Reviews written by registered user
jdj2122

7 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

Labor Day (2013)
60 out of 74 people found the following review useful:
Much better than I expected, 15 September 2013
9/10

The movie Labor Day stars Kate Winslet, Gattlin Griffith, and Josh Brolin. When I saw this film yesterday, I was lucky enough to have the director, Jason Reitman, get up on stage and introduce the movie. He made it clear that this film was not a comedy, but a romantic drama that he made with tons of passion. For what it is, I think the film is amazing. I will warn you, this is a film was made for women, but guys can appreciate it too.

So this movie was fun to watch. There was a lot of tension, and the actors did a good job of making even the unbelievable situations seem natural. There was a mystery that unfolded over the course of the movie, and the film was able to create real emotion and genuine shock from the audience. There is also great cinematography, nice subplots, and a final quarter that keeps you guessing. I'm not exaggerating any of this, so seriously ignore the critics and give this film a chance.

The main thing that is wrong with the film is a certain level of disbelief, but it doesn't require more suspension of disbelief than any of the big blockbuster movies. It could also get cheesy and a little uncomfortable to watch at times, but it is still a great movie. i hope Jason Reitman continues to make great movies, as he has not made a single misstep in his career yet.

This is a good movie to take a girl to on a date, and I'm sure you both could enjoy it. It is a little like a Nicolas Sparks book except with Oscar level acting, directing, cinematography, and screen writing, so if that sounds like your kind of thing, I highly recommend this movie, and reward it with an 8.7/10 stars.

10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Excellent study on memory and perception, 15 September 2013
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this review I'm gonna make sure I say everything I didn't say in the previous review. First of all, I find that it becomes easier to find good things about this movie, and harder to find things wrong with this movie, the more i reflect upon the film. Also, I found that this half of the film was the weaker half.

Most of Her was great just like Him. The acting was spectacular (especially Viola Davis), and there was the same great writing and directing. I found that Her was slightly worse than Him, for a couple reasons. First of all, I thought Him was funnier, and I found that it had a bit better music. Secondly, I found that Him resolved it's subplots better, and had a more interesting main plot. My main problem with the film though, is that I watched it immediately after watching Him. This is a problem firstly because, I started to become bored three- quarters of the way into Her, but that's because I had been watching the film for 2 hours and 45 minuets.

Another interesting fact about the movie is that in Him, the husband seems to be in the right with the wife being in the wrong, and in Her, it is the other way around. This means that since I watched Him first, I liked Her a bit less. It could be very possible that if you watched Her first, you would like it better than Him. That point brings me to one of the best factors of the movie, which is even the scenes that were the same in each part, were different in each part. Think of this movie as two people going through a divorce. Him is the husband's side in the divorce, and Her is the wife's side. When the husband tells his story, he leaves out key pieces of information, lying by omission to make him self look better. When we hear the woman's side of the story, we hear about all the things that the man did wrong, but the woman also lies by omission to make herself look better. In the two parts of the film, when we do see scenes that are in both parts of the film, there are subtly changes in the dialogue, showing that there are two sides to every story, two perceptions to every event, and two truths in every situation.

Both parts of this movie are truly spectacular achievements in film making, and I feel sorry for you if you do not end up thinking this is a good movie. Again, I highly recommend watching both parts of the film in theaters, as it is an unforgettable experience. Both these films a strong individually, but even more so together, which makes it harder to give each film an individual rating. This is an 8.5/10 star film, that I am happy to have got to see at TIFF.

Joe (2013/I)
37 out of 70 people found the following review useful:
A little too disturbing for my taste, 15 September 2013
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My next review is for what is probably the weirdest film I saw at TIFF. Joe stars Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan, and has a very similar concept to that as Mud. Basically a 15 year old boy movies to a small Texas town with his abusive father where he makes new friends and new enemies.

I'll start with what I liked about the movie. The directing was great, and so was the cinematography. There were many beautiful shots and the clarity of each image was stunning. Also, the acting was really good. Nicolas Cage played a very unique character named Joe, and Tye Sheridan was perfect as his younger companion. Even the bad guys played their roles with a lot of depth. I also thought The writer and director did a good job at creating the universe. It was very dark, disturbing, and not one character felt like they weren't needed or were out of place.

The dark and disturbing universe creating in the movie was also what I had a problem with. There was so much killing, and sex, and drugs, and violence in the movie that sometimes it was out of place. It starts with a father beating his son, and ends with the attempted gang-rape of a 15 year old girl, multiple shooting related deaths, and a suicide. The amount of violence that fills the rest of the two hours is just shocking. I also found it was a lot weaker than Mud in one important aspect; it didn't explore as many themes or have a big moral. Sitting here right now, I can't think of anything important the movie had to say.

At least the movie is very well directed, written, and created, despite having many unnecessary scenes. The acting is what really saves the movie though, and because of that I'll rate the film 7.6/10 stars.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Better half of a 2 part film, 15 September 2013
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the first half of a 2-part movie, starring James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is actually 2 movies, one from the husband's perspective and one from the wife's perspective. I bought a ticket to see this film because it sounded like an interesting concept to see the same movie twice from different perspectives, and I figured I would get 2 movies for the price of one. I thought I knew what I was in for when I went to this movie, but it surprised me in many ways.

This review is obviously for the part told from the husband's perspective.The first thing that pleasantly surprised me was the music. The songs accompany the movie perfectly, and add to the emotional depth of the story. The script is also surprisingly funny, and occasionally hilarious. I was not expecting that, but it made both parts of the movie very watchable. I applaud Ned Benson's first feature-length script, and his directing was amazing too. I'm highly anticipating his next project. The acting was also perfect, and very realistic. Both the leads, and the supporting cast (mainly Bill Hader), were the perfect choices for their roles.

My main problem with the film, wasn't with this part exactly, but with the 190 minuet length of the two parts combined, although this is counteracted by the emotional depth that can be dug within over 3 hours of its run-time. Also, this isn't a movie that general audiences will like at all. I'm sure that most people will be very bored by this movie and absolutely hate it. If you like indie films though, this is a movie for you. I highly recommend seeing the movie in theaters, because it is so unique and interesting to watch. Another good thing is that this one part alone felt like a full length 2 hour movie (but is was only 95 minuets), so if you only want to watch one part, this part is still worth watching, but it wont have as much meaning as it would if you watched both parts. Overall this film deserves an 8.8/10 star rating, and please go see this movie in theaters next year to support all who were involved in the making of this film.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Fun-filled kung-fu movie aimed at guys, 13 September 2013
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Man of Tai Chi starring Keanu Reeves and Tiger Chen is the first movie I got to watch from this years Toronto International Film Festival. I just finished the movie about an hour ago, and I'm happy to say this film was a good appetizer for the buffet of films for me to see at TIFF. It's not a movie that's going to be considered for any Academy Awards like the other 6 movies I'll be seeing this weekend, but its got a neat script, great direction from Keanu Reeves, and tons of cool action.

The film is about a pure-hearted man named Tiger who winds up having to work as a fighter for Keanu Reeves. This is because Tiger needs money to preserve the temple he has always trained in. I actually thought the story was pretty cool, and there were enough twist in the story to keep me interested in more than just the fighting scenes. Even though the story was interesting, the fighting is the real reason to see the movie, as it is absolutely stunning and choreographed beautifully. Keanu Reevess definitely has tons of talent as a director and I cannot wait to see his future projects. This movies is pure adrenalin fueled fun.

One problem with this movie is that it is mostly a guy movie. If you like kung-fu movies, or you are any other sort of guy, you will probably like this movie, but women be warned, this doesn't have anything for your tastes. Also, the acting isn't top notch, and the writing is mainly just a tool for getting from one fight scene to the next, but it terms of kung-fu movies, this is a must see. When this comes out in North American theaters, I recommend going to see it with some friends, because it will be a fun time at the movies. I will reward this film with a 7.5/10 star rating.

Gravity (2013)
12 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
wow, omg, amazing, 20 September 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gravity is the final movie I saw at TIFF, and it was also by far the best. Starring George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, and Ed Harris, this is a non-stop thrill ride that I have so many good things to say about. The story is about 2 astronauts who have to survive in space after having debris rash into their spaceship. Now if you think this movie will be anything like Buried or if you think nothing will happen with two people floating in space, you are wrong. So much happens in the film that it feels much longer than its short 90 minuet length.

The best part of the movie is easily the cinematography. The entire movie looks amazing from start to finish. Not just amazing, but better than any movie ever, even Pacific Rim. There is also minimum cutting and there are camera shots that go for a couple minuets, which makes the film feel completely real. Also, seeing it in 3D gives you an experience beyond belief. For these reasons alone I could highly recommend you see this movie in theaters. But the reasons don't stop there. The acting is amazing, just as good as 12 Years a Slave. The writing is also great. The attention to detail is unbelievable. The plot twist are plentiful and you don't see them coming. So much happens in this movie that you will want to watch it again immediately after seeing it the first time.

I've heard some people complain that the movie is too unrealistic, due to there being tons of debris flying around destroying everything but never hitting Bullock's character. Despite this fact, everything else in the movie feels entirely realistic. Also, the movie builds up tension so high to play on the audiences emotions of fear and excitement. The movie is an extremely visceral experience, so breathtaking and brilliant, it has become the best movie I've seen this year. So many parts of this movie are unbelievable, and I can't recommend this movie enough. 9.8/10 stars.

2 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Well made slavery picture, 19 September 2013
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

12 Years a Slave is that movie that I hear is currently the front runner for best picture of the year at the Academy Awards. I thought my expectations were to high going in to this movie, and that I might leave the theater disappointed, and I did end up a little disappointed when the movie ended. The cast is huge, but Chiwetel Ejiofor is the main lead, while Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Fassbender deserve special mentions. Many people will probably enjoy this film better than I did, but as a current student of American history, I did not find the violence to be very shocking or powerful to me.

In case you don't already know, the movie is about a free black man in New York who is kidnapped and sold into slavery for 12 years. This is by no means a bad movie, as a matter of fact, the good strongly outweighs the bad. First of all, the directing is excellent. There were many shots that stuck with me, but there are two in particular I would like to mention. There is one scene where Ejiofor's character is chained in a dungeon screaming for help, and the camera slowly moves up to reveal that he is close to the White House. I thought this was an excellent commentary on how political leaders made this legal in America. The second shot was where it shows Ejiofor's character struggling to survive a hanging for several minuets, which I thought was extremely well done. Also, the acting was beyond astounding, especially from Cumberbatch and Fassbender. Both of them should win Oscars, but sadly only one will.

It is also important to mention that many viewers found the violence in the movie to be sickening, brutal, and devastating, and not always in a good way. This makes the movie very controversial. Luckily for me, I am very desensitized to violence in movie, and I could handle everything the movie threw at me. I also found that the movie started to get a little boring half way through, which was depressing because The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby was over 3 hours about a relationship, and this movie was still more boring. The movie overall was pretty much just a bunch of bad things that were done to slaves, and then it was over. See this movie in theaters, because even though I found it pretty boring, the movie still gets a rating of 8.1/10 stars for being an excellently directed and acted picture, if not a fun one.