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The Circle (2017)
Not what you think... but is that so bad?
The Circle is one of those movies that once the general audience has time for their minds to wrap around the concept of this movie, then it has a chance at higher ratings and better reviews.
It was not want I expected, and yet I left with the sense that I could engage in a three hour philosophical discussion about the movie.
It lacks your typical "antagonist" or rather, the "antagonist" is not what you thought or would expect in a typical thriller. And the antagonist may not be so much of a person as it is a concept or idea that goes too far or in the wrong direction but is not in and of itself bad.
The conclusion of the film did not resolve how I would have predicted having seen the trailers. But, I won't go there so as not to spoil the movie.
You may be hesitant to see this movie, and you may not like it after having seen the movie - but none-the-less, it is still worth seeing and hopefully *maybe* you will leave the theatre thinking if you are that type of person.
Its like going to an art show. I, as an amateur, would go hoping to be "wowed" by the typical entertaining pieces - the ones that make sense to me. However, I can easily over look a masterpiece because I do not take the time and focus to look deeper and past the non-traditional.
All that being said, the acting was a little strange, which makes some of the interactions awkward. But in hindsight, it kind of makes sense because the "circle" is all about community and engaging with your community. And, so some of the social interactions can be "odd". So if I compare it to the basic formula and standard quality of movie entertainment that money pushes out there, I could easily overlook a possible deeper element.
Or maybe I'm just being ridiculous and looking too deep into this movie.
There were some intense moments. But, not so much of what you would think of in a thriller. This is not a cat-and-mouse dystopian type thriller where your life is at stake.
So, maybe you would like it - like I did. Maybe you won't. Maybe it will take a while for the concept of this movie to catch up to everyone who didn't feel entertained. Either way, worth a shot.
A Really Good M. Night Film with some deep thoughts to consider
This is not a perfect film - but it is still a really good film and I think it explores deep, dark territory.
It was intense. Though, in a way it felt more predictable in some ways compared to other M. Night's movies. Because of this it felt less like a horror film and more an exploration of psychological trauma.
The topic of multiple personalities is not something new to the world of cinema - nor the presentation that a person suffering this type of mental health disorder is a dangerous person. Yet, some find offense by how "Split" presents and treats mental illness to scare people.
In my experience of the move, Split does not have many in your face jumps or scares. And I feel like that was intentional on M. Night's part.
Though the antagonist is portrayed as a monster, I found some elements of the character(s) to be conveyed that this is a person who is suffering from a traumatic past and there seemed to me to be some level of sensitivity.
At first, with the beast, I was a little put off by the sense of the character being able to evolve to some degree. But, I have to remind myself that M. Night is storyteller and along with that comes symbolism and allegory. Perhaps we are not meant to take some of these seemingly ridiculous factors so seriously - but look deeper into what those elements represent and the story they are telling.
With that in mind. I feel this story explores brokenness, and even though a person suffers from mental health issues, a traumatic past, etc., they may see themselves as "impure" and broken - but they are strong and can survive their situation - there is hope.
Maybe I'm the only one who is seeing this film and story from this perspective. I can see how it can be seen that using mental illness to entertain in a horror film is disrespectful. I think it is easy to come away confused about what M. Night is trying to say about the whole "pure" versus "impure" thing. That the broken are the pure and the unbroken are the impure. That can seem on the surface rather ridiculous, but maybe with a little more thought - it could actually make sense.
I mean, what is the difference between someone who has suffered and someone who is foreign to suffering? People don't understand mental illness, how trauma affects a person's mental health, and yes the world in reality tend to place labels and see people with mental health issues as "monsters" in various different contexts. Maybe this film was geared to showing challenge and complexity of these issues, while using a popularly entertaining medium to present these ideas to the audience to grapple with. I usually come away from M. Night's movies talking about them for a long time and more interesting exploring some sort of deep philosophical-type insight expressed through the films.
As expressed through one of the girls, we see in subtlety how she comes to realize that she is not a monster because of her past and her own mental health needs - that because she is broken she has a different understanding of life which in some way of looking at it - makes her pure. Sort of playing off the concept of Plato's cave. To be in ignorance of pain and suffering, or of reality such as in living a lie whether you realize it or not could be seen as something of impure. Impure may be a confusing way to express a concept but I'm sort of thinking of the Matrix movies here. Maybe I'm going way off topic here. But those who know the truth, such as in Plato's Cave and in the Matrix - perhaps they are pure because they are free from the lie, the illusion - that we are all broken.
