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|204 reviews in total|
Chaplin's "City Lights" was my first exposure to silent films and to
Chaplin's films. It was one of the best films I'd seen and I was eager
to watch more of his films.
"Modern Times" is hilarious, entertaining, inventive, exciting and heartwarming. Telling the story of The Tramp as he struggles with the change with modern society, he meets a young girl whose father was killed and whose sisters were taken from her, Chaplin forms a bond with her and does everything in his power to assist her.
Perfectly directed with stunning cinematography and iconic shots (none more so than Chaplin in the interior of the machinery as he goes through the assembly line), Chaplin masters everything once more. The score is beautiful, his direction is perfect, his performance as perfect if not better and with a strong supporting performance, Chaplin's "Modern Times" masterfully conveys the struggle of poverty better than most "talkie" films ever could.
Brilliantly paced for a film with no dialogue, "Modern Times" is a hilarious film that is satisfying in every possible way.
"Secret Agent" tells the story of a two secret agents who pose as a
couple as they attempt to capture and kill a German agent, "Secret
Agent" was possibly an original Hitchcock story and one of the earlier
spy films. However, an interesting premise, two great lead performances
by Carrol and Gielgud is botched by poor storytelling, an overlong
duration and the highly irritating character that Peter Lorre portrays.
Lacking suspense and all the elements that make Hitchcock a master director and my all time favourite director, the only redeeming qualities found in this bloated Hitchcock picture are the attempted story its telling, an interesting romance story developing between the two leads and the two lead characters themselves.
"Secret Agent" is the biggest step down from "The 39 Steps" that Hitchcock could seek. If his intentions were to make a film that is in every right, worse than its predecessor, he has succeeded otherwise its simply not something he'd want to remember.
Following the classic Hitchcock themes that he was well known for in
"The 39 Steps" and his later works, "Young and Innocent" is a well made
movie with strong tension, great characters, exciting premise built up
terrifically within the opening minutes and is an exciting adventure of
a wrongly accused man attempting to his clear his name from
Nova Pilbeam and Derrick De Marney are absolutely terrific in the lead roles, having great chemistry back and forth, a romance story that is both interesting and necessary and a script that easily allows them to convey their thoughts.
It is said that this is indeed Hitchcock's favourite British film and whilst this is a little far stretched, it is to me, one of his most exciting and overlooked films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
******SPOILERS IN THE REVIEW***** Quentin Tarantino is my all-time
favourite film-maker for his brilliant dialogue, his creative stories
and his fantastic casting choices which all fuse together to often
create a cinematic masterpiece. "Pulp Fiction", "Reservoir Dogs" and
"Django Unchained" hold a spot in my personal top 20 for its incredibly
entertaining dialogue, often humorous violence, endearing characters
and the brilliant pacing. Going into Death Proof, I knew that this
would be my least favourite Tarantino film but what I didn't know was
that nothing I loved about Tarantino would be in this film.
The film focuses around a stuntman who has a "death proof" car that he uses for stunts in films. Going by the name of Stuntman Mike, he comes to the position in which he decides to use this car to chase after drunk and idiotic women and kill them.
One of the biggest mistakes made by Tarantino is the idea to kill our supposed protagonists an hour into the film. Unlike in Psycho (1960), in which the second hour picks up from the events of the first, here the story is in almost no way affected by what has happened and we as an audience are forced to take it in. What should've happened was having Zoe Bell and her friends being killed off early in the film and then established our main characters (who we saw in the opening hour of the film)
The first hour builds up using various dialogue sequences that unfortunately cannot capture the magic of previous Tarantino scripts. A sequence ensues with our supposed main character and her friends talking to Stuntman Mike but a few minutes later, they are dispatched. This half of the film should've come second, especially seeing how the events of the second half are hardly focused on. Stuntman Mike pops up and chases after another bunch of girls who eventually take him down. The film should've had these group of girls being taken out fairly early in the film, especially seeing how there were roles by Zoe Bell and a few others. This should've been a cameo role in which she and her friends are taken out by Stuntman Mike, who then proceeds to kill another group of girls after meeting them at a restaurant. This would've created a bit more tension seeing how our main character does have any sort of connection to Stuntman Mike.
