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Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Fun film but could be better
I enjoyed this film, and it works well at a prequel to the original film "The Wizard of Oz". The film has many similarities with the style of the original in its story-telling (I won't go into this much as I don't want to spoil it). Generally, it's a fun fantasy-adventure film.
However, some negative points: I found the pacing or editing to be slightly off. The film is just over two hours long, but I felt that it could be a little longer in some scenes and shorter in others. I think they tried to cram too much into the film. Also, I found the characters to be a little wooden. (I thought the acting was generally good, so I am not faulting the acting as I felt the three witches and Oz did a great job.). I was not able to care about the characters as much as I did in the original film. Thirdly, I found the use of CGI to be a little problematic with some of the characters and areas where they were just showing off the CGI. I wish story would be more important than the CGI.
I think I probably had trouble letting go of the original film and comparing it too much, so please don't try to compare it with the classic film when you see it. However, you will see some clues and similarities with the original film and this one.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Very entertaining, action-packed, funny
'Hot Fuzz' is a satirical story about a police officer from London who is moved to a quiet village. Along the way, he tries to uncover the truths about some abnormal deaths in the village. The film pokes fun at small British village life in Gloucestershire, the police, and at itself. Simon Pegg (and some of his Spaced co-stars) makes his come-back with this satirical, dark-humored film. There's plenty of action and humour and school-child events (like creative ways in which people meet their ends). This film appeals to the inner child, so it cannot be taken seriously, and the action/suspense/comedy keep it interesting. In my opinion, 'Hot Fuzz' is a better film than 'Sean of the Dead'. The pitfalls of 'Sean of the Dead' (which was not too bad of a film) were overcome in 'Hot Fuzz' to create a more entertaining film.
Music and Lyrics (2007)
fun & not too serious
'Music and Lyrics' is a film that you can sit back and enjoy on a weekend evening. The film has a witty story and flawed characters who come together to help each other out. Coinciding with its release date near Valentine's Day, it is the perfect film for couples. The film is not complicated, and it uses wit in remembering the cliché boy bands and music videos of the 1980s. This also brings us into today's world of modern pop music and follows the creative process of song-writing between an older 1980s has-been and a young, insecure female writer. The music in the film is done very well and is also very strong. Simply, this is a good feel-good film to watch when you need to wind down.
The Holiday (2006)
A good holiday romantic comedy for once!
I usually go to the cinema disappointed with romantic comedies; they are not a genre of film I enjoy because they tend to be lacking in storyline or tend to be a little too cheesy. However, I did enjoy 'The Holiday', a film about two women (one from the UK and one from the USA) with troubled love lives who swap houses. Both women end up improving some aspect in their life and finding romance at the same time. The film has a list of well-known actors and actresses. It's just a happy little romantic comedy for the holiday season and it succeeds where 'Love Actually' fails. The story is a good one, and it's a complex series of stories for each character. The film is filled with surprises, and well - it's a must-see for the holiday, even if you don't care for this genre, you'll be surprised.
Casino Royale (2006)
Not the best Bond film
While 'James Bond' is entertaining action-packed and contains a cast of criminals even more unusual and evil than the criminals in previous Bond films, you cannot go too wrong if you are looking for a little light entertainment. However, this film just did not seem to do it for me. First of all, the film was much too long. The location and type of action kept changing throughout without a build-up. The film tried to do too much, and then it left you suspended at the end.
The best part of the film was the card-playing sequence when we learned there was more than meets the eye to the situation there. This had suspense, action, and everything that the film needed but failed throughout.
I was also not happy about the sensitive side to this Bond with him falling head-pver-heels with the girl and planning to leave his job for her. I preferred the cool, stoic Bonds. However, it was refreshing and good to get a different character to Bond - and one a little more flawed in some areas.
Funny if you like this sort of humor
'Borat' is a film about a man who travels to America and who ends up in all sorts of odd situations, fueled to travel to California to find and marry Pamela Anderson. Along the way, he ridicules America (without meaning to) and the American people, irregardless of ethnicity or religion. Some of the situations he finds himself in include singing the anthem (badly) at a rodeo, attending a meeting with feminists, learning (or trying to learn) etiquette at a dinner party, and trying to be cool with a group of black youths and wanting to be like them.
