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Never Blew Me Away,
Arrival is a decent movie with a reasonably well developed plot and a talented cast. It certainly shines in terms of its elements of Science Fiction, the special effects, sound design and cinematography are breathtaking, truly deserving of its Academy Award nominations and win in those categories. These elements come together to create truly engrossing spectacles of cinema.
However, it failed to really engage me in to its story, trying to combine so many Sci-Fi elements while also remain grounded in reality. I never became certain of what this film was trying it be or what it wanted me to feel.
The character development is also poor. While Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner certainly deliver top notch performances, because of the muted vibe this movie was going for, I was never given a reason to care about them, to want them to succeed or get together. We learn very little about them, trying to intrigue its audience, I merely become uninvolved with them and stopped caring about the story all together.
Tries to shock, but instead tires. Controversial opinion, you may love Arrival, as many do, but I found it to be a slow moving and tedious mess, I could not possibly recommend it.
A linguistics professor must work to unlock an alien language they discover what brought them to our planet.
Fails at being Compelling and Tonally All over the Place,
Youth is a poor film with a lousy plot and a terrific cast that deserved far better than this script. The cast is the only thing it really has going for itself if I am being honest, Michael Caine shines, as always in the lead role, he has a great back and forth with Harvey Keitel and Rachel Weisz, making their poor dialogue a lot more bearable.
It tries so hard to make us feel something. There are a lot of scenes that are meant to be hard hitting, dialogue that is supposed to be brutally honest, but it never gives us a real reason to feel for these characters or care for their heartache. They are all unlikeable and I felt no need to want to see them succeed.
As well as that, it is tonally all over the place, it jumps from intense drama to gross out comedy, it can never make up its mind on what it wants to be. The film has both an emotional monologue from Caine in which he talks about his love for his daughter and a scene where two old men watch a naked woman slowly enter a hot tub, it also has singer Paloma Faith playing herself in it.
All around, pure ridiculous. Ineffective in every way, Youth was not for me and I could not possibly recommend it.
A retired composer and his filmmaking friend reflect on their lives and the prospects of aging.
Best Performance: Michael Caine / Worst Performance: Paloma Faith
A Dazzling Spectacle, but I Expected more from Nolan,
Dunkirk is a great movie with a well developed plot and an incredible ensemble cast. The film beautifully portrays the struggles of a war in a way that will keep you at the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Taking place in real time, not cutting to different time periods or days, you can really feel the chaos as we jump across to various characters, all experiencing the catastrophe of these events.
I will admit that I was expecting more from this movie as a result of Christopher Nolan. It simply did not captivate me as much as his previous work, which I have given a nine and ten ratings to. My main issue was the lack of a main character, the formula of jumping across different people was interesting, but we are only getting glimpses of each person's experience, none of them are fully developed. I think it would have worked to the screenplays advantage to have had one character who is given a complete scope that we can walk away satisfied with, leaving it more acceptable for us to only catch certain heartache from others.
The cast is absolutely phenomenal, which is no surprise for a Nolan film. Each and every cast member fits in to their respective roles effortlessly, with the likes of Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy being part of an ensemble crew that bring this whole story together nicely, there is not a single lackluster story here as a result.
Filled with pure entertaining intensity. Action packed and well acted, Dunkirk is Nolan's weakest film to date, in my eyes, but this groundbreaking director still delivers stunning work that I would recommend to anyone looking for a good drama or war movie.
The announcement of World War II causes great heartache for a group of soldiers, as well as civilians, in a quiet village called Dunkirk.
Best Performance: Fionn Whitehead
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
As Far as Horrors go, it is Above Average,
Annabelle: Creation is a mediocre movie with a reasonably well developed plot and an average cast. Horror movies are not my preferred genre, they were once great, but nowadays they are made simply to make money, with the same boring, predictable jump scares thrown in throughout, it is a tired franchise that rarely does anything new. However, I have to hand it to Creation, it was certainly unpredictable, you could not tell what was coming next and it genuinely startled me on several occasions, it knew what we were expecting as an audience and played with that in a very clever way.
