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Bad Trip (2020)
Worst Thing to Happen in 2020
16 June 2020
If you thought the coronavirus was the worst thing to come in 2020, just wait until you watch this movie.
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One of Thimothy Spall's best performances
5 June 2020
The movie tells the story of Albert Pierrepoint, Britain's most prolific hangman. This may sound like the plot of a cheap exploitative movie but I can assure you this is a fantastic movie which respects the man, the profession, the people executed and deals with the conflicts this strange profession carries. Thimothy Spall, a fantastic and very underrated actor, gives one of the best performances of his career. I've seen this movie twice before and should definitely see it again. Highly recommended
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The Vampires Mockumentary
11 April 2020
In 2005, New Zealand's Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi wrote and directed a short (27 min) film called WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS. This is a mockumentary about a group of vampires who live in one house and try to adapt to the modern world. They played the lead roles along with the excellent Jonny Brugh.

In 2014, the short film became a full length film, with the same name and with the same cast of directors/writers/actors.

Following its success, the film became a TV series in 2019. Waititi was already busy with bigger projects - he directed THOR: RAGNAROK and JOJO RABBIT (he won an Oscar for the screenplay and was nominated in the best film category). Of the 10 episodes of Season 1, Waititi directed the pilot, episode 7 ("The Trial") and the final episode. Clement directed episodes 2-4.

In the TV series the cast is different and they don't play the same characters that were in the film but new characters, with the idea of the series continuing that of the film.

In episode 7 of Season 1, the three original actors appear as guests in the same roles from the original film, in addition to other well known actors who appear as vampires (whose name is the same as their name in real life) - all of them previously played vampires in other movies/TV series.

Another recurring role in Season 1: Doug Jones, who is already used to performing under heavy makeup, especially in the films of Guillermo del Toro.

Season 2 begins this week. Highly recommended.
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1917 (2019)
Technically impressive, emotionally empty
7 January 2020
"1917" is technically impressive. The entire movie is filmed with some clever cuts in a way that makes it look like a single shot (similar to the style of "Birdman"). This style and the impressive sets give it a lot of realism. Unfortunately, the movie is emotionally empty (with the exception of the two scenes) and the plot is paper thin. 5/10
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Star Wars: The Rise of Dr. Channard
19 December 2019
Star Wars: The Rise of Dr. Channard is an empty movie that concludes the trilogy of fan service rehash movies. Its biggest problem is that it so obviously tries to patch all the problems and mistakes of the previous movie which itself ruined key plots of the first movie. Doing that, it ignores and contradicts previous stuff. For example: Rey's family obviously had significance in the first movie, but turned out to be nothing in the second movie, only to actually be of significance in the third movie. This is a result of a story that is written in patches without any planning at all. The second problem is poor dialog and characters. Finn might be the worst character in movie history. He should be named "Mr. Exposition". He's only there to do exposition and repeat stuff that other characters say or explain what happens on the screen. This is the problem with most of the characters in the movie but Finn is by far the worst. Basically, the dialog is intended for 3-year olds and feeds you everything twice. "They fly now! They flying now? They fly now..." (a dialog by three characters on a flying speeder, amazed by flying Stormtroopers). Beside having scenes that have nothing to do with each other, the movie is also full of clichés, most notably characters thought to be dead who aren't and characters coming back from the dead - most notably Palpatine, who is basically Dr. Channard from Hellraiser II in this movie. All in all, this is a fan service movie. Fans would love it. Anyone else should treat it like the silly popcorn-chewing blockbuster movie that it is.
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The Irishman (2019)
The Irishman
21 November 2019
3.5 hours movie by Martin Scorsese for Netflix.
  • Basically, it's "Goodfellas" minus the energy and the violence.
  • Way too long. Should have been 105-120 min.
  • Flashback within a flashback within a flashback. DiCaprio almost came to start edit some dreams.
  • The makeup is fantastic. Both the digital de-aging and the real makeup.
  • Joe Pesci is fantastic.
  • Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino are good. This is probably DeNiro's best role in the last 20 years. Hey, he actually tries to act!
  • Harvey Keitel's role was too small
  • Watching it after you woke up at 2am is not the best idea, but at least I managed to gain some sleep during the movie.
5/10 ok-ish
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Not great, not terrible
12 October 2019
A single episode story stretched to 2 hours. It's not bad and not boring but really adds nothing new and serves more as a vehicle to show some of the series' old characters, some of them for single scenes. If you're a big "Breaking Bad" fan, I guess you'll like it.
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Highly recommended
12 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
In 2014, 17-year old Michelle Carter persuaded 18-year old Conrad Roy to commit suicide. He died in his pickup truck from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Despite getting out of the truck and trying to abandon his suicide attempt, she encouraged him to take his own life and made him promise to go through with it.

