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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Emperor has no clothes!
Martin Scorsese directs the story of a man that reached fortune by becoming really good at doing illegal activities and eventually got in trouble with the law in part for his careless behavior and in part for the bad companion he associated with.
One of the few good things of the movie is how it accurately describes the aggressive and intense scene stockbrokers and sellers in general live in, unfortunately that had been done before and done better. Other than that, the movie is just a collection of depraved anecdotes set in slow-mo sequences with cool music (usually "borrowed" from other movies) and that makes it a genuine snore fest (literally, there were people snoring in the audience)
I really wanted to like it, but it turned out to be one of the most boring movies I've ever seen, and I've seen the 'English Patient'. I really don't understand why the movie tries so hard to rub in our faces Jordan Belford's excessive and decadent lifestyle, which btw wasn't as shocking as I was expecting.
It's funny how critics bash repetitive action and destruction scenes in movies like 'Transformers' or 'Man of Steel', but praise repetitive morbid scenes in movies like this one, when in both cases is a tedious experience.
For the first time ever I found myself attending a movie in which I wasn't interested in anything that was going on or cared for any of the characters and when that happens one starts noticing a lot of continuity and edition mistakes that not even direct to DVD movies have, like when a character is supposed to be speaking but even from a behind shot we can see the actor isn't talking at all or the infamous Leonardo Dicaprio "magic pants" scene. But the biggest sin of the movie is that it sacrifices the essence over the form, and by that I mean the pace of the story.
Once you get over the so called "controversial" scenes, you realize the pace is slower than grass growth, because the story didn't need a 3 hour movie to be told. The length of the movie was a consequence of the depraved overkill. Don't believe me? Take agent Denham for instance (the character played by Kyle Chandler) he was introduced 10 minutes into the movie, so we have a pretty good idea of his role in the story and where it's going, however the character speaks his first line 90 minutes after he's introduced (that's right, I was so bored I started timing things like that)
Grasp that for a few secs. Ninety minutes! I could have walked out, watched 'Gravity' (again) walked back in and the character wouldn't have yet said anything. And how does the plot unfolds in those 90 minutes? It doesn't, all we see is sex, drugs and partying over and over again. I haven't read the book but I believe Scorsese could've made the movie more engaging if instead of focusing so much on Belford's life would have shown how his actions affected people, I mean we're talking about lifetime savings that were robbed and that resulted in broken families,hundreds (if not thousands) of people losing their homes, their health and even their lives. It could've at least bonded emotionally with the audience.
But the fact is, if you've seen the 2 min trailer you already know 90% of the story and even worse, the remaining 10% has also been done before and done better when it was called 'Casino' (btw, the first paragraph of this review was copy / pasted from a review of that movie) which was an exciting story, however when seen in WoWS it seems wasted and clichéd and of course you may also take into account that even when their performances were good, Jonah Hill is no Joe Pesci, Margot Robbie is no Sharon Stone and unfortunately Leo Dicaprio is no Bobby Deniro.
So my recommendation is sneak in, wait until McConaughey's performance is over and then leave.
Don't believe the hype
War of the Worlds (2005)
Without a doubt, 'War of the Worlds' has to be Spielberg's best THRILLER since 'JAWS'. Yes, that's right, this movie has a little bit of sci-fi, and a little bit of a "coming of age" theme, but it's hardly an action flick, and I believe that's why most movie goers get disappointed by the outcome. The friend I went with felt the movie didn't satisfy her expectations, since she was expecting a more 'Independence Day' kind of movie and be amazed by incredible destruction scenes, but fortunately for me Spielberg gave a different approach to the story.
WOTW, it's a darker and earthlier view of an alien invasion where Spielberg take us deep into the story of the Ray Ferrie's family struggle to escape a "war", that seems more like an extermination. The movie is fast paced and gives no chance for explanations, for questions like "Why are the aliens here? What do they want? Where do they come from?" the answer is "Who cares?? Start running if you want to survive", just like it would happen in real life, and I believe that's where the greatness of this movie relies.
The realism in the film is top notch to a scary level, to the point of feeling that you're actually in the story, running away with the Ferries escaping from those evil tripods and this is supported by the visual effects that are so well crafted that you can't tell where they are, (unlike 'ROTS' which almost looks like an animated film), and the character development is very simple, but also well done, since Tom Cruise plays a "regular guy" a mere John Doe that even when he is the protagonist of the story, he is not the protagonist of the events surrounding him, which gives the viewer a fairest chance to relate with the character.
And even when the ending is more of a conclusion than a climax, it kept the realistic and disturbing atmosphere of the story making it coherent and true to the novel. Even when the movie it's flawed, at the end I must say I enjoyed the ride very much and would positively recommend it if you're looking for a flick with intense suspense in it (ala 'Signs' meets 'Dawn of the Dead'), but be aware if you're looking for an action movie, this may disappoint you.
