roger Deakins must win an Oscar) the soundtrack is wonderfully minimalist (I only missed Vangelis a little), and the acting is everything that you could ask for.
Why not 10/10 you might ask? I guess that I still prefer the original... but only ever so slightly.
Gone Girl (2014)
Unique and darkly funny
Two movies for the price of one.
That's a fairly glib start to a review of a movie that I really liked, but it is true. The first half of Gone Girl is a fairly standard "did he or didn't he" mystery thriller. Then, about an hour in, the perspective shifts entirely and suddenly you realise that you're watching perhaps the most pitch-black comedy that you've ever seen.
Despite the abrupt shift, I still think that Gone Girl holds together extremely well as one whole movie. Ben Affleck's Nick manages to inspire sympathy without ever being truly likable while Rosamund Pike's Amy (the star of the show in my opinion) is brilliant, terrifying, hilarious and despicable in various combinations and occasionally all at the same time.
David Fincher's direction is both classy and clever (as usual) and several scenes are particularly outstanding due at least as much to his brilliance as that of the actors involved in them. My one complaint would be over the length it really didn't need to be two and a quarter hours long. There were certainly a few moments, particularly in the first half, when I wished that the movie would hurry up and get to the point just a little more quickly.
Gone Girl is a movie unlike any that I've ever seen before and as such largely defies further description. I would recommend this movie to all (with a warning that the adult rating is well earned) but especially those with a dark sense of humour. The darker the better.
The Good Wife: Hitting the Fan (2013)
Smart, dramatic, excellent
Simply put, the most thrilling hour of television I've seen, since season 2 of The West Wing.
The events of this episode have been a long time coming (a very long time) but oh boy was it worth the wait. Fireworks from start to finish, lightening fast dialogue, old and new story lines masterfully interwoven and subtext galore.
Very few successful shows have ever had the audacity to mess with the status quo to such a degree as this. It's exhilarating and unsettling at the same time I'm really not sure who to root for anymore. Can't wait to figure it out though!
Visually excellent though slightly too long
This movie is - without a doubt - one of the most visually spectacular that I have ever seen, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in that department with the likes of Watchmen, Prometheus, Sunshine and Kosinski's preceding effort - TRON: Legacy. Also (like TRON) the soundtrack is excellent and very well used throughout, enhancing the action and adding depth to some - at times - distinctly average acting performances.
Tom Cruise plays Tom Cruise but that's not a bad thing in this case, in fact his natural charisma carries the movie through some of its slower sections. Morgan Freeman plays Morgan Freeman though he's really not on screen for long enough to influence the movie one way or another. Olga Kurylenko's statuesque profile is unfortunately not matched by her acting ability and I often found it difficult to believe in her character's actions and emotions. Andrea Riseborough turns in maybe the best performance, convincing as the sad and confused Victoria, unwilling - or perhaps unable - to confront the disturbing truth.
At over 2 hours I think that it's too long by about 20 minutes. A shorter cut would tighten up the story and eliminate some of the slower sections which I think hurt the movie's overall rhythm and flow.
Overall, I would definitely recommend going to see this movie in the cinema, on the biggest screen that you can find. It just won't be the same on TV. The visual appeal alone is reason enough, but combined with a clever (if not entirely original) script, a thumping soundtrack and some exciting action, you should be entertained.
Film making at it's best
It is a extremely rare thing to see true beauty in movie. When it does occur only a foolish person would fail to delight in the pure joy of the moment. That Wall-E contains several such moments is a testament to the continuing brilliance of Pixar.
The story is a simple one but the execution is breathtaking. It is ironic that the most genuine characters to emerge from a movie in years are in fact computer generated robots. Without saying more than two words to each other WALL-E and EVE convey subject and emotion with a subtlety that only serves to enhance the meaning.
Watch this movie and revel in its majesty.