On the other hand, it does still have some typical horror traits that make me, as a critical moviegoer, irritable, there are far too many plot holes throughout, as well as many questionable behaviour from characters that are unlike them to do from what we learn about them at the beginning, that is never explained. The usual head scratches are raised, such as why they would stay in the house after all that has happened and their lack of sense in not phoning the authorities, it gets so convoluted towards the end that you really need to switch off your brain in order to enjoy yourself.
The origin story itself is poor. I have not seen the first Annabelle, but I would imagine that the majority of people who were interested in seeing this movie wanted to know the origins of the doll, but what we learn about it is actually quite brief, it should have been developed further and contained some sort of unexpected twist to entice us.
Fun while it lasts, but very forgettable. It is far better than most of the horror films being made these days, but Annabelle: Creation has far too many imperfections for me to recommend, unless you want nothing more than to be scared.
A nun and a group of orphans are taking in to a family home for a week, which they soon discover is haunted by a demonic doll.
Best Performance: Anthony LaPaglia / Worst Performance: Lulu Wilson
The Spectacular Now (2013)
A Well Performed, Subtle Drama,
The Spectacular Now is a great movie with a very well developed plot and a talented cast. It is a very nice, subtle drama that follows a recently graduated young man named Sutter. The characters lifestyle and free loathing personality is conveyed really well, which goes on to showcase tonal changes well as he gets involved with Aimee, a shy, self cautious girl who has experienced far less than him. Watching this imperfect relationship blossom is beautiful, there interactions are relatable and human.
I did find that there was a massive lack of character development for anyone other than Sutter and Aimee. I completely understand that they are the main characters, so of course they would be given the most scope, but everyone else is quite two dimensional and their scenes only serve as plot development.
Miles Teller and Shallene Woodley both deliver tremendous performances. Both characters change from being with each other, as any couple would, as we see the slow alterations of their personality as the plot progresses very well thanks to two young performers who manage to make their work appear effortless.
Slow moving drama that is a pleasure from beginning to end. A stellar script and a cast that do it justice, I would recommend The Spectacular Now to anyone looking for a good drama.
Sutter, a popular party boy, meets introvert Aimee, and a romance soon blossoms between them.
Best Performance: Miles Teller
The Simpsons: A Father's Watch (2017)
A Sweet Episode about Acceptance,
A Father's Watch is a terrific Simpsons episode with a very well written plot and plenty of very funny scenes. It is really sweet, albeit also a little heartbreaking, as we follow Bart realising how much his parents acceptance means to him, which goes deeper as we see Homer feeling the same mutual sadness towards Grandpa. It is an honest, relatable episode as we all want our parents to accept us for our individuality, cause if the people who raised us do not, then we do feel a little incapable of captivating others.
I did feel like the Lisa and Marge subplot got a little bit convoluted. While it did serve as a nice break away from the far more serious main plot, after a while it became ludicrous to see just how far Lisa was getting by in belittling parents.
The episode does a very impressive job of balancing three separate stories, each one has a beginning, middle and end, with none of the three merely feeling like filler. It all comes together nicely, with a sweet moment between Bart and Homer at the end.
One of this seasons highlights. Sweet and funny, A Father's Watch is a stellar Simpsons.
Marge's concern force her to go to a parenting expert, while Grampa gives Bart a gift that Homer would love to get his hands on.
The Reader (2008)
Despite Stellar Performances, it Lacks Character Development and Compassion,
The Reader is a decent movie with an average plot and a stellar cast. I certainly had no issues with the actors, as a matter of fact, I could not help but sometimes feel that they were too good for this movie, as the amount of raw emotion Kate Winslet puts in to this Oscar winning performances is stunning for a film that gives her so little to work with. It is also a pleasure, as always, to watch Ralph Fiennes perform.
The characters are all unlikeable, none of them really having any likability to them, they do not have definable traits. Michael Berg is the main character that guides this story, but there is not a single thing about this two dimensional being. He is established at the beginning as a man who had an affair, and there is not much scope put in to him beyond that, making it almost impossible to evoke any sort of compassion for his character, and even Hanna never truly grabbed me.