Tarantino's strength has always been his dialogue which is always entertaining. He has created some of my all-time favourite dialogue but here, none of his dialogue is slightly entertaining. In previous films, we are able to follow his dialogue such as when Jules and Vincent are talking about "royale with cheese" but here, we are forced to painfully swallow 90 minutes of girls gossiping about sex and boyfriends which is neither humorous nor clever. The group of girls come off as nothing but gossip girls and in that way, doesn't resemble Tarantino's earlier brilliance. The performances itself were very disappointing, especially seeing how Tarantino is able to get the best performances out of his cast such as with Samuel L Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Christoph Waltz. In fact, the only worthwhile performance is Kurt Russel as Stuntman Mike but the supporting performances are weak.
The only positive aspect I could say about the film is the absurd car chase sequences which definitely boost up the overall score of the film. They are long, somewhat funny and surprisingly entertaining. Though some of the most illogical decisions are made, which furiates me, the chase sequences itself were more entertaining than every other aspect of the film combined. The first entertaining scene was about 45 minutes into the film where this girl gets a ride from Mike, who brutally dispatches her. This scene brought the first energetic smile out of me for the whole film. That brought back what Catwoman said in The Dark Knight Rises. "My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men!"
As I said something about a possible alteration to the flow of the story earlier, this immediately sums up Tarantino's incredibly poor directing which is simply lazy. When creating Pulp Fiction, Tarantino would've spent much time actively putting together the various story lines so that they indeed combine, to form the one story. In Reservoir Dogs, he actively sought out material to shoot before and after the heist but here, he throws content onto the screen without thinking about it, resulting in a failed product that is Death Proof. Overall, the biggest disappointment of the decade next to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Man of Steel was a movie that I hyped more than anything else in my
life. I was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who believed
this to be the Dark Knight for Superman films. The trailers hinted such
depth and exploration into the fascinating character of Kal-El and we
were exposed to some of Synder's killer action sequences. The music was
something I was worried and the more I was exposed to Zack Snyder's
films- "300", "Watchmen", "Legend of the Guardians" and "Dawn of the
Dead", the more I was worried about the quality of the film. However,
Nolan's touch in the film kept my hopes high.
As everyone knows, 'Man of Steel' tells us the story of Kal-El, the last son of Krypton, and his coming to Earth and him becoming a godlike protector for humans. General Zod and his men, the few other Kryptonians to have escaped, are in search for Kal-El as they attempt to retrieve something that was taken from them. Something which would lead Earth to a terrible fate and something which would lead Krypton to a glorious fate.
The first hour of this film is pure brilliance, even if flawed. Some questions are still left unanswered such as why the council sentenced Zod and his men to the Phantom Zone if they were in anyway aware of their ability to escape following the destruction of Krypton. However, the first hour generally displays Nolan's touch into the film, providing some emotionally powerful sequences of Kal-El being an outcast, throughout his early days of high school to his adulthood. Generally kept very quiet, this hour truly helped us get a better understanding of the character especially as he wanders off into the North Arctic, where he confronts a spiritual creation of his biological father, Jor-El, played by Russel Crowe. Here, he becomes Superman and here he comes to learn of his whereabouts and the reasons behind being sent here.
Thankfully, we are emotionally invested in various characters. Others such as Perry White and Lois Lane are also presented nicely, though we yet to know much about them asides from Lois attempting to track down Kal-El. The point is, this hour is quiet, emotional and a very realistic take on Kal-El, unlike previous Superman films.
The next hour is generally, action packed. This is where much of the critics have argued about the film, stating that there is simply too much action sequences to comprehend. Whilst it is action packed, it generally does have a story behind it except for one elongated sequence with Kal-El fighting part of the World Machine, unleashed by Zod, as he plans to terraform Earth into Krypton. This sequence proved tensionless, dull and an attempt to visually engage its audience.
The idea of Zod and his men terraforming Earth is an incredibly clever plot and the best thing here is, Zod's motivation. He is presented as a genetically bred and engineered man, assigned with the duty of keeping his people safe. Christopher Reeve as Superman was patriotic to America as Zod is to Krypton. His motivations are made clear, not by dialogue, but by facial expressions and actions committed. However, despite having a motivation behind him, he proves to be a rather underwhelming villain for the film, seeing as how he doesn't pose much of a threat but rather, his right hand man, Faora does. She was more intimidating than Zod simply was and Antje Traue portrayed her perfectly.