In 2017 She was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for manslaughter.

During the trial her text messages to him were presented. She texted him for hours until he went through with it.

The documentary is very detailed and revealed more stuff I wasn't aware of.

It's amazing how manipulative she was and how she prepared everything before and after his death.

Perhaps the most striking thing is how she sat with sealed face throughout the entire case and the first time she showed any emotion was when she realized she was found guily and felt sorry for herself. Too bad her sentence was so easy.

6.5/10 Highly recommended
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Not great, not terrible
1 September 2019
So what did we have? People driving, shots of Margot Robbie smiling to herself, shots of Margot Robbie's ass, endless masturbatory 1960's pop culture references a la "Family Guy", lots of B-movie expositions, stupid plot twist, incoherent story, pointless flashbacks and scene manipulation/recreation, and an ending which is both pointless and has nothing to do with the style of the movie and is only there as a Tarantino fan service. The entire Sharon Tate (non) story was pointless and was only there to serve the ending. I've seen worse and I wasn't bored but it's still pointless and contains endless rip offs/references to older movies and genres, like every other Tarantino movie. Verdict: 3.6 Roentgen (i.e.: Not great, not terrible)
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Anna (II) (2019)
Highly recommended
24 July 2019
Take two Brits to play Russians and an Irish to play an American. What do you get? "Anna" - One of the better movies I've seen this year. Luc Besson totally redeemed himself. Good script, good cast, good direction. Helen Mirren is a blast with thick glasses and even thicker Russian accent.
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Pet Sematary (2019)
Decent remake - recommended
4 April 2019
Just watched it on premiere day. Pretty good remake/adaptation. It's similar to the original movie - and hard not to think of the original while watching this - but it has some small changes here and there to make it slightly more surprising even to those of us who are familiar with the original. The kid (Jete Laurence) is very good in her role. John Lithgow is always good, although here he has a tough competition with Fred Gwynne who was excellent as Jud in the original movie. Jason Clarke (whom I'm not a fan of) is ok in his role. The wife is pretty much a side character and doesn't leave you with anything memorable. And Victor Pascow, who was a very memorable character in the original (which says something for such a minor part) is very forgettable in the remake.

Christopher Young is always great. His score is servicable for the film but not something very memorable. It's strange that the most prominent part is the kids' drum section heard in the trailer.

I think this movie is slightly more psychological and deals a bit more with death and loss of a loved one. Or perhaps it's just because I see this version as a 30 years older guy. I need to rewatch the original to judge.

All in all, this is a decent remake. Each version has its own advantages and I guess a mix of the two could create a movie better than both.

5.5/10 Recommended
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Stan & Ollie (2018)
Worth watching
16 March 2019
Depicts the later years of Laurel and Hardy, after their movie career died and they had to settle for a theater tour. Director Jon S. Baird ("Filth") did a good job in recreating the era and the relationship between them. Steve Coogan is excellent as Laurel and John C. Reilly is also very good as Hardy in fantastic makeup by Mark Coulier (who also did a fantastic job for "Suspiria" this year). Nina Arianda shines in each of her scenes as Ida, Laurel's Russian wife. The story, however, is very average and I also expected it to show the last years of their lives.
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The Predator (2018)
Worst predator movie in the series
13 September 2018
Just watched it at the cinema, premiere day.

