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6/10
Very good, although not entirely my cup of tea.
16 October 2019
Regarded as one of the top rated movies, I was curious to see what made it so good. Knowing the premise, I was interested to see how they were going to justify the story.

The film is actually incredibly well set-up, explaining in detail how it was possible for Truman to never explore the world. Jim Carrey is also perfectly cast as Truman, and he completely sold his character to me in a not-so-over-the-top comedic and also somewhat dramatic performance. The more I watched, the more addicted I became - like a soapie. This was the whole idea of the movie and it effectively came across as such.

Ed Harris is also great in his role as the film's antagonist. 'The Truman Show' is an interesting concept, and they manage to pull it off perfectly. The film also has a beautiful score. Good ending.
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The Bear (1988)
7/10
What a wonderful little film!
16 October 2019
'The Bear' is indeed a very special film experience! If this was made today, the bears would probably be CGI. Instead, these are real bears, real animals, shot in the actual wilderness. The film is therefore very believable and entertaining.

Bart the Bear is a wonderful actor (yes, it is an actual bear). If you haven't seen or heard of him yet, I suggest watching 'The Edge', starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, where he was also brilliant.

'The Bear' takes us on an incredible action-packed, suspenseful and often funny journey. The scenery is magnificent and the photography is excellent. This film is guaranteed to tingle a few senses!
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Colombiana (2011)
3/10
Ugh, seriously????
11 October 2019
After a reasonably promising start, the film becomes nothing more than a bunch of seemingly cool ideas thrown together, but unfortunately it doesn't gel so well.

Allow me to just blurt it out: I hated this film. Nothing here was believable. It was over-dramatized and oh-so-sensational. There are so many unbelievable conveniences. I have so many issues with this film. How did Cataleya (Zoe Saldanha) know the prison so well? How was she so familiar with the victims' houses? Without spoiling the ending, I just need to know how she managed to take two big dogs with on her final mission? How did she get them on his property considering it is heavily guarded? How did she know which car he would take? Seriously??? You honestly expect me to swallow all the garbage you're feeding me, Mr Director and Mr Writer???

Oh, and by the way, this Cataleya caracter goes beyond vengeance to become nothing more than a cold-blooded, ruthless mass murdered (like John Wick). She deserves to be locked up with the key thrown in the deepest ocean...

Ok, a bit of credit where credit is due: the photography was really good, and Zoe Saldanha did a fine job. That's it! End of the compliments.
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8/10
Absolutely incredible!!
10 October 2019
'Kajaki' is probably one of the most intense war movies you will ever watch. Having said this, note this is not a full-on war movie. Instead, this is dramatic events as a result of war.

The film is incredibly well made and realistic. Thus some of the scenes are almost unbearable to watch. 'Kajaki' is one of those rare films that are almost too well made to sit through thinking this is entertainment. It plays like a documentary - almost like a found footage tape, only its not found footage style. It is heart wrenching, cringe worthy, and also a sad reality. The acting was superb. The lack of CGI made it all that more realistic. The film also has no score. Most of the film is in absolute silence, which is highly effective and also very creative.

The dialogue features many codes and lingo I didn't understand. The dialogue was really strange, yet realistic, but very difficult to follow. Despite that, the film itself was easy enough to follow. The make-up is incredible! 'Kajaki' is a film you can't really describe to anyone - you have to experience it for yourself - maybe best viewed alone at least once. This certainly is a film I will remember for a very long time.

https://paulsmoviereviews.wordpress.com/2019/10/10/kajaki-kilo-two-bravo-2014/
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5/10
Not as good as the original, yet still enjoyable.
6 October 2019
'A Dog's Journey' follows directly on 'A Dog's Purpose'. In this film, the dog feels he needs to protect CJ, Ethan's granddaughter. We once again see the course of life through the dog's eyes.

As much as they (obviously) tried, the film couldn't live up to the original. It was not as mature as the first film, and also not as emotional. This installment might appeal more to teenagers than a mature audience. I also didn't find the acting convincing enough.