The film also paints the Holocaust in a very strange light. While it is not idolising it in any way, it does not create an image of how horrendous these events were either. The director seemed to try his best to shed some light on these events, which just makes it unsettling, as we all know there is no positive outcome.
Well acted, but nothing more. Poor characters and a disengaging story, I expected so much more from the Reader and was inevitably let down, I would advise giving it a miss.
A man reminisces on his affair with a woman who has a much darker secret.
Best Performance: Kate Winslet
Fans of the Book Series will be Very Pleased,
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is a terrific film with a very well written plot and a stellar voice cast. I grew up reading these books as a child and was always excited about the prospects of a film, albeit a tricky source material. Despite it being years later since I had any interest in the books, I was able to jump right back in to this universe, it was truly a nostalgic delight, taking me back to my childhood and reminding me of lots of aspects of the series I completely forgot about. I really loved this movie simply because I know my child self would have adored it.
My only real gripe is that is takes a long time to get the main plot moving. As much as I like George and Harold, who have a great dynamic together, we are not introduced to the title character until about 25 minutes in, which can become tedious for both adults and children, as the two boys' shenanigans can be a little overdone.
The voice cast is astonishing, I think every part was perfectly cast. I was not sure about Kevin Hart at first, did not seem like the right fit for George, but he actually hit it out of the park, and Thomas Middleditch's childlike voice suits Harold perfectly. I love to see Ed Helms take on any comedic role, his reversal as Mr. Krupp and Captain Underpants further showcases his comedy talents. The most cartoony voices come from Nick Kroll, who is stellar as the lead antagonist with some ridiculous dialogue that he owns, and Jordan Peele, whom I had no idea was him until his name popped up in the credits, his voice was completely unrecognisable.
Fun for the whole family. Jam packed with loads of humour for both kids and adults, I would highly recommend Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie to anyone looking for a good animation or family film.
Two mischievous children hypnotise their school principal in to thinking he's a superhero they created.
Cars 3 (2017)
The Weakest Pixar Film to Date,
Cars 3 is a decent movie with a reasonably well developed plot and a great voice cast. It certainly has its moments, a pleasure as always to see these lovable characters once again, particularly Lightning McQueen and Mater, who have a terrific back and forth with one another as always. There is also a very sweet, hard hitting message as we see McQueen accepting his fate and realising it is his time to pass on the torch, the final fifteen minutes certainly serves as an effective finale to the series.
I am somewhat heartbroken to be rating a Pixar film below an eight, but the quality of this film is far less than what I have come to expect from this studio. It is a very slow moving ninety minutes that I would imagine would get quite tedious for kids. It tries too hard to remain grounded, but is not gritty enough for that to be effective, it is far too innocent.
It is also rarely funny, I am not saying this in a way that the jokes fall flat, but it actually does not try to be humorous for very long periods. It has a droll, bland tone throughout, an annoying new character and a very small amount of screen time from all the characters who made the original two harmless fun, bar Lightning.
Expected much more from my favourite animation studio. A disappointing conclusion to an enjoyable series, Cars 3 is nothing more than a movie made for merchandising, the kids may love it, but there is very little here for adults.
Lightning McQueen struggles to keep up with a new generation of racers and technology.
A Weak Pixar Short that Never Engrossed me,
LOU is a mediocre short film with a lackluster plot that does not succeed in getting its point across. There is, of course, no denying that the animation itself is stellar, the world is captured beautifully and the way in which the title character himself is rendered is very effective, with each and every piece of the character making movements and sounds that is realistic.
As far as Pixar short goes, it failed to intrigue me in any way. The studio has done breath taking work in the past several years with their short films, and it is no surprise that many of them have taken away Academy Awards. They have the power to make their audience feel in the space of less than ten minutes, LOU does not manage to be anyway as near in terms of effectiveness.
The film also fails to get its message across, it was very clear that it was trying to capture something to us, but not clear what that something was. When the credits began to roll, I was underwhelmed that I did not feel anything as a result of how vague it all was.
A forgettable endeavour. Some Pixar fans may still love it, but LOU never managed to grab me.
The items of a lost and found box come to life to teach a troublesome student a lesson.