Most of the performances in the film are great. Crowe, Costner, Cavill and Fishburne are fantastic in their roles. Costner and Crowe give such great advice throughout the course of the film and are portrayed as such loving parents as is Diane Lane, who portrays Martha Kent. This was one of the film's strongest aspects and that is the loving relationship between a mother and a son. When Zod finally threatens her in search for the Codex (which would revive Krypton), it was such a delight to see Superman attack Zod in anger. The scene featuring a young Kal-El unable to control his overwhelming power is now related here as Zod is temporarily weakened by his inability to control his senses. This is the brilliance of telling the flashbacks in a non-linear structure as they each provide emotionally impact to what is happening to Kal-El in the present day.
However, there were a few performances that could have been better, most notably Michael Shannon (who was surprisingly underwhelming) and Amy Adams, who despite doing a decent job, often shows no chemistry around Cavill. It was revealed in an interview that she hardly acted with Cavill, and green screen was instead used.
The first hour was perfectly paced, keeping things nice and quiet as well as relatively slow. However, the last hour feels a bit too rushed in the process of creating larger than life action sequences, which was a delight to finally see in a Superman film. The final confrontation between Zod and Kal-El was proving incredibly exciting but was over too quick in the most controversial way. I personally loved it.
John Williams' iconic Superman theme is one that I listen to everyday, regardless of where I am. I just love it so much. Whilst I do understand how such a theme would not fit in this universe created, I personally had a bit of trouble with Zimmer's score, which was somewhat distracting at times. It generally proved to overpower scenes, especially one where Kal-El is launched into Earth.
Whilst I had numerous issues with the film, there was so much to enjoy about the film and is a unique and exciting take on Superman that unfortunately does lose most of the charm of the previous. The action, visuals, storytelling and performances are generally fantastic making 'Man of Steel' an enjoyable summer blockbuster, even if its overall a disappointment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For quite some time, I wanted to make a start to Michael Shannon's
filmography and I heard that starting with Take Shelter is the perfect
entrance and exposure to his acting. Now, I am truly convinced he is
one of the great actors working today.
Michael Shannon plays a father and worker named Curtis who is constantly disturbed by apocalyptic visions of thunder and a tornado. Believing his family to be in danger from either the tornado and thunder or from himself, he attempts to create a shelter for his family as everyone around him believes him to be a madman.
The story is simple yet very effective around the fantastic characters created in this film. Director Jeff Nichols allows the story to meet the characters rather than the other way, creating some sympathetic characters especially Shannon's Curtis is brilliant portrayed as a desperate and deeply troubled man. Shannon gives perhaps the most intense performance of the year without ever going over the top and without ever acting out of character. In fact, apart from one scene which Shannon shines more so than in the rest of the film, he is incredibly quiet, giving a very realistic and convincing performance. Subtlety is the key with Shannon.
The supporting cast all do a fine job and Jessica Chastain gives a very strong performance as Curtis' wife, Samantha. Their relationship is greatly explored in the film, providing much of the heart of the film. I expected to be intrigued by the story but never did I expect to be emotionally invested in any of the characters. I was so invested that by the end of the film, I was in complete shock and awe as to what has happened and what I have witnessed.
The directing in the film by Jeff Nichols is absolutely wonderful, keeping an engaging and simplistic premise active for an entire 2 hours without ever having to resort to violence or any of the modern Hollywood scams. Intensity, mystery, emotion and danger are all powerful presences in the film thanks widely to a great script, fantastic directing and an amazing performance by Michael Shannon. The dream sequences presented in the film, where Curtis receives apocalyptic visions take it to another level of intensity and danger, as we feel more and more pity for Curtis.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watchmen joins Avatar and Up into a list of most overrated films of the
year. Zack Synder provides what is considered a faithful adaptation of
the comic, Watchmen in an extremely dark, gritty and surprisingly slow
Watchmen tells the story of a group of people who vowed to protect their city as Roscharch (Jackie Earl Haley) goes on an investigation following the death of one of the Watchmen.
