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Wonder Woman (2017)
Well ... no.
Now, what do we have here ... Young captain Kirk as captain spy and an Israeli feast for the eyes, woman beautiful beyond belief, Ms Gadot. And, that's about it. Taking into consideration real circumstances of the WW I, incompetent and unimaginably stupid British generals (see Blackadder Goes Forth for reference) and German fanaticism, it can be quite believable that only some gods could bring that war to an end. Unfortunately, this movie does not convince or deliver (except to some 6-7 years old children, and they do not count). This movie is so childish, yet pretentious and trying to be serious, it makes one sick. Move on, people. Nothing to see here. Three stars for being mildly entertaining occasionally. And for Ms Gadot, of course.
Yet another beautiful but unfinished symphony
In a few recent years it seems that the cliffhangers came into fashion. This is, of course, just a diplomatic way to say: all kinds of authors know how to begin, but fail to finish their work. It does not mean that their work is worthless, but incomplete and therefore somehow depreciated. The usual excuse is "I leave viewer (or reader) to come to its own conclusions", meaning "I do not know what to do". This also happened with this movie. Outstanding writing and performances, immersive story, brilliant direction and editing and then it abruptly ends. It left me angry and wanting more where there's nothing. I saw this with Tarantino, read in Murakami's books and so on. I still do not understand why do people start something they cannot finish and why not make it "a nice round whole circle". It started (and went on) with verve and ended in frustration. It just became interesting, for God's sake! However, the part that I watched (meaning the whole movie) is truly great, deserving all the credits it may get. That part I strongly recommend. Remember "Prestige" and what it means? Well, this enchanting movie lacks one. Like a magician that disappears but does not come back for an applause. I would give it 10 stars if it only ended properly. Unfortunately, there is no end (so far). Will there be Part II? Awaiting response ..
Love this movie
This one reminds me of the last year's Arrival in a sense that a "SF" is only a background to tell a human story. It is very well directed, all the time something happens, actors are great and - yes - sfx far better than anything I've seen in a long, long time. However, they serve only as a "background" for the story and not to cover the lack of it (as in many other movies). Russia did it. America, eat your heart out. There are, true, many unanswered questions in details but that does not really matter, since the SF component is not the point here. There are also many subtle tiny things that make you think ("poisoned" with American movies), for instance - Russian superb technology combined with quite ordinary people. No super heroes here. No Independence day crap. However, there's quite a lot of humor. Let's say, it is a Slavic movie. We love to make jokes as presented in this movie (sour and dry sometimes). Highly recommended not only to SF- fans, but to everybody who just happens to know that there are also other countries that make movies, usually much better that American high-budget blockbusters. And who love a little drama/romance elements mixed in. And, of course, those who want to make this world a better place.
Beautiful comic book adaptation
I can understand why this movie is a box office flop: America knows little (or nothing) about European comic book tradition. We do not glorify super heroes with supernatural powers. We like human stories placed in any surroundings more or less fit for the purpose. That is why this movie is simply beautiful and almost excellent (it should have been longer for a 10). A true feast for eyes and soul. Yes, the story is simple, but so is in Star Wars (in which Lucas "borrowed" a lot from Valerian) and yet - Star Wars was a hit. Yes, for those who do not know better and lack world's comic book culture and knowledge of ideas and concepts that made their movie so popular. Valerian has excellent direction, very good script (it's a comic book, for God' sake!), is well acted by fine cast and so on. Two flaws only: too short and came to a movie media too late, so the people "on the other side of the ocean" did not know where all this imagination comes from. And yet, Valerian existed before Star Wars. I highly recommend this movie to all that do not forget the child inside them.Enjoy it as I did.
The Orville: Majority Rule (2017)
Bad version of Nosedive
Beside blatantly stealing the concept from Black Mirror's episode Nosedive, nothing in this episode of Orville is worth watching. The stealing is so obvious it made me nervous and angry. Nosedive said it all, with much better visuals, acting, directing and so on.
About the show itself: After first few episodes I'm still not sure is this a parody, Star Trek alternative or just a mixture of leftovers from Family Guy and Star Trek. There is so much potential to be funny, yet it isn't. However, might pass if you really have nothing better to do (watch paint dry?).