The film is low-budget, and if you dislike 'offensive' humor or do not have the same sense of humor, then you will not enjoy this film. A lot of the humor is what I would consider very American, but there's also a lot of humor that some sensitive people may find offensive. (However, the film does not just pick on one group of people, but it makes fun of everyone, and it should be taken light-heartedly.) I found the film very funny. It's not a great film, but it serves its purpose in making me laugh. I wouldn't want to sit through another viewing, however, as I would know what happens and I don't think this humor would hold through a second viewing. (Some of the humor is 'shock value'.) Good for a comedy, but I wouldn't call it a classic.
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)
'Star Wars' Clone Wars is an animated film (or series) that takes place between 'Attack of the Clones' and 'Revenge of the Sith'. It takes a little while to get used to the style of animation of the series, and I am not sure that it really works; it looks like it was just cheap to make. For a science fiction film and the amount of interest that Star Wars has and the money that it makes, I would have expected a different style of animation. The sequences are okay with some decent battle scenes and new worlds. Overall, you can take it or leave it; you do not really need to see this in order to understand or get into 'Revenge of the Sith', but it probably would help understand some of the story line.
Watership Down (1978)
not to my liking
'Watership Down' is an animated film about rabbits who seek a new place to avoid life's hardships and the enemies of the rabbits (natural predators of rabbits). 'Watership Down' is a graphic and a sad film, but I think that you need to be a child to really appreciate this film and for the film to make an impact. The animation is graphic for a children's film, but this probably makes it memorable.
I never saw this film as a child; I have only seen it as an adult. I was not impressed, and I thought that the story was a little bit slow, and I did not think that it was sad. I have heard a lot of good things about this film, but I think I would have appreciated it much more if I watched it as a child, and it probably has a nastalgic feel to it too. Overall, I was not impressed, but I could see where children may like it.
good character drama
'Volver' is a story about a family of Spanish women who come together in the time of crisis. The story is about a young woman whose life is turned around by family circumstances involving her daughter, aunt, and husband. This encourages her to become more indpedent and to start taking more chances and making changes in her life. Her sister also is affected by some family secrets and ends up meeting the 'ghost' of her dead mother, but there is more to this little reunion than is expected.
The film is ultimately about mother-daughter relationships, regret, and people working together in the times of crisis. This character drama contains some dramatic cinematogrpahy that aid in the suspense, mood, and in the story-telling. The performances are done well, and along with the darker scenes, there are plenty of lighter comical scenes and emotional scenes. It's worth seeing once, but I probably would not bother seeing this film again.
Smoke Signals (1998)
'Smoke Signals' is a film that I watched at university as being a representation of the portrayal of Native Americans in films today. The film is about a group of Native Americans living on a reservation, and it portrays their society and their style of living, which conflicts with the way that they were portrayed in films in previous years. The film even pokes some fun at these portrayals. The film is about a couple of friends setting off on a bus where they come in to contact with non-Native Americans. They learn a little but about non-Native American culture from this trip from meeting these people. The performances are good, and the film has charm and it contains its comedy. It's a light film for those who want some light entertainment.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
'Sleepy Hollow' is a film based on the Halloween story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. The film uses brilliant cinematography that captures the essence of evil and grips the imagination with ghostly characters and a rural 1800s village setting.
The film combines a murder mystery with supernatural events from beyond the grave and a romance story in the middle of the supernatural happenings. The performances are done well, and this film has everything if you are looking for a little bit of historical fiction with a light-hearted supernatural tale. This film also succeeds in containing a little bit for everyone: romance and action/adventure.
The main problem with the film is that it moves a little bit slowly in some places. It's not a bad film, but it did not stand out as a great film. Average.
V for Vendetta (2005)
classic, creative, original
'V For Vendetta' is a film set in the future where the world behaves strikingly similar to the film '1984' with a corrupt and controlling government and ruler placing bans on human freedoms. Among the chaos is a hero dressed symbolically as Guy Fawkes who wishes to bring down the government. In a chance of fate, he meets Evie, and her life changes while she is thrown into a series of events that pull her in his direction. The film is a masterpiece combining an engaging storyline, unique characters and character development, and detailed cinematography to capture the different moods and atmospheres of the oppressed society. This film also has a lot of symbolic meanings behind its concepts. In short, it is like a breath of fresh air that we've been waiting for in so long for a couple of years of disappointing films. Very well done.
