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The Yellow Birds (2017)
I agree with all the criticisms made in the user reviews. But my main problem with this film was the darkness of it. A black cloud seemed to form over my TV set. War movies are darkoften grim. But the whole mood of this one was a dark downer.
Judging from the comments, people either loved this movie or hated it. I've never seen such a disparity of ratings, lots of tens and lots of ones and twos with little in between.
I gave it a ten. Superb work. The special effects are stunning. The settings are excellent. The photography and editing are superb. It's certainly in my top five war movies!
Elisa y Marcela (2019)
This is a powerful and beautifully done film. It is shot in black and white which somehow enhances the whole thing. It would have had far less impact had it been done in colour. The camera work is wonderfully creative, reminiscent of the classic still images of Ansel Adams or Edward Weston who were masters of black and white. There is a lot of graphic lesbian sex, maybe too much, but all of it is tasteful and enhances the long, sad story of the film (and I am someone who normally dislikes graphic "humping scenes" hetero or homo.) This film is a triumph of cinematic art!
Brooklyn's Finest (2009)
Can you somehow insert a -1 rating???
This ghastly, gory, grotesque film is a perfect example of the accelerating decline of the United States. (Interesting that I watched it the same day 11 people were shot and killed in Virginia Beach VA.)
Blatant multiple murders, bodies and blood strewn stage right and stage left, I don't think there was one closed-caption display that didn't contain the F-word or one of its incestuous variations. Lots of sex, including an on camera blow job. Police are portrayed as corrupt and violent. New York becomes a vast and dangerous hell hole. I was revolted by the whole thing and stayed with it only to see how bad it would get would get.
The film It met my worst expectations. This is not realism, or graphic imagery or even an "adult" film. It is low class violence, porn and profanity which has nothing good to say about anybody or any place
The Perfection (2018)
Strange... very strange...
This is one of the oddest films I've ever seen. Is it about music? Is it a lesbian romance? A horror picture? All of the above. And then some! If you don't know ahead of time, I'd challenge anybody to guess where the story line goes next. It takes many major twists and turns.
They also did a fine job of setting much of the action in Shanghai and China while never actually leaving British Columbia.
Just two objections.... repetitive and needless use of the "f-word" mostly by female cast members and some excessively graphic, bloody, unexplained and violent injuries. But it certainly is intriguing if somewhat strange and far fetched.
Not a bad movie..,.clever plot...well acted...well produced. But again the Canadian inferiority complex screams from the screen. The film was shot mostly in Toronto. I recognized many areas. But it is set in New York City. Why do Canadian filmmakers do this time and time again. If American filmmakers want to shoot in Canada and disguise Toronto as New York, fine. But this was a Canadian produced and Canadian tax supported production. So why wasn't it set in Toronto? Can you imagine Australia doing this? Or India? Or any other country? It is craven and embarrassing. Films should be a window on the country that produces them. What is the point of a Canadian film industry if it does not showcase Canada?
Da hong zha (2018)
Overdone but well done
I was amazed at the almost universal bad reviews. Admittedly this is not a great war movie, at least by western standards. But the effects are superb (if indeed overdone.) The bombing is scary and the aerial combat is hectic. (This must have been computer generated. There is no way you could put that many planes in the air, zooming, diving, shooting, bombing, burning and crashing. The aerial combat scenes are tense and exciting.
This was essentially a Chinese movie. Some of the dialogue and scenes reflect that. They would be Hollywood no-no's.. But it just makes the film that much more interesting. Not a great war movie, perhaps. Yet an impressive, interesting and very different piece of cinema.
The Deep Blue Sea (2011)
Like a fine oil painting
A fine oil painting takes time. But it has unmatched depth, texture and atmosphere. Its brush strokes are creative and unique.
This film is to cinema what classic oils are to art, It moves very slowly. It evokes its own rich and dark mood on a unique cinematic canvas. It is staged and photographed magnificently and performed with depth and power. Not the sort of thing for people who like car chases and gunfire. But a rare treat for anyone who savours cinematic artistry
Superb with one huge fault
This was an absolute knock-out sci-fi flick with incredibly great effects. I'm still very curious how they simulated weightlessness so very effectively (and disappointed this was not revealed on IMDB. )
Sure, the plot is far fetched. But this is science-fantasy fergawdsakes.
What turned me off and stopped me from rating it a 10 is the constant, needless profanity. The F-word bounces around as much as it does in a gangster movie. It serves no purpose. It ignores the fact that this film will have strong appeal for youngsters and also that highly trained scientists would be very unlikely to use crude street language and certainly not with the frequency they do in the movie. But other than that, this is an edge of your seat, nail-biting, spectacular work.
Movie 43 (2013)
Disgusting, vulgar, crude, tasteless, sick, depraved,.... A film that has all the charm of a public urinal and the artistic merit of a gob of vomit. Why would even the sickest minds in Hollywood conceive of such a movie? Or work on it? Or perform in it? Or show it? There are some big names such as Kate Winslett whom I used to regard as a classy lady. No more! I feel embarrassed having watched it (or most of it) and almost felt the need to clean the filth off my TV screen after I did. I have no objection to some profanity or occasional graphic sex. But this is an interminable and pointless parade of filth and vulgarity. If the ancient Romans had had movies, this is the sort of thing they would have produced during the amoral fall of their decadent empire. What does that say about the American empire? If you have to choose between watching this disgusting movie or spending an hour reading the graffiti in a filthy public toilet, choose the toilet!
This is a superbly produced film but an irresponsibly violent one. Gunshots. Knives. Blood. Sex that leaves nothing to the imagination. Usually I just turn it off when I stumble into something like this. But I wanted to see just how far it would go. Too far! Equally disturbing is the number of people here on IMDB who have praised it and given it a high rating or tried to justify it as a "comic book on film." My 5 is more than it deserves. Yet the production values, the far out characters and the effects are excellent. Hollywood continues to glorify extreme violence while lamenting almost daily mass shootings. Gore and gunfire are okay in a war movie or even in small doses in crime or horror films. But this is a non stop bloodbath from start to finish.
American Assassin (2017)
Makes the NHL look like a park
If you are the sort of person who goes to a hockey game to watch the fights rather than the game, this is your movie. Fists fly. Knives flash. Guns bark. There is absurd, non stop, pointless fighting throughout. Do movies like this reflect our violent society or create it?
I have given it an otherwise undeserved 4 because of some excellent special effects at the end and some effective use of exotic locations. But other than that, it has all the good taste and artistic appeal of a bar brawl.
Darkest Hour (2017)
A well done piece of fiction
When history provides drama, suspense and spectacle in abundancer, why does Hollywood try to improve on it? Gary Oldman is superb as Churchill. The settings and the atmosphere are first rate. The cinematography is rich and compelling. They have done a superb job of fictionalizing history!. But why? The scene in the Underground was compelling. But it never happened. Edward R.Murrow wrote some of the best words of the millions written on World War II. Yet his memorable line about Churchill mobilizing the English language is attributed to Lord Halifax. King George had a speech impediment yet there is no hint of it in this movie. There are many other goofs and gaffes. You can excuse the occasional wrong auto model year or minor geographic discrepancy. You can even put a certain spin on history. But a supposedly serious movie like this should not stray from the basic facts.
Stupendously over the top!
Amazed by the overwhelming number of bad reviews. This was a great film. The only thing missing was James Bond. Lots of action. Neat gadgets. Exotic locations. Hateful villains, Surprise plot twists. Interesting snips of history. Superb staging and photography. It's a far fetched fantasy. Tom Hanks and friends save the world. But what better way to spend a dreary fall evening?
The Hippopotamus (2017)
Delightful British nonsense
If you dislike or don't understand British humour, you'll rate this a 1. But if you accept the fact that the Brits are all a bit mad --- I mean,who else could have dreamt up Monty Python? --- you will enjoy it immensely: the totally absurd story, the British prototypes, the brilliantly rich and round use of the English language. Having said that, there was excessive and unnecessary use of the"'f word"
If you don't understand British humour, there is no way to explain it.But if you do, you'll love this film and consider it a masterpiece of the genre.
Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)
Despite being no fan of Michael Moore --- he is to journalism as Bugs Bunny is to serious drama --- I took in his new film, Fahrenheit 11/9.
At least the title...a clever play on his earlier film Fahrenheit 9/11...was an interesting turn.
But the rest of it is a tawdry sequence of news clips taken out of context and interviews with loaded questions. And there was the now standard stunt cliche as Moore, in his usual slob attire, turns up at the Michigan state capitol to make a citizen's arrest of the governor.
The baseball cap is getting a little tired Mikey and you really should do something about the wrinkles and the weight you've added since your last film.
11/9 loses its way in the story of Flint Michigan's tainted water and West Virginia's teachers' strike. Nor is it strictly a Trump hatchet job. Moore makes a pretty messy attack on Barack Obama as well.
Moore strains credulity with his long comparison of Hitler and Trump and of the Reichstag fire and 9/11. Lip synching Trump's voice in an image of Hitler giving a speech --- and it was not very well done --- was a bit much even for Moore.
I'm no fan of Trump but I also am no fan of sleazy journalism and Moore excels at that.
The Angel (2018)
Gritty spy story
This film has all the ingredients of a good cloak and dagger movie yet does not overdo the violence or the sex. James Bond it ain't but there still is plenty of suspense and treachery. It's based on a true event prior to the war between Israel and Egypt and the understated style actually adds to the tension. Nor does it follow the standard portrayal of Israel as the perfect democracy that can do no wrong isolated and surrounded by scheming, evil Arab dictatorships. There are lots of bad guys on both sides. It's a well done espionage nail biter.
Una Mujer Fantástica (2017)
This is a difficult subject very well and tastefully handled. It explores the complex world of the trans-gendered honestly and most effectively without any lewd or graphic scenes. But it doesn't pull any punches either. The story is both tender and tragic. The film work is delicate and creative although it overdoes the use of mirrors. There are any number of scenes in which the character's image is creatively reflected in a mirror. Does any city really have that many mirrors? Beautiful work but it becomes an end in itself rather than a technique for advancing the story with unique and creative shots.
A bonus is the setting in Santiago Chile, a city I always have wanted to see. There are many scenes of roadways, buildings, parks and places. I now want to see Santiago more than ever. This is not for everyone. But if you understand the LGBTQ world and appreciate creative film work, you will savour it
The Lodgers (2017)
This is one weird movie. That's not to say it isn't good because it is. It's super spooky and leaves many unanswered questions. But it is original, it is well cast and well acted and the cinematography is superb.
The Beyond (2017)
I read a lot of science fiction but avoid most sci-fi films because 90% of them are awful. This one is not bad and it uses a couple of unique techniques.
The basic story: Discovery of what appears to be a wormhole close to earth. I won't reveal more than that. There are some excellent effects. The ending is not what you expect. And the story is told essentially with a series of "clips" of people being interviewed. That sounds awkward. It's unconventional. Some viewers may be uncomfortable with it. But it works.
People who don't like science fiction won't like it or "get" it. Others will find the story and the way it is told intriguing.
How It Ends (2018)
Loved it, hated it...
This is a very well done nail biter. The cinematography and scenery are great, the acting is excellent, the effects are impressive.
But they have smeared an otherwise excellent film with excessive use of the "f-word" Over and over as a noun, an adjective, a verb, a modifier, an exclamation. Here and there? Okay!. In almost every line of dialogue? Objectionable! And although youngsters might enjoy it, they should not be exposed to this torrent of profanity. I doubt if there is as much foul language on a warship as there is in this film.
Although it's an apocalypse story, it assumes that in the face of cataclysm, everybody turns into a self centered, villainous bad guy. If something like this did indeed happen, there would be lots of good guys too.
It's also puzzling why two of the main characters vanish in mid plot for no discernable dramatic reason.
As for the ending (or lack of it), it failed to produce the dramatic impact that I'm sure was intended.
I would have given it an 8 were it not for the pointless bad language.
The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
This horrid film is a prime example of the depths to which the movie industry so often falls. The plot --- super secure security --- is absurd. It may hold the Guinness record for the most times the "f-word" is used. It also brims with pointless, needless, excess violence. The acting is mediocre. The production is overdone. Offensive. Absurd. Without merit.
Shanghai Express (1932)
A double header...
Trains intrigue me and my hobby is photography. This is a train movie. It also is a fantastic body of superb photography. This was done in 1932, an era of slow emulsions and balky cameras. Yet it outshines most of what is done today and also illustrates that black and white can indeed outdo colour photography. Some of the shots are reminiscent of Karsh, Eisenstadt and Ansel Adams. Filling the water tank of a locomotive is hardly a glamorous business. But here it has been turned into mysterious, shadowy artistry. There are angles and techniques seventy years ahead of their time.
This is not a memorable story. Yet the cast creates an interesting bunch of characters and although shot in an American rail station, captures a very believable oriental atmosphere with throngs of extras and unrelenting background sound. This indeed is a museum piece. But so is the Mona Lisa.
First They Killed My Father (2017)
A splendid if somewhat overly long film. It has captured the horrors of the Cambodian nightmare and pointed an accusing finger at the United States and Richard Nixon. The truly stunning aspect of this film is the superb cast of child actors, especially when you consider they are from a culture with little cinematic background or culture and one where young children are more likely to become workers rather than actors. There also is superb film work with wonderful light and shadows, effective lines and patterns and unique aerial shots that look straight down from perhaps a thousand feet on the chequerboard of violence and death with no camera motion. Drones??? Helicopter? It's a unique and effective technique. A well done chronicle of a grim and gory piece of history!
The Sense of an Ending (2017)
When the BBC logo flashes on the screen, you know you're in for a great evening of movie watching. This is a rather odd title for a rather odd, but excellent , movie.
Its all very British: the plot, the settings, the actors. Essentially its the story of a sixtyish man recapping his life as a student. Its very well done with frequent and cleverly done flashbacks. Yet, unlike many films with flashbacks, there is no choppiness or confusion. Its very British. Many Americans may just not get it. But I found it made a provocative, interesting, compelling evening.