Pain and suffering can lead a person to becoming something more. That pain is a chisel which can shape a person depending on how a person chooses to see and understand that pain and suffering. Not in the sense of biological evolution - but that of character, of maturity, of spiritual growth in a sense.
Anyway, enough of my two-cents on the meaning behind the story.
Split is a very well-made film. Well-acted. In some ways it didn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary. It was intense and suspenseful. Funny and enjoyable, all the while it is heart-breaking and hopefully eye-opening for people. It is worth the watch and I will likely watch it again.
Terminator Genisys (2015)
Great Entertainment with Heart
Great Entertainment and better than the last two movies. Sure, the first two are classics as for that time and age, the concept of was completely fresh. Now-days, we have all kinds of movies involving machines and robots and what-not.
Some people want to say that this movie is trying to re-hash the original, they are missing the point. In a film about time-traveling terminators to kill of people in the past to change the future, would you not expect something like what we have here?
The film leaves you with unanswered questions, but I believe its because they are planning for two sequels.
I was entertained throughout the whole film. It was intense and action packed with great special effects and visuals. The acting was good (obviously not Academy Award worthy, but that's not the goal here). The story was great and kept your interest. The relationship between Sarah Conner and the Terminator was great and heartwarming, like that of John Conner and the Terminator in T2 - this added a great depth to the movie.
There are some elements that don't quite add up, but work well enough that the rest of the movie serves as a good distraction and it doesn't bother you too much.
All in all, great movie. People are too critical through comparing it to original works, especially when the originals were groundbreaking concepts for their time. But, we all have an opinion and this is mine.
Last Knights (2015)
Familiar retelling, but Amazing!
The discussion about originality is so cliché and very annoying. Just because it was a retelling of the familiar Japanese tale of the 47 Ronin, doesn't tell you anything about the movie itself. So don't let anyone babbling about those kinds of things stop you from watching this movie.
This movie was well made and though not original in story, it was uniquely conceptualized. The acting was good. The style of the moving was exciting. It felt medieval yet it was blended with so many unique cultural aspects. THIS IS STORYTELLING people!
There were moments in the movie that it felt like the ever popular Game of Thrones, especially in terms of the political tension and development. And just like in Game of Thrones, there are slow moments and episodes with very little action. In fact, Last Knight boasts two major action scenes. The movie opens with one and ends with another. In-between you have the story and builds up to the exciting final action packed climax.
So, yes, you have already read reviews about how the movie was ruined with the slow boiling plot building in the middle. I found the entire movie as a hole to be pretty epic. Maybe you wouldn't quite admire it as much as I did. Of course with all the reviews I thought I may be let down, but if all you want is a typical by the numbers mindless action film... don't watch it. This is mature action film and the slow story in the middle is just as epic as the two really cool action scenes.
sure, the movie may have its flaws but very few blockbusters can boast flawlessness.
Simply, I was content at the end and was happy with what I just watched. I enjoyed every moment of the movie... maybe you will too.
Highly entertaining and moving.
The standard for which we hold to movies is based upon what we are expecting of them. There are sci-fi classics, and there are sci-fi wonders, and there are sci-fi entertainments. Not every sci-fi movie has to hold up to one person's standard of expectations for ALL sci-fi films.
I do admit, I left the movie having enjoyed the movie greatly but also feeling that there was a lack of depth. But that is hardly anything to affect my rating of the movie.
I enjoyed what I paid for. I would probably be willing to pay for the movie.
I believe there is a great story in the movie. But it's depth does get a little crowded out by the action and the visuals... but it is still there. I'm sure with multiple more viewings I will come to see more of the depth because I will not be distracted from everything else.
The acting is very good. It was hard for me to see the guy from D9 and A-team as the villain and take him seriously for a tough guy. But in the end he did a great job with his character.
I thought the other actors did a great job as well.
Of course, the action and visuals were amazing and worth the price to see on their own.
I did find a good level of emotion to the movie.
I feel like another 10-15 minutes to the movie could have been used to set up the characters better, including the side characters and add more depth to the movie's story. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed the movie!
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
"Olympus has Fallen" is an over the top action film that satisfied my movie-going experience. Not every movie in the world has to be "A - B - C". Not every movie has to have incredible character development, or completely logical. The point of some movies is just to entertain. As another review stated, I didn't find myself bored at any point of the movie. In that case, this movie was successful.