The film's best moments were when the dog was with Ethan (Dennis Quaid). These moments made me reminisce the first film, which I so loved. Despite these issues, though, it is still a good film in its own right, with a very good, satisfying ending!
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7/10
Absolutely fantastic!
6 October 2019
'A Dog's Purpose' effectively depicts the course of life, as seen through the eyes of a dog. It sets up scenes and situations we can all relate to, thus creating a film with a wide appeal. If you're a dog lover (like me) some scenes will be difficult to watch, while other scenes will fill you with pure joy and affection for your furry friends. This film pulled at my heart string like you won't believe!

'A Dog's Purpose' is a very easy to follow film with a rather simply premise. There were a few twists I never saw coming, but it is an uncomplicated film young and old can enjoy.
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7/10
Thoroughly enjoyable!
6 October 2019
'Howl's Moving Castle' is a very imaginative and unusual story. With magic, wizards and witches abound, this is an interesting and exciting fantasy adventure.

The film is about several cursed people who desire a spell to be broken. Despite being cursed, Sophie continues to see the beauty in everyone and everything, and she is guaranteed to steel your heart for being such a good Samaritan. 'Howl's Moving Castle' is so much more than just an animated film. It sends out a powerful message of acceptance, and believing in yourself. It also illustrates how inner beauty is far more important than outer beauty.

Through a series of weird and wonderful moments, with great animation, the film delves deep into the abyss of self-discovery and humanitarianism.
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2/10
Such a bad script!!
6 October 2019
'Steam Room Stories: The Movie' is another perfect example why I generally don't like gay comedies. From the script to the acting to the dialogue, this was just terrible. This was your typical bad acting simple premise gay movie, much in the vein of the 'Eating Out' series.

Nothing here is believable and it looks more like a high school production. None of the actors can honestly be considered serious actors, surely? I'm not even going to highlight the bad moments or analyze this film, it was just such a bad script.

Rather put the film on mute and watch it for the delightful eye candy instead....
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7/10
So much better than the original!!
6 October 2019
Wow, a sequel that surpasses the original by miles!! EVERYTHING about this film was better. While 'Dead Snow' was a mindless slasher horror comedy, 'Dead Snow 2' has a lot more substance to it, with a much better story, and more fleshed out characters. This is not a slasher film in the true sense of slasher films.

'Dead Snow 2' follows directly where the first film left off. Vegar Hoel is back as the film's protagonist and he is excellent in this film. The make-up effects and visuals are groundbreaking. The film is totally unapologetic and merciless. It is bloody, gory, and completely and utterly demented. (I love it!!). The dialogue is equally wacky, crude and rude. I mean, they use dialogue like "Would you eat my little man-pussy", uttered by a male police inspector.

The action sequences are great. From an entertainment perspective, this is everything and more I want to be entertained. (that's if you can stomach some of the graphic, gory scenes). In context with what was happening, some of these grotesque scenes were actually funny - in a demented kind of way. This was awesome. Incredible!!
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6/10
Family friendly comedy horror with bite.
6 October 2019
I must be honest, I've never really been interested in seeing 'Shaun of the Dead', as trailers depicted the film as a slapstick comedy. (I detest slapstick comedies!!) I decided to watch this after seeing the Norwegian horror comedy 'Dead Snow 2' about zombies - a film I thoroughly enjoyed.

'Shaun of the Dead' is so much better than expected, and is actually not slapstick. The humor is effective and really funny - some in a creepy way, but still funny. The make-up and visual effects are very good. This film is a family movie compared to 'Dead Snow 2', though. It is not as graphic or gory and the zombies are rather passive. Simon Pegg is excellent as a bit of a hopeless guy, who becomes the film's hero. The rest of the cast were also very good. Bill Nighy, off course, is brilliant in everything he does.

The photography and editing are fantastic. The film is fast-paced and exciting from beginning to end. If you want a zombie film that doesn't feature too much guts and gore with good humor, then 'Shaun of the Dead' is the perfect choice.
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7/10
Excellent in its simplicity
6 October 2019
'Children of Heaven' is a film about shoes. Yup, shoes! The film has such a simple premise, but it is so well done and touches on various humanitarian aspects within this simple story.