I found a problem with Watchmen in its pacing which can simply be described as, inconsistent. At times, the film is intriguing yet at other times, it drags along providing nothing engaging. The story itself is overly dark and attempts to visually look impressive, like most Synder films do. The script is rather well written, has some impressive dialogue but the overall execution of the story is where this film ultimately fails for me.
A film with a 3 hour duration needs many things to keep audiences engaged: great characters, a fascinating story all throughout and a well paced story. The characters in this film certainly have plenty of depth in them...but perhaps a bit too much making them rather difficult to follow a first time. The story itself is at times, overly complicated and at other times, presented as a straightforward story. Whilst great to see that Synder can add depth into a film, it is also difficult to take in as much depth as he provides. The story, at times dull and at times intriguing comes off inconsistent, poorly directed and poorly written.
The performances however are great and realistic, providing some good things for the film. That said, the film as a whole simply didn't connect with me. That said, it is most likely to connect to comic book fans as it provides some great action sequences and a deep story, telling us that it is a well adapted film
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I loved the first Avengers films and really enjoyed the first two Iron
Man films, even if I have no nostalgic attachment to the character of
Tony Stark. I had decided before the release of this film, to not watch
any trailers and to have no idea of what movie to expect. Seeing as
this review has come a little late, it will be SPOILER HEAVY! I was
thoroughly disappointed by this film and would call it the worst of the
trilogy...yes, worse than Iron Man 2.
SPOILER HEAVY: Since the events of 'The Avengers' and the alien attack of NY, Tony Stark has faced nightmares but only realizes that his nightmare is about to get worse as the Mandarin has shown his face and has begun to cause chaos. Tony Stark must find the Mandarin who turns out to simply be a drunk, idiotic actor playing out the bodyguard role.
The first hour had some laughs and had some good action and overall was heading off in a nice direction, even if the pacing was rather slow. The jokes came together nicely and I was expecting something nice and a great second half. However, the moment the plot twist happens I come to realize that there is no way that this film could pick itself up again. "Why do we fall?" "To show Iron Man 3 that we can pick ourselves up again" This plot twist is so absurd and such a slap in the face to Iron Man comic fans who have grown to love the villain, The Mandarin. Without being a fan of Iron Man, I myself found the entire second half of the film pretty bad.
The Mandarin's presence was definitely felt and I expected something that would end perfectly with some fun action, a sense of intensity and purpose but following the twist, the jokes went dry, the action sequences became rather engaging and Guy Pearce's villain was completely uninteresting and just not the same threat of the drunk actor.
This proves that Director Shane Black gave no consideration as to how his audiences may have felt, seeing as many were fans of Iron Man and the Mandarin. The overall direction that the film takes is poor. A great first half and a very poor second half.
Robert Downry Jr is fantastic as Tony Stark, and he will always be. Ben Kingsley was just brilliant as the drunk idiot and Guy Pearce did a great job, even if his character wasn't anything. Visually, this movie looks gorgeous and the attack on Stark's house and saving the passengers on the plane scenes were breathtaking however nothing else in the film comes off as memorable.
Iron Man 3 suffers from poor writing, poor execution and just a terrible plot twist that makes what could possibly have been one of the best 2013 films, one of the most disappointing. This plot twist made me appreciate the twist in The Dark Knight Rises all the more...something which I hated.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Reading the top reviews, I cannot quite understand what moron would
honestly consider Commando to be the greatest film ever made. Well, one
of these IMDb users is a complete moron to say that Commando is by far,
the greatest film ever made. That being said, Commando is a movie that
is Arnold back in his glory days and is simply, a ton of fun.
Commando tells the story of Arnold Schwarzenegger who plays a retired Black Ops soldier named John Matrix who goes on a killing spree in desperate search for his lost daughter, who was kidnapped by a group of terrorists as a means to get John Matrix. Matrix finds no way other than to kill everyone as a means to get his daughter back and begins to do just that!
The story is simple, effective and a ton of fun. However, the best parts of the story aren't the action but simply, the character moments especially those between Jenny and John. Whilst this is rather clichéd stuff, it surprisingly works well in this film with Arnold giving a good enough performance for us to buy him as a fatherly figure. His friendship and how it builds between Cindy, a flight attendant off work is also done rather well, giving us a somewhat realistic take early on. Her character proves rather likable, playing the typical damsel in distress more than Jenny!