Man on Fire (2004)
I'll spare you a secret Tony is no Ridley
I'm a big admirer of Tony's great achievements like "Top Gun", "The Hunger", "True Romance", and "Crimson Tide", but lately, IMHO, his work has fallen just an inch above mediocrity, and with "Man on Fire" he didn't even reach that mark. It seems like he tries to compensate the lack of a good script with a bunch of editing efx with numbing color filters and shaking camera shots as well as hyper fast zoom ins and an exasperating abuse of slow motion takes. This pretentious flick looks more like a huge MTV gangsta rap video where great actors like Denzel Washington and Christopher Walken are forced to "pose" instead of acting, to achieve this over wasted 360 degree shots just to make the scene look cool, well, it didn't work for me, If I would wanted to see pretentious editing efx I would go with a Darren Aronofsky film. But what bothers me the most is the way Mexican delinquency is portrayed, now don't get me wrong, kidnapping has become a very serious issue in Mexico, that can't be denied, but instead of giving the issue a serious approach, Mr. Scott goes for the Hollywood formula of transforming Mexico City into a fantasy place full of mariachis, massive raves and colonial streets with no traffic jams!!!, and the kidnappers are "professionals", very intelligent villains with unlimited resources that spend their time thinking how to conquer the world as they twist their moustaches. Maybe it's just that I live in Mexico City, but it really bothers me the cartoonish view Americans have of Mexico. At the end, this movie is a monumental mess with a lot of plot holes, clichés, and stereotypes with just one redeeming aspect that can be summarized in two words: Dakota Fanning
My rating: 3/10
Te doy mis ojos (2003)
¿Qué es un hombre que miente?
From beginning to end this movie is a sea of tension, mostly generated by Pilar's (Laia Marull) stunning fear gestures, and by Antonio's (Luis Tosar) volatile state, leaving the spectators breathing heavily in awe.
With great performances by the entire cast, a solid and incredibly realistic script, an amazing score, and shot in the beautiful town of Toledo, this production grabs you right from the start. Even when the story isn't as disturbing as 'Once Were Warriors (1994)' the characters develop a three dimensional presence to the point of being as complex as a real couple in a self-destructive relationship creating such a drama, that tends to be more psychological than physical.
And even when the conclusion does not represent a drastic overcome, it stands as an example of courage and self determination that will, in deed, prevail in the mind of the viewer, and even more in those who find themselves in the same situation as the protagonist. Kudos to Miss Bollain, this is a good movie, be sure not to miss it.
In the Cut (2003)
Truly, a genuine piece of --beep--
I'm sorry, it ain't personal, I have never referred to a movie with this adjective, but this one really deserves it. I cannot believe how bad, and boring this movie is. It has no redeeming aspects at all, and don't even get me started with Ryan's autistic performance, oh did I say
performance? ha!, what a joke, it was more like an act of presence than a performance, and this is her most erotic film? God!, she must be frigid. The story was so predictable, and the climax was so incredibly slow that it was a real torture to seat through the whole thing. Unless you like those kind of movies where you need to wake up some viewers because their snoring bothers you, avoid it at all costs!!!
1 out of 10, that's all I can give.
Bringing Down the House (2003)
Bringing Down Two Thumbs
What can I say? even if you're a Steve Martin fan, this movie just doesn't have it. I don't know what happened, the trailer seemed funny, but the actual movie it's just awful, the story, the performances, and the characters were all poorly made. Besides the offensive racist jokes and stereotypes, the white rapper wannabe sketch just came 10 years later for Steve, he doesn't look funny, he looks ridiculous, and not in a positive way, you actually feel pity for him. And Queen Latifah really took the down road with this one, she's so annoying, mainly because she really tries to make you laugh, but fully fails at the attempt. Please stay away from it, this is the worst Martin's performance since Sgt. Bilko. I give it a 6 out of 10, just because it had a few funny moments, but in general, the movie deserves two thumbs down.
You guys got it all wrong!!
I've always read the IMDb's reviews because I've found them interesting and helpful when it comes to pick a movie to rent. But I've never posted a comment until now, since I feel I must say something in defense of this genuine gem.
*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS *** What is it with moviegoers that the minute they hear the word `Aliens' they immediately expect to see something like `Invasion of the Body Snatchers', `Alien', or `Independence Day' if you're the Bad Aliens type, or `E.T', & `The Abyss' if you like good aliens, or even `Close Encounters of the Third Kind' and `Contact' if you like the whole intrigue and suspense about finally contacting intelligent extraterrestrial life?
People, please, this movie isn't about aliens. They're totally incidental to the story. It could have been the hysteria about the cold war and the fear of a TWW, or a plague that would kill mankind. Whatever the case, the point of the story it's how an average farmer's family react to these situations, and how a retired reverend finds his faith again, simple as that. M Night went with Aliens just to give an original twist to the story, which by the way, you got to admit it was pretty shrewd.
I've always thought that `Sixth Sense' would have had a greater impact on viewers, if the ghost factor hadn't been known until it was told in the story. Think about it, the movie could have pass as a schizophrenic story, up to the moment when the secret of the kid was revealed. Unfortunately, the title of the movie reveals a lot, and the very same thing happened with `Signs'. Everybody were expecting a `Bad aliens' or a `Good Aliens' or a `Contacting the Aliens' movie, but it turned out to be a more depth, smart and human story than your average alien film.
If you didn't like the movie, see it again trying not to find answers to questions like how is it possible that the aliens didn't use their advanced technology?, or how they didn't notice they were invading a planet constituted 75% on water?. See the movie as it is, and don't look for alien signs, look for the divine ones, and that's it.