The film is about the consequences of a boy losing his sister's shoes - how it affects the children, and that will ultimately also lead to self-discovery. The acting is so natural that the story is believable in its entirety. Mohammad Amir Naji plays a father who tries everything is his power to support his family, while his wife is sick and unable to work. They are poor and can just barely keep their head above water, and there is no money to buy new shoes. The child actors are so brilliant, it really is a shame none of them pursued acting.
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Rage (2014)
3/10
Uhmm, no...
3 October 2019
The last good movie Nicolas Cage made, was 'Knowing' in 2009 (although 'Season of the Witch' in 2011 also wasn't too bad). I enjoy Cage, though, and like to give him the benefit of the doubt, hence decided to watch 'Tokarev' despite negative reviews.

I hate to say, I agree with the reviews. The film doesn't start off too bad and got my attention. As the film progressed, though, it became rather weird - as did Cage's acting (which seems to the the norm as of late). There are way too many credibility issues here. I completely understand Paul Maguire (Cage)'s character development - from a 'clean', ordinary guy, to a man filled with vengeance and hate. I enjoyed that aspect of the film.

The film then dishes up more back stories than it can handle and starts falling apart, until it completely crashes with the twist ending, which rendered most of the movie (if not the entire film) pointless...
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The Wind (1986 Video)
4/10
Enjoyable enough...
3 October 2019
I have fond memories of 'The Wind' watching it as a teenager. Having seen it now, though, I have mixed feelings - mainly due to the anti-climax ending.

'The Wind' is a murder thriller through the eyes of a mystery writer. Unfortunately the film itself doesn't offer much in the line of mystery, as the killer is revealed early in the film. Since the film doesn't really hide any details, it is fast-paced and also rather suspenseful. The film is mainly about Sian Anderson (Meg Foster) trying to outwit the killer in a desperate attempt to stay alive. No reason is ever given why the antagonist tries to kill her, though, and one can only assume him to be psychologically unstable.

'The Wind' is definitely not the best of scripts and doesn't have the best of dialogue, yet it is still quite enjoyable. Nothing is really ever explained in the film, and the abrupt ending ruins it a bit.
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Broken Arrow (1996)
6/10
Great action adventure thriller.
3 October 2019
Let's be honest, not everything here is believable. Nevertheless, this is an exciting action-packed thrill ride that is fast paced and never boring.

The cast is well chosen. John Travolta is very good as the antagonist and Christian Slater equally good as the protagonist. I also thoroughly enjoyed the chemistry between Riley (Slater) and Terry (Mathis) on a non-romantic level.

Considering the film was made over twenty years ago, the visuals are stunning and look amazing even by today's standards. The film also ends on a high note with an excellent climax. 'Broken Arrow' is a compelling action-packed adventure thriller with non-stop action and suspense. This is a gem of an action movie to enjoy again and again!
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Shaolin (2011)
7/10
Absolutely fantastic!
3 October 2019
A film about deception, loyalty and redemption never looked this good. Filled with emotion, this film will take you on an unexpected adventure with interesting twists and turns.

The characters are well set-up and Andy Lau is excellent as the anti-hero turned hero. The film also features excellent character development. Visually stunning with incredible photography and cinematography, 'Shaolin' is also pleasing to the eyes.

I've seen many car chase scenes over the years, but the carriage chase scene near the beginning of the movie is simply incredible and has to be seen to be believed. It is nothing short of spectacular! The film is guaranteed to stir your senses. It is an action-packed, emotionally charged film that will have you pondering over the many aspects one can relate to. This is a top notch production on every level.

The grand finale is AWESOME!! 'Shaolin' is a beautiful movie.
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The Raid 2 (2014)
5/10
Although exceptionally well made, I can't rate it too high due to the unnecessary, graphic violence...
3 October 2019
It really is kinda weird thinking of this violent film as entertainment. And yet, it is. I'll be honest, there were quite a few scenes I did not enjoy due to the graphic nature of the violence.

'The Raid 2' follows directly on the first film. However, it is completely different. The film lacks the originality of the first film in the sense that it is not as unique. It also doesn't have the level of suspense the first film had and the killings in the first film were more appropriate and acceptable. The police in the 'The Raid' were literally fighting for their lives, whereas 'The Raid 2' has killings left, right and center purely for the thrill of it (I suppose...). I also miss the thumping music that added to the adrenaline rush of the first film. This film is also much longer, and therefore slower moving. Be warned, this film is definitely not for everyone, as it is insanely violent. Some scenes were almost unwatchable due to the brutality. In many instances, I found it unnecessarily gory and graphic.