The story is simple, but simple can be better than overrated complex stories. The simple story allows you to just sit and enjoy the content of the movie. Of course, I like my deeper stories and character developments. But I like these no-brainer action movies just as much.
The acting isn't bad. The action is pretty good.
Overall and entertaining movie.
By the way, the previous is what I would consider a true "Nutshell review". What's up with nutshell reviews extending into thousands of words?
Man of Steel (2013)
A Solid entertaining Superhero movie
Man of Steel has redefined the cinematic experience for Superman. The visuals were very impressive as well as the acting.
The first part of the movie on Superman's home planet was one of my few favorite scenes. Then, the first major fight sequence with Superman's enemies in a small town would be another of my favorite scenes.
Overall, what you get is a movie with a compelling story which felt a little crammed with a lot of other sub-stories mixed with amazing visuals and cool action scenes.
There are a few scenes that I have some issues with, but I won't go into them because I don't want to spoil anything.
I really liked the style of the fight scenes. It feels hard to realize what's going on but its not so bad.
Overall, Man of Steel is a great achievement in the Superman movies much like Nolan's batman movies. (I still like the batman movies better though, but this is by far the best superman movie).
You can't watch it and not enjoy it.
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Not what you hope for in a Die Hard movie, but enjoyable.
Okay, I get it. "A Good Day to Die Hard" fails be a true die hard movie.
I can sit here and tear it a part, pick out the things that bothered me, the details I wish would be changed when I watch it again. Yes, I plan on watching this again.
Some parts were funny. The action was enjoyable.
The story itself is probably the worst part - simply, it is messy and poorly developed.
My second disappointment was the lack of violence. Die Hard 4 had more violence and it carried a PG-13 rating. I was hoping for more physical fighting along with the shooting and explosions. A fight between father and son near the beginning would have been cool. Some scenes seemed rushed while others seemed like they could have been cut a few seconds shorter.
Then, John's character didn't feel like the John McClain we see in the other movies. For instance, the lack of his funny rants that are in the other movies.
Some of the action was artistic. The car chase was not too long, but what made it feel long was that it lacked a lot of suspense.
I believe that this movie was simply rushed and thrown together. Plus, its a good 15-20 minutes shorter than the other movies.
The thing I liked most about the movie was the development of the father son conflict. Which, I think that jack and john should have got into a physical fight when John started messing up Jack's operation.
Overall, this Die Hard installment is one that shouldn't be taken seriously, but isn't so bad that it deserves anything lower than a 5/10 rating.
After Earth (2013)
My Not So Popular Opinion
"After Earth" seems to have failed many individual's expectations, but this movie didn't fail me.
This movie is story-based. M. Knight is a storyteller. He particularly tells stories through suspense. The best part of this movie was the story, and the message the story revolves around.
The sci-fi elements were very intriguing to me. It fits well with the overall story.
The acting, overall (the sum of all the actors) was really good. Many thought Young Smith was terrible in this movie. I didn't think so.
The suspense and action elements were very good as well. This isn't a movie driven by its action, this is a movie with suspense and action which is driven and energized by the story and its message.
I will probably buy this movie when it is released. Based on all the other reviews, I can't say that you will enjoy this movie. All I can say is that I really enjoyed this movie.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
This Entertainer certainly SURPRISED me!
On a scale for entertainment alone, the new G.I. Joe movie gets bonus points from me. I liked the first one, yet at the same time it let me down. It was too sci-fi and less military. This new movie adds a better balance between the sci-fi and the realistic (thats my perspective).
This movie was in retaliation to the first one. The action scenes were solid, they exceeded my expectations. For example, the fight scenes between Shadow and Snake-eyes never lasted very long and the fighting between them was bland and generic. In this new movie, the fight between them was so much cooler and much more pleasing, especially to the eye.
The acting was great for what some would call a "no-brainer" movie.
The story and plot was simple yet entertaining. And honestly, some elements to the story I didn't expect - but they weren't exactly what you would call twists or anything like that.
I know that there are a lot of mixed reviews. But, you should know that Retaliation feels a lot different than the first one. Its not quite as cheesy and the acting is better, and it didn't have any romance driven sub-plots.
Entertainment Level: High (8/10) Acting Level: Great (7/10) Story/plot: good (6.5/10) Visual effects/sound/: High (8/10)
Overall, great movie (7/10) I could watch this movie several times and enjoy it every time.