The action sequences are extremely low budgeted and come off looking extremely cheap, especially a sequence involving an explosion in a town. The effects looked absolutely horrendous but at the same time, makes for part of the fun. Arnold and his classic delivery of some of the cheesiest lines ever was just plain awesome. "Can you do me a favor? Please don't disturb my friend. He's "dead" tired!" The writing was actually rather good, surely providing some of the cheesiest lines but at the same time, being aware of what kind a film this truly is. I really loved Commando for one reason...well two reasons! Arnold and the film's unapologetic message of ruthless badassery!
Commando is a film that is definitely worth a check but it most definitely isn't a film anywhere near the style and brilliance of some of his other films, especially Terminator and Terminator 2.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I may have been the only person up until now to never have seen Avatar,
not because I haven't had time but simply because, I just didn't feel
it was necessary. I had loved James Cameron's earlier films
(Terminator, Aliens and T2) and whilst True Lies was a good fun film,
it was overlong. The same can be said about Titanic and it was by this
point that I came to realize that James Cameron was one of the most
overrated directors in the business. I can now say that Avatar joins
his list of overrated films giving us nothing but visuals to drool at.
A group of marines are sent down to a planet called Pandora in search for some precious material and paraplegic Jake Sully is one of them since he becomes a replacement for his dead brother. Here, Jake begins to bond with the native Na'vis as he learns about their lifestyle and falls in love with Neytiri whilst failing to obey orders given to him.
Here is a premise that has been done before but the issue to Avatar arises with James Cameron and his overuse of CGI to dazzle his audiences. Since 2009, it has become absurd to think how people have truly fallen in love with this film hailing it as one of the greatest ever! This has always annoyed me but having seen the movie, this is absurd. If the visual effects to Avatar weren't as dazzling and there was no 3D to marvel at, then you have a movie that is absolutely nothing special. Whilst I am not criticizing the visuals, the story is so poorly told and the characters are stereotypical, with none of the characters coming off as interesting in the slightest. Even Neytiri, who we as an audience should be able to connect to, comes off as rather irritating. Whilst Cameron's earlier films, mainly the first two Terminator films and Aliens were able to convey emotion effortlessly making it very subtle and natural, Avatar truly overdoes it making many of the sequences involving the natives mourning rather laughable.
Though audiences have drooled about the visuals and the 3D effects, I myself saw no true brilliance about each whether it was due to the fact that I knew the overuse of CGI or whether it was the fact that I was able to concentrate on the story and characters. The film itself is paced quite poorly and inconsistently. The first hour drags along as Jake attempts to get in with the natives and the last hour and a half suddenly becomes a much livelier and more action packed feast than it was before. The problem with this is that the first half of the film doesn't provide much about Jake Sully to truly care for him and too much is given about Neytiri and her people that it comes to the point where it becomes rather difficult to take in anymore. This is overkill! Even with the poor story and attempt to overly humanize the Na'vi by providing possibly too much story, the action sequences towards the end of this film are truly engaging even if the characters in them aren't. It is mindless eye candy thrown onto the screen simply because Cameron knew that there was no way that the film would be received the same without a huge 'Helm's Deep' of his own. Whilst 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers' had an engaging story, relatable characters, great character development, great performances, strong writing and directing that eventually deserves to be payed off with a huge action feast, Avatar rarely accomplishes any of the following I listed and so the huge action feast at the end is Cameron's way of attempting to erase his audience's mind of all the poor things about this film.
I am rather surprised to say this but most of the performances in the film come off as extremely poor when compared to Cameron's other films such as Aliens which had some of his better performances by actors. Sam Worthington isn't anything special as Jake Sully. I am still unsure on who to blame for not being able to like Jake. Sigourney Weaver, surprisingly, gives an extremely poor performance when compared with her performances in the Alien franchise. Most of the performances were extremely weird making the characters they played hard for me to take in seriously.
Those who simply praise the brilliant visuals and simply forget about the poor story and poor character development are those who do not truly think about this film and give it a simple pass for its revolutionary visuals. I just ask of them to view the film had the visuals not being at the standard that they were. As a young George Lucas once said, "Visual effects are used to tell a story. Special effects without a story is a pretty boring thing!" We all know what became of this man later in his life but this is a principle that James Cameron himself followed, until Avatar came along.
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