Having said this, 'The Raid 2' is an exceptionally well made film. It is stunningly photographed with great cinematography. The fight sequences are incredibly well choreographed and probably the best fighting scenes you will ever see (for a while, at least). The chase scene towards the end was AMAZING!! The film's conclusion will also leave you satisfied. This is indeed a movie experience and not just another movie.
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Itsy Bitsy (II) (2019)
4/10
Creature feature with (a bit of) bite.
28 September 2019
The title suggests a kid's story, but 'Itsy Bitsy' is definitely not for kids, as it is bound to give them nightmares.

There really hasn't been a good spider movie since 'Arachnophobia' way back in 1990 and I guess - for now - this will have to suffice as the next best spider movie. You can see the director and crew tried really hard and you have to commend them for that.

The script is a bit weak and the film can be used as a handbook for cliches. The acting wasn't the most convincing, but I thought Elizabeth Roberts wasn't bad as a mother suffering from post traumatic stress after the death of her youngest child. She actually got better as the movie progressed and her role became more demanding. The little girl (played by Chloe Perrin) was unfortunately not good at all.

If you allow yourself not to be too critical - and look beyond all the cliches and flaws - you will find this an enjoyable enough watch. Some of the creature effects were very good. The film is a bit slow moving with not much happening apart from family conflict, and is maybe more of a drama with horror elements than a horror film.
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Crawl (2019)
7/10
Thrilling and dramatic!
26 September 2019
If you've enjoyed films like 'Bait' and 'The Shallows', then you're bound to love 'Crawl', only this time the antagonists are alligators and not sharks.

This is undoubtedly one of the best horror films of the year so far. I never expected this low-budget film to have such great visuals, and contain disaster elements as well. There are only two mention-able characters in the film, Haley (the daughter, played by Kaya Scodelario) and Dave (the father, played by Barry Pepper). Their characters are well set-up and both actors does an incredible job. Kaya was (almost) just as good and believable as Blake Lively was in 'The Shallows'.

The creature effects are incredibly realistic. The alligators are scary as hell and they certainly mean business. 'Crawl' doesn't waste time with a slow build-up. It literally plunges you in the deep end. There are a number of very effective jump scares you won't see coming, and some scenes are downright nasty and nerve wrecking - especially the wound make-up. Due to the good character introductions, you will root for them every step of the way.
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7/10
Fantastic!!
16 September 2019
Oh, wow, what a good movie! The film features mainly child stars, and they are fantastic! The visuals are good and there are a few very scary moments.

'Tigers are not afraid' has a distinct 'Pan's Labyrinth' feel to it, yet it is very different. The film depicts the sad and dangerous lives of young orphaned children during ruthless drug wars. It so effectively illustrates how these children - despite their circumstances - can still find joy and beauty in trivial things that might go unnoticed to the mature eye. They are ultimately just kids still.

The film soon spins out of control as the kids are being hunted by drug lords, and every day is a battle for survival. The climax is brilliant. This is a very disturbing film, yet also so beautiful. Awesome!!
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Drive (I) (2011)
7/10
I can watch this film just for the soundtrack...
16 September 2019
'Drive' certainly is unlike any vengeance film I've experienced. The film's beginning is seriously short on dialogue. I mean, there are literally moments when characters are together without saying a single word. But the cinematography is so awesome that dialogue are sometimes not necessary.

The film's score is awesome! It has a tranquil synthesized mood, resulting in a serene feel, despite the dark theme. The film spends about 40 minutes setting up the scene and the characters (and is never boring), but when the action (and unexpected) arrives around the 45-minute mark, the film really hits you! It grabs you and doesn't let go. Be warned, despite the film's initial tranquility, it becomes brutal and gory - yet ever so stylish and effective.

Ryan Gosling is outstanding!! His character is mysterious and seemingly trouble-free (Dan Stevens' character in 2014's 'The Guest' was very similar). 'Drive' is beautifully filmed and will consume you with every frame. By the end of the film one can't help but think what a masterfully crafted film this actually was! Brilliant!!
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5/10
Nothing new, but well executed with good acting.
16 September 2019
'The Curse of La Llorona' doesn't really offer anything we haven't seen before. Despite that, this was still a creepy tale.

The film features very good cinematography, great visuals, good acting, and a few very scary moments. The acting from the entire cast was excellent, especially Linda Cardellini as Anna, the mother. The film reminded me a lot of 'Mama' and the Russian film 'The Bride'. Staying within the Conjuring universe, this was not as good as 'The Conjuring' or even the 'Annabelle' films, but it certainly was much better than 'The Nun'. It is well worth a watch if you're into this genre.
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Child's Play (2019)
5/10
Not all (that) bad, but rather watch the original...
16 September 2019
This remake has been cleverly updated to include today's technology, apps and gadgets. However, with Andy now 13 years old and with all the technology, the innocence of the original film is lost. It is still not entirely believable for a 13-year old boy with mobile technology to be interested in a doll. (In the original film it completely made sense for a 6-year old Andy to be playing with dolls).

The opening scene and the reason for Chucky becoming a killer doll isn't nearly as impressive as the original. In the 1988 film, a ruthless killer transfers his soul into the doll just before dying, whereas in this remake, the doll simply malfunctions due to programming errors. Chucky - nor the film - is therefore as sinister as the original 'Child's Play'.

As for the acting and characters, the only characters that really stand out, is Andy and his mother (played by Gabriel Bateman Audrey Plaza). The rest of the characters are disposable, especially the Detective, who is a comic relief character who adds nothing to the film. (The detective in the 1988 film played a huge role in the film, and was so well portrayed by Chris Sarandon). The rest of the characters are silly with silly dialogue, and very little substance. Although I miss Brad Douriff voicing Chucky, Mark Hamill really did a very good job, as well. As for the new design Chucky, I don't like this doll at all!

I wonder what my opinion of the film would have been if I haven't seen the original film and had nothing to compare it to. Even so, the film has way too many credibility issues. Credit where credit is due, though, the killing scenes are very well made, cringe worthy and brutal.

In general this wasn't all that bad a film, but I'd much rather watch the original ten times over before watching this again...
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Lifeguard (I) (1976)
6/10
An absolute MUST for Sam Elliott fans.
14 September 2019
'Lifeguard' is a very realistic film with a simple premise. It depicts the day to day life of a lifeguard, with funny and serious moments. Sam Elliott is perfectly cast as lifeguard Rick. None of the other characters (or actors) really have a big impact on the film, although all the actors are very good. This is essentially a one-man show - it really is all about Rick.

The film so clearly illustrates how one should follow your heart's desires, regardless of the opinions of those around you. 'Lifeguard' is an uncomplicated film with characters we can relate to. Its an easy to follow, simple film, yet there's also a lot more substance here than meets the eye.

Sam Elliott is absolutely gorgeous, so if you're a Sam Elliott fan, this film is a must. If you like a tanned, hairy, muscular physique, then you will drool over Sam. The tagline reads "Every girl's summer dream". Well, clearly not only every girl, as I wipe the drool from my mouth...
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Prey (2016)
6/10
What can I say; I liked it!
11 September 2019
The secret to fully enjoying this film, is not to take it too seriously. Let's face it, nothing here is believable or realistic and is purely for fun and effect.

And fun it was! This is a very enjoyable horror comedy in a similar style to the 2006 Australian film 'Black Sheep', just not as satirical. 'Prey' was more suspenseful with nail-biting moments and quite a lot of gore. As for the humor, it was actually really funny and worked well. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and their back stories and Sophie van Winden was a likable lead.

The film has a great climax with a stunning twist ending. As I said, don't take it too seriously and you will have fun with this little film. (If you prefer a serious lion film, rather watch 'The Ghost and the Darkness'.)

Would I watch it again? Yes!
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4/10
Way, way too much CGI for one film...
11 September 2019
Luc Besson is a very visionary director, but 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' is a perfect example of way too much CGI for one film. Yes, the dynamic visuals does highlight this ambitious fantasy adventure, but - just like 'Jupiter Ascending' - the film drowns in its own ambition.

Most of the film plays like a video game. Due to