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
'Memoirs of a Geisha' follows the life of a young girl who becomes a geisha and who falls in love and tries to pursue her love and her dream of becoming a geisha. The cinematography and the performances are done well with the cinematography standing out as the best thing about the film. I felt that the story was a little bit weak; it started out well, but I lost interest in it, and it seemed to lose direction and conflict, particularly after the change due to the war. The film is worth a watch, particularly for its excellent cinematography and detail and the cultural significance. Overall, good film and believable in its cultural representation. One of its kind.
Shi mian mai fu (2004)
Great Cinematography but weak ending
'House of Flying Daggars' is a story of a blind girl who is wanted for rebelling against the government, although all of the characters and the blind girl herself are not as they seem. As the story progresses, the audience learns more about the characters, and the film is not predictable in this discovery. The actors and actresses all give good performances, and the cinematography is beautiful. The action sequences are stunning and magical.
The only problem with this film, in my opinion, is the ending. The ending drags on far more than it needs to. A simplified ending would have been more vague and beautiful, but it seemed that they had more than one ending that they could not choose. Despite this element, the film was good, and it was engaging because of the mystical elements, the action scenes, and the surprises.
The Vikings (1958)
Falls short of a better film
'The Vikings' is a story about a Viking who falls in love with an English princess that has been captured. He tries to win her heart, but she falls in love with another man, and there is a cruel twist of fate at the end of the film.
While the film does contain some good action sequences, it is lacking in story and characterisation. It is difficult to get too close to the characters, and the film is weak in this aspect. The film could have been much more dramatic had there been more depth with the characterisation. Since it fails in this area, the film becomes an action Viking film. While it is not too bad, it could have been better through just a little more effort.
Superman Returns (2006)
Average; slow-moving in places
'Superman Returns' is an average tale of the superhero coming to terms with his relationship with Lois Lane and protecting the world from evil Lex Luther. The film has its moments, and the computer animation and graphics are impressive. While the film does have its moments of action, I felt that some of the story did drag on. There were a lot of areas where the impressive graphics seemed to be displayed that seemed to last longer than they probably should have. I felt the storyline was also slow and weak in that it tended to follow Superman and his relationship with Lois. I actually felt bored waiting for the next events to happen. Better pacing would have made a better film, and some of the scenes could have been edited, but I cannot fault the animation.
The Break-Up (2006)
'The Breakup" is a film about an unlikely couple who share an apartment and who end up breaking up. The film follows their break-up and their behaviours during the break-up. The film does succeed in providing some funny material, but all of it is mainly forgotten as the film drags on with the same material. In short, it gets old quickly. The other problem with the film is its difficulty expressing why the characters should be together because they are so different, and I was amazed that they survived long enough to get an apartment together.
In short, the film lacks substance, but there are a few areas that are funny. Overall, I think that there are much better romantic comedy films, and this one does seem to drag on and on with its loss for different material appearing quite quickly in the film. It's one of those films that will be forgotten quickly.
average action film
'Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest' is a continuation of the first film that became a popular hit with audiences. This adventure carries on from the original one, but this time, Jack Sparrow (Depp) is back and trying to escape Davy Jones and his crew from death. Like the original, the film combines comedy and some good performances along with a creative set and special effects. It's an average action film and the perfect way to spend an evening. However, the film seemed to be a little too long, and the other problem with it was that it did not have a proper ending. I was getting built up to a good ending, but it just did not come. I suppose we have to wait a year or two for the next film to see the outcome. Overall, there were some good action sequences and good comedy, but the film needed a proper ending.
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
entertaining but weak story
'Conan the Barbarian' is a film about a young boy whose parents were killed by a cult; he is sold into slavery, and when he is free, he goes to track down the cult that destroyed his family. Along the way, he meets a couple of partners in his quest for revenge, including a young woman that he falls in love with. The film has many fantasy elements from wizards to giant-snake worshipping cults. The performances are done well, and the fantasy elements and special effects are good for their time; the story, however, is a little bit weak. The film is entertaining, but do not expect a classic. Rating: this film is just about average.
Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
'Three Coins in the Fountain' is a film about three American secretaries that throw their coins into a fountain in Rome and hope for romance. The music in the film and in the opening scenes is sung by Frank Sinatra. The film has a good story that holds the interest; pacing and the editing between the three stories of the girls and their romances are done well. Another excellent feature of this film is the photography. The opening sequence with the fountains in Rome and Frank Sinatra's music is beautiful. There are other beautiful scenes in the film of the Italian countryside and Venice. In summary, this is an old-fashioned romantic film that displays how three women find love and the lengths that they will go to be in love.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
'The Sixth Sense' is a horror film about a young boy who has the power to see the ghosts of people who have passed away. The boy gets help from a psychologist and tries to learn how to fit in and know a normal life. The film succeeds in playing the horror as well as cinematography and a plot that makes the audience think. Most of the horror in the film is portrayed in a way that gets the imagination to work and plays on suspense. The plot is engaging and it also makes the audience think. However, I thought that it was predictable and knew what was happening before the end of the film. The performances are done well, and this film does have several strong points, but as a film overall, I think that it was average.
Sister Act (1992)
'Sister Act' is the story of a singer who hides as a nun to avoid problems when she witnesses an attack. The film is an entertaining comedy about her struggling to fit in with the other nuns because she is very much a woman of the world and has had a lot of experiences. However, she soon finds her place in her strength of singing. The film can be enjoyed by a wide audience. I saw it when I was in my early to mid teens, and I thought that it was funny, but I think that the film can also be enjoyed by adults; some of the humour is probably geared more to adults. Expect to laugh a lot when watching this film, but do not see this film if you are easily offended or if you are super-religious.
'Sister Act 2' is a funny film, but it loses the strenghs that the original film had. In this film, the other nuns get the main nun character back to teach a group of young students how to sing, and there are all sorts of problems along the way. The film does not quite live up to the first film, as previously mentioned, but there are a few laughs in it. This is worth seeing once if you watched the original film and enjoyed it. Maybe it will also bring back some of the nostalgia; these films seem to be completely forgotten nowdays. They were not classics, but they do have some funny moments, and the comedy is what it is all about.
great performances, picture
'Elizabeth' is a historical documentary film about Queen Elizabeth I's early years on the throne. This is a story of the queen coping with relationships among a lover, the religious groups, and countries (France and Spain). This film combines excellent acting performances, cinematography, and an interesting story that can appeal to a wide audience.
The acting performances were done well throughout the film, and this was especially an important aspect because this is a film about people. Blanchett played an excellent queen, humanising her in her relationships and weaknesses as well as creating a strong-willed and determined leader at the same time.
The cinematography also played an important part in this historical film; much care is given to detail. Although most of the film takes part in the palace, colour is used to provide a sense of the times in flashy costumes and events. The contrast helps to portray the historical significance of the film in that throughout the dark times, the Elizabethans loved their entertainment.
The story was focused primarily on Elizabeth and her relationships, and it kept the focus on these aspects and did not get too detailed in the overall picture. The story was interesting with a variety of different scenes, and it did not get too involved with fancy dialogue. There was also a sense of humor in the film through the foreign suitor character who was flashy in his emotions and who enjoyed dressing up in a dress. This showed that although the film was a historical one, it was able to find some humor with the characters that is believable and that did not spoil the serious essence of the film.
Overall, this is a great film and I'd recommend it. Students in history classes must watch this film but realise that it is only a small aspect of Elizabeth I's life. However, it is a good documentary of the queen and the general historical time.
American Psycho (2000)
It has been a while since I saw the film "American Psycho", but I remember that it did not impress me. The film is about an executive who fantacizes about having affairs with and killing women with blond hair. The killings are gruesome ones reminiscent of slasher films. I remember there to be far much more gore than there was an artistic psychological aspect. All in all, this film was fairly disturbing and it is not the sort of film that you can expect to enjoy. I probably would not recommend it when you're about ready to go to bed either. Also, it was fairly boring and slow-moving. It probably makes a better book than a film.