Two stars for SFX only.
The Dark Tower (2017)
King's saga in a .zip format
I'll try to skip here the scope of the altogether nine books of this story, and focus on the movie only. As a movie, this is not bad. The direction is correct, cast is bit overkill (what the hell are Mr. Elba and Mr. McConaughey doing here?! They are excellent in their roles but this is far too much for such a crippled story and a movie that does not even reach 100 minutes!), editing is perfect, music very good, camera work perfect, sfx nice and serving the purpose. Not much to say against it. However, the movie is too short. So many questions left unanswered, so many characters underdeveloped and so on. This, in this form, looks as a hollow fairy tale with a lot of omitted opportunities. B-action movie at its best. And it was so wrong to tie it to the Dark Tower novel series. This could function as a pilot for a TV series of at least 13 episodes. Therefore only 6 stars. And a message to producers: do not attempt to do a job unless you can finish it properly. In this manner all you make is a mess.
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
In this movie story (or plot, whatever) is not only overridden by CGI, but swallowed, after brutal chewing. It is really doubtful whether anything beside CGI actually happens. At moments one can catch some "glitches" of a story, but that's all. The topic on mixing human with artificial organisms has been many times before and better, even when it was unbearable to watch and/or stupid (Van Damme). One more proof that no cast or director or technicians or CGI creators, regardless of how good they might be, can carry out the essentially meaningless "manga" content in a movie and make it worth spectators' time. OK, Japanese are probably used to it and it is part of their culture, but outside that this is simply crap.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
CPL movie, again
Cheap, Predictable, Lame. C-movie with an A movie budget. Ridley Scott drowning more and more into dumbness with each next movie he makes. Good cast with below average acting. Mixing Star trek technology (David/Walter) with 20th century practically everything else (especially weapons). Unimaginative. Pale copy of the even paler copy. No psychology. No fear. Nothing scary (except writing - such a story shall be seriously reviewed by someone who, at least, knows how it's done). Nice visuals cannot replace the lack of common sense and dilettantism. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. And I thought it can't get worse than Prometheus. Oh, yes, it can. Wait for the next sequel, though. There is still some space to go lower than this. I cinema theater everyone can hear you scream for your money back. Facepalm.
Rogue One (2016)
Finally a missing link for grownups
Just a few statements here: This is the first episode of Star Wars I truly enjoyed watching. Putting aside usual nonsense like sound in space and laser fire visibility and sounding, this is the first intelligently written and directed Star Wars episode. Now all of the story (I mean the whole saga) makes sense and is beautifully connected. The cast is very good, and so are their performances (which I cannot say for the rest of the movies). This is also the first Star Wars movie with almost nothing stolen from already told stories like John Carter and others. No J.J. Abrams ("damn the story! just shoot and kill and destroy! and do it fast!") here and no G. Lucas ("I love fairy tales!"). Almost perfect. Too bad this was not filmed before (by the same team). And - yes: the ending of the movie is fantastic. Recommended with all my (old) heart.
One word: Fantastic
OK, let's start with the pro's: everything. Now con's: nothing. Great story, excellent cast with outstanding performances, music just as it should be, extraordinary photography ... You name it. Something so goofy, fun, intellectually intriguing, clever, "blasphemic", gory, fun again and all mixed together. I thought that after "Firefly" nothing good with that magnitude is going to happen on TV. But it did. With so many satirical references to main points of general culture, a mixture of pulp and science fiction with slasher, Joss Whedon, Mel Brooks, Monty Python, Texas chainsaw massacre and so on, all with right ingredients in right ratio. Fantastic. Never read the comic book, though (not available here, I guess). Season 2 is announced for July this year. Can't wait. Worth watching all over many times. Recommended to all clever people in this universe.
Hidden Figures (2016)
This is how you tell a story, fictional or not
This is a good movie, with a right pace, right twists at a right moment, very good direction and editing and very good cast. Music as well. I will not discuss here the factual side of the story or American racist issues for that matter. However, one thing touched my nerve as an annoying point: propaganda issue. The movie tells us that in America anyone with right abilities can succeed, being at the right place at the right time with the right skills. Now, that's smoke and mirrors. How else do you explain Trump or Bush Jr.? Putting that aside (as a possible theme for another, more critical movie), this is an excellent entertainment "for the whole family". It is nice to know that there, in Hollywood, still work some artists that can provoke emotions, forcing us to take sides. Good job making this movie. Highly recommended.
La La Land (2016)
Sum of correctly done parts does not make a correct movie
Although this movie is probably about pursuing one's dreams and sacrifices (necessary?) in the process, it ended up as a lousy musical (with good music). It's also dedicated to some (golden?) era in Hollywood when musical was the best there is in the industry. So, instead of a clear emotional story of two "star crossed lovers", we've got collision of dreams of two egoists who think their individual success is more important than than anything else. It isn't. It's just that could not reconcile one type of emotion (craving for fame) with another (love). Direction is not bad (however not as good as in Whiplash) and everything has been "watered down" with two miscast main actors who cannot sing (and acting itself is also doubtful). Ending of the story was predictable and probably many Hollywood staff would recognize itself here. As for the musical, unfortunately I liked only "Sweeny Todd" (meaning that it could not function in any other form). Summary: Worth a look, but soon to be forgotten (despite the hype). Four stars for cinematography.
Cheap "love story" for older housewives
I don't understand the good reviews here, since this movie has absolutely nothing in common with science, comedy, common sense or the art of filmmaking. Not a single part of the "story" does hold the water here: of all the people on board (more than 5000?) only one awakes by mistake and he can't sleep back again since the ship combines incredible AI bartender with absolutely idiotic rest of the computerized systems ("I don't understand."). Not to mention legendary rumbling sound in open space or Arcturus (cca 40 ly away) as a "slingshot" star or choice of the other "to be awakened" person (or the third, for that matter) and so on. Besides being an eye- candy pack of SFX and a good performance by Jennifer Lawrence, this movie is a pack of bad writing, meaningless plot and insulting viewers' intelligence. And it's not even funny. Oh, yes: there is some gardening here, like in Martian, but without potatoes. This movie cannot be recommended to anyone but inmates in some mental institution. They probably would not ask questions like "why?!". Avoid by all means (and then avoid some more).
Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)
Jason Statham as Steven Seagal in Missions Even More Impossible
The Mechanic was (and still is) a very good movie. The Resurrection is a very (very!) bad movie, with a concept more appropriate to Steven Seagal or Van Damme or even Bruce Willis. Except for the main character and some good performances by the cast, this one has nothing to do with the original Mechanic. I think that the idea behind the first movie deserves much much better approach to a sequel (if any). This is, to put it simple, cheap. Corny. Cheesy. Stupid.
However, despite all of this, I also know that many will watch this movie because of Statham (and Tommy Lee Jones, who was excellent as usual). OK. Do it.
Three stars for the efforts that cast put into trying to make something out of nothing.
First season - All done in the editing department
Well, as usual, I watched the whole season (recorded) one episode after another. Otherwise I'd go bananas. It all starts pretty confusing, then makes sense and gets better until the last episode. I mean, it's pretty obvious that everything has been filmed at respective locations and then mixed up in the editing process, just to make it harder for the viewers week-after-week to follow the plot. There they've probably lost one third of the viewers. Suddenly, everything becomes coherent and makes sense, even very, very watchable. Especially the female cast. I've just became hooked and then came the last episode (of the season, I hope), which torn down all my castles. Too many questions, no answers and no explanations whatsoever. We all have now two options: forget everything and switch to something else (if the second season comes out - good; if it doesn't - also good), or bite the nails (finger or steel ones) expecting the second season in hope for at least some answers and/or explanations.
However, the show is filmed almost perfectly, the cast is excellent (and their respective performances), the story interesting and music well selected. Seems very promising but hangs on an edge: if there is no second season (with answers), it's garbage (zero stars). If there is a second season, the'd better provide us with explanations and deep insight. Could be excellent (even nine stars). So, no recommendation, at least until everything is over. Do not ruin it, please.
Star Trek: Beyond (2016)
Good cast in a pile of garbage
This movie, like all other J.J. Abrams projects so far, is trying to do all it can to ruin the idea behind the concept. Good cast found itself in the (see the title), being something between an action movie and a comedy, failing with the latter. Story is meaningless (Abrams obviously loves inventing "enemies" and "defeating" them), illogical, beyond common sense. Probably that is missing in the movie title. To me it looked like a result from someone grabbing a shovel and just moving a pile of trash from there to here. Roddenberry is surely spinning in his grave. It takes a special talent to ruin the noble idea he introduced in the Star Trek universe (the same goes for Star Wars). J.J. Abrams has it. I'm so glad he didn't lay his claws on the TV-series (all of them, especially DS9). I suggest avoiding not only this movie, but everything Abrams destroys until somebody finally realizes how incompetent he is, and how disrespectful for the people who invented his "toys". 3 stars only because of the cast and their efforts to make sense of this piece of c**p.
Stranger Things (2016)
Very, very far from "masterpiece" (about 900 mega-parsecs)
For starters, guys who glorify this series shall use the money they've received for it to buy some taste, knowledge and experience. This show is really nothing special. Some Super 8, some Star Wars, some Stephen King, some Goonies ... Nothing original and creative. Lacks humor. Winona Ryder is overacting. Kids are OK but aren't they in any show? David Harbour is OK - seems to me he was the only one to find measure in dosing his efforts. Credits shall also got to Billie Bobby Brown. The show is too slow and basically nothing really happens until the last episode, when again nothing significant happens. Everything seems like: "Guys, write something in a way that it ends or not in the first season, depending on advertisers and money income." Everything in this show is black & white. Good guys are good, bad are bad (as in Government), naive and stupid are naive and stupid and so on. Too many clichés. Childish at best.
Not worth watching and certainly not worth another season. Forget this ever happened and I'll try to forgive the Duffer brothers. Do we have a deal?
Very good entertainment
I've never played the game (or, for that matter, had any interest in this type of games - I'm a FPS guy) so for me there is only this movie. After forcing myself (yes, sorry) to watch it, I must say that it is a pleasant surprise. Direction is excellent and the character performances very good. Yes, this movie contains elements from many others (harry potter, avatar, star wars, stargate, LotR and so forth) but it is a well done "compilation"and very entertaining. Of course, it could not be done with an abundance of sfx and they are up to the standards. However, the movie is not for the kids, except for those still living inside adult viewers. As I said, cannot recommend the game (still does not interest me) but as the movie - go for it and have fun. It is really good.
Full metal jazz
After all this time I've finally watched this. And yes, it reminded me of Full metal jacket, part one. I guess that Mr. Chazelle drew his inspiration from Kubrick and boy, did he make it right! Direction is perfect (including editing), fantastic performances by two main characters and fine choice of music. Beautiful photography also. This movie has everything to make it perfect, however Mr. Chazelle is not Mr. Kubrick but may probably be one day. If he tries hard enough to develop his own style. Do not give up now that you set the bar so high. All my compliments to the crew of this movie. Truly a gem. Highly recommended.
Black Mass (2015)
Good one but a bit depressive to me
Let's forget for a moment that this is a movie about real (and still living, at least some of them) persons and concentrate on the "movie" part. This is one of the flick perfect for generally underestimated actors to show what they can do when given an opportunity. Depp is excellent and everything else is on a high professional level. Story is a bit depressive (and confusing at moments - apparently you cannot encompass such a complex man/story in so little given time), but I guess that's how it was, more or less. And it was a pleasant experience to see J. Depp in a such demanding role doing an excellent job (even with blue contact lens). Not DiCaprio excellent, but close. Worth a watch, but not many times.
Well, I like it.
Ryan Reynolds is a good comedian and Morena Baccarin is always one of the most beautiful women ever (unfortunately for me: both Gemini and married). The movie is simply goofy, fun, dynamic, crazy at moments, off-beat and entertaining. Full of good one-liners. Jokes really aren't as bad as some of the reviewers suggest here. If we take the whole context into the account, the highlight of this movie is not exceptional sfx, but humor. Essentially, this is a mockery, but who says superheroes cannot be fun? As many observed here, not for children (and language is a minor issue here). Still exceptionally entertaining and I watched it with many smirks on my face. Let's say: intelligently fatuous. Just the way I like it. Worth watching several times to catch all the details (yup. it's fast paced). Go for it.
Fairy tale with no fairies and no tale
How do you call incredibly bad writing combined with even more incredible bad acting from bad cast, some light-saber forestry management, material recycling, pretty good direction and fantastic sfx? Something that is not just stupid, but Disney stupid? Yup, that's the one. This movie. I've watched the first movie in the series when I was pretty young and I though "wow!". Probably (only) kids would also like this one. It's simply horrible from an adult point of view. Fiction with no science. A bunch of randomly piled ideas from previous sequels put together. But not so boring. One expects something (new or at all, for that matter) to happen but it does not, and the movie is over. One gets sick from wooden figures called actors (except maybe for Chewbacca). One cannot believe that there is nothing more to say (or to tell) in this saga after the previous sequel, yet they make a movie out of it. Out of nothing, that is. If you ever were a true fan of Star Wars, forget this one for your own good. If you want to become a light-saber woodcutter , feel free to learn. My God, why did I watch this?!
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Almost bullseye, but not quite
Let me start with a statement: I'm not a Tarantino movies fan and in my opinion he is overrated. Some of them are quite entertaining (Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterdz) and some quite good (Reservoir Dogs, Django Unchained), some are boring as hell (Kill Bill, Jackie Brown) and some total waste of time (Death Proof). All of them are missing something or are overloaded. He usually has good or excellent cast giving excellent performances but what I don't like is his direction where he tends to cite (copy?) anyone and everyone. Until this one. This is a good movie but unfortunately misses an ending. It just does not last enough long (despite two and a half hours) to round or conclude the story. Maybe he is planning a sequel, but I'm reviewing this one as a "whole". Anyway, cast is excellent as usual and performances very good, with Ms. Jason Leigh and Mr. Goggins standing out. The story is also very good - a western crime. All very promising and enjoyable until the movie abruptly ends without conclusion. His friend, Mr. Rodriguez, is much better as a director in such "exploitation" sub-genres (especially when Mr. Tarantino writes the story). So, watch it, enjoy and wait for the sequel (if any) to see what happened to all the characters.
I loved other Craig Bond movies (and still do - for me they are the best this franchise has to offer) but this one was completely unnecessary, except probably for the people involved in production, trying to earn some salary. It is a usual sequence of scenes: Bond does something "spectacular", then gets beaten (and some more), then has disputes with his boss, then meets a girl, then meets the villain, gets beaten again, solves disputes with the boss and wins the day and the girl. This time, however, without humor, without convincing motivation and practically without "gadgets" (no sponsors, huh?). Aston Martin does not count. Also, no interesting conversations, Ms. Belucci is seen only few seconds and the "Bond girl" is "girl next door" type. Despite good casting, despite experienced director. Bond theme is easily forgettable (yup, Adele's Skyfall was a masterpiece) as well as this movie altogether. I do not recommend it but you will watch it anyway. If no other reason, out of habit. So be it. I'm glad Mr. Craig leaves Bond. This is going nowhere.
The Revenant (2015)
Superb movie movie made on a relative simple story
Disregarding what happened during filming, the final product is superb. We've seen this story so many times in different forms, but never with such photographic beauty, masterful direction and editing and extraordinary performance of two main characters. It seem that DiCaprio excels in anything he does, and after a disaster stupidity of "Mad Max" Tom Hardy got a chance to show what he really can do. Add to this hypnotizing music of Ryuichi Sakamoto and you have a perfect movie.I suppose DiCaprio will again lose the Oscar, taken into account his opinion on the "members of the Academy" (yes, bunch of moldy mummies that lost the touch with common sense, taste and reality long time ago), and he deserves one for every role he's taken by now. One of the best actors ever.
Extremely recommended, even if you (like me) did not like The Birdman by the same director. This one is truly a masterpiece of 7th art.