I didn't think it was possible but Shane Black actually managed to make a Predator movie worse than "Predator 2".

This movie is a mess. It's silly, it tries to be half a comedy, it tries to continually reference the original movie but fails.

Technically, the movie is dark, the action editing is awful - to the point you can't understand what you're seeing on screen - the CGI is awful.

Plot wise, you can see right from the opening scene that the movie takes the wrong direction: This time you see everything from the predator side. There is no mystery like in the original (and the sequels), no build up, no tension. The plot is stupid and the third act completely jumps the shark. The last scene is cringy.

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Victims of Each Other
21 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A documentary about a Munchausen By Proxy case that ended in a murder.

Gypsy and her mother Dee Dee are both victims of each other: Gypsy is psychologically and physically abused by her mother who gives her endless medications and medical treatments since she was an infant. A loving mother on the outside, she's actually keeping her daughter an emotional captive and physically disabled. Gypsy gets in touch with a young man, develops a romantic relationship with him and finally manipulates him to kill her mother. After the murder Gypsy writes posts on Facebook about the death of her mother and the couple go on road trip and have a good time.

Are these the actions of an abused child that had enough or the acts of a manipulative cold hearted murderer?

This documentary constantly keeps you ambivalent on Gypsy's actions. Especially when you hear Dee Dee's parents talk about their daughter like she was the devil and are actually glad she is dead.

Gypsy escaped the death penalty and probably got the best outcome she could have had under the circumstances.
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Hotel Artemis (2018)
8 June 2018
The movie starts very well. It goes right to the chase: Short intro, good action opening and then to the main location and character.

In the near future (2028), Los Angeles is under heavy riots as a private company limits the water supply to the population. Several "high profile" criminals are taking shelter in a private hotel/hospital which specialized in this sort of service and is managed for over 20 years by a nurse (Judy Foster in good makeup) who keeps strict rules.

The movie starts really well (6.5/10) but loses momentum in the second act (5.5/10) and finishes in an anti-climax (5/10). With the exception of the plot, which doesn't hold this movie very well, all the other elements work great here: Good atmosphere, good pacing, good direction, good cinematography, good score, good acting and interesting characters.

This is like the little brother of SMOKIN' ACES (2006). I also got some vibes from THE SHINING (1980) and PANIC ROOM (2002).

Pretty good job for first time director Drew Pearce, who also wrote the script.

All in all, this is a pretty good movie. It could have been much better if the plot held through.

Too bad this movie doesn't have a wider release.
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Borefest, only for the fans of the series
7 June 2018
I was never a fan of the Jurassic Park series. I didn't even think much of the original. Each of the movies in the series has the most basic plot you can think of - and it's rehashed here for the 5th time.

Dinosaurs are in danger, humans try to rescue them, they escape and chase humans, happy ending.

All the rehashed elements are here: Dinosaurs run, dinosaurs roar, dinosaurs chase humans. Plot is kept to a minimum.

Bryce Dallas Howard can't act if her life was dependent on it, she's simply the most generic actor possible. Chris Pratt, usually a charismatic actor, is flat and almost transparent here - I really got the feeling he did it just for the money.

There are endless possible drinking game with this movie: Drink every time someone is in danger so he stops and slowly looks at it instead of running; drink every time someone says: "run"; drink every time someone is raising his hand to control/slow a dinosaur.

So... boring... and so long. During the movie I looked at the clock and couldn't believe there's still a full hour to go. I think the people were happy this movie was finally over.

The theme seems to rip off Joseph LoDuca's theme to ARMY OF DARKNESS (1992) (which was also ripped off in GODZILLA (1998)).
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Highly recommended
12 April 2018
A documentary about holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor, who publicly - and very controversially - forgave all the Nazis. This documentary is very sad and moving and provides a lot of information about the concentration camps and the human experiments of twins by Dr. Josef Mengele, through the stories of Eva and three more holocaust survivors.

The film begins and ends with the trial of former Nazi Oskar Groning (who died last month) but it's not really the focus of the film. Seeing Eva hugging and kissing him during the trial is difficult and understandably, most of the holocaust survivors didn't take these actions kindly.

Very interesting documentary. It's very sad but gives a lot of information about the holocaust, through stories and archive footage.
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28 March 2018
Let's start with the bottom line: This is the most enjoyable Spielberg movie in the past 15 years. Notice I wrote "enjoyable" and not "best". It's still a kids movie - the plot is simple (it's about literally looking for a MacGuffin - an Easter egg), stuff is spelled out, spoon fed to the audience and repeated twice (even the secret of the 3rd challenge is revealed twice!), so don't expect anything smart. However, it's visually stunning and I regret watching it in 2D because it seems to be the only movie since "Avatar" to be worth watching in 3D. Sound is also impressive.

There are tons of pop culture references and for us 80's kids, this is a delight. I bet the kids watching this will miss many of those references but for us they are obvious and straight in the face. And there's one big gem in the middle of the movie which I won't spoil, so I'll just say that Kubrick fans will have a blast - I don't know if it's part of the original book but i'm quite certain it was a treat for Spielberg to handle.

With references to movies, songs and games appearing almost every two minutes, I have no idea how they could have afford it - I know it's a blockbuster movie but still, the royalties were probably huge (unless the studio owns the rights).

The music was an obvious Alan Silvestri work. I thought perhaps it was John Williams trying to imitate Silvestri because it's a Spielberg movie and there were so many 80's references, but checking the credits, it's really him.

Mark Rylance was brilliant as Halliday and I honestly didn't recognize him until checking the IMDB credits now. I also didn't recognize Simon Pegg.

Aech's voice was terribly miscast (but there's a reason for that, revealed later).

All in all, it's a fun movie. If you're an 80's kid and if you liked "Avatar" and/or "Wreck it Ralph", you'll enjoy this film.
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Not awful, just "meh"
22 March 2018
It's exactly what you'd expect it to be from watching the trailer. It's more of a TRANSFORMERS movie than PACIFIC RIM. Giant robots fighting each other, quick cuts and shaky cam.

Basically, John Boyega is Finn again and the girl (Cailee Spaeny) is Rey or just a general Mary Sue. Scott Eastwood unfortunately didn't inherit his dad's acting genes and he's just an average actor.

Three actors from the original movie are back but they are shadows of themselves and not nearly as interesting as in the first movie.

With the first revelation of the movie, the plot started to remind me a bit of the plot to "Robocop 2". The second revelation, which happens after the middle of the movie, was actually pretty good and I felt the movie finally starting to be interesting but it was a missed opportunity to make it something more.

The result is a brainless movie. A sequel that doesn't come close to being anything like the original. It's watchable but only if you turn your brain off and want to see mindless movie about robots.
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Method acting taken to the extreme
19 November 2017
A documentary about Jim Carrey playing Andy Kaufman and Tony Clifton in "Man on the Moon (1999)".

Jim Carrey stayed in character throughout the production, in and out of filming. This is a combination of both Method Acting taken to the limit and channeling Andy Kaufman who took his jokes way beyond where most people would, as seen in the movie itself.

The documentary not only shows the production but goes into analyzing Jim Carrey as an actor and as a person. It explores his career from a very early age up to present day and the influence it had by both his father and Andy Kaufman himself. It also shows Jim Carrey's current state of mind which is miles away from where he's been some 20 years ago.

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What a nice surprise!
12 October 2017
In a year of disappointing movies, it was refreshing to actually sit at the theater and actually enjoy a light action movie. That is not to say we're dealing with high art here. In fact, some of the scenes were borderline cringeworthy, a combination of bad acting, bad script and bad direction. You know those movies that put an actor without giving him any lines and he has to listen to the main character and put a weird smile or node because he isn't allowed to speak? This movie is full of those. There were some clichés and the CGI was also average.

Still, it was fun. Nonstop over-the-top action that doesn't take itself too seriously and is very enjoyable. The movie doesn't waste any time and starts the action right from the first minute. There is a subplot involving a main character that in my opinion was completely unnecessary and could have been discarded.

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Disappointing. For fans of director Denis Villeneuve
5 October 2017
Like director Denis Villeneuve's other recent films, this is a simple and empty movie. It's pretentious and disguised as something clever and artistic. It's extremely slow and although I went to see it in the earliest show (in the morning) on the premiere day, I still had to keep myself from falling asleep. The audience was silent but when the end credits rolled I could hear the disappointment of others too.

It's extremely long (163 min) and painfully slow and nothing much happens in it. Every scene and every shot is stretched endlessly, like watching an entire movie in slow motion. Ryan Gosling, a very talented actor, unfortunately once again plays the same character which seems to have sticked to him since DRIVER - extremely slow moving, minimum dialog, lots of staring (yeah, Red Letter Media were right in their satire of the trailer). There are bits of interesting scenes sprinkled throughout the movie but they just seem random and don't create any coherent story. It's like scenes and shots made to be put in a trailer.

On the good side, there is a good production, good sets, impressive cinematography by veteran Roger Deakins, and they really tried to replicate (no pun intended) the world create in the original movie. If you watch closely, you'll even notice an ad for Pan Am, just like in the original movie. The music is also similar to Vangelis' style at times (including "Tears in Rain" at the end). I should mention that this is the second time this year that Hans Zimmer uses the Shepard tone and as much as I like Zimmer, the use of the Shepard tone here was too obvious.

I was also very impressed by Carla Juri's scene as Dr. Ana Stelline and I liked the Joi/Mariette scene.

All in all, this is a very disappointing movie with some good visuals. I kept my expectations low and I was still disappointed.

4-4.5/10 Disappointing. For fans of director Denis Villeneuve.
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23 August 2017
A 67-min documentary about Chen Si, a volunteer trying to prevent people from committing suicide by jumping from the Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing. This bridge is one of the locations with the highest suicide rates in the world (more than 2000 suicides from 1968 to 2006 according to Wikipedia). Chen Si has been doing that for years, riding his motorbike on the bridge, looking for people who are about to commit suicide and helping them by talking to them, offering them food, shelter, work, money or an advice.

This is a very "raw" documentary. No fancy editing and no glamour. The film shows the poverty of the region and the stress people are having.
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Wind River (2017)
13 August 2017
Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan. This is the guy who wrote HELL OR HIGH WATER and SICARIO, so you know what to expect. It's a very slow movie, taking place in a snowy Native American reservation. A young FBI female agent is sent to investigate a death.

It's not that bad... but it's not that great either. It's slow in a good way, but also slow in a bad way. It has a good snowy isolation atmosphere, some good emotional situations. But still, it was too slow and too little happens. It's only 107 min long but it felt like a 2.5 hours movie.

With Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen who looks like a young Michelle Pfeiffer.
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Atomic Blonde (2017)
1 August 2017
Late 80's. Charlize Theron is a British spy sent to East Berlin just before the fall of the wall. I wouldn't have mention it, but the wall takes a dominant part during the entire movie and everyone who grew in the 80's would have a great nostalgia, mainly due to the wonderful 80's songs played throughout.

The movie starts well, but unfortunately it's tedious. I expected a light action film, not an over-complicated story that tries to outsmart itself every ten minutes. Combine that with the fact that I was tired and you get me dozing several times in the middle.

The action scenes are long, violent and brutal. They are realistic and the camera-work is original, replacing the now-formulatic hyper-cuts with long continuous shots, which is a good thing, although some of it is just too shaky and/or rapid for a cinematic viewing. One scene stands out as very impressive: It's one long shot that takes place outside and then inside a fast moving car while the camera travels inside the car. If it sounds familiar, then yes, it's definitely similar to the scene in CHILDREN OF MEN and it's just as impressive.

The movie is just under 2 hours, but it felt a lot longer and more than once I thought the credits are about to roll.

I really wanted to like this movie, but unfortunately I didn't.

With James McAvoy, John Goodman and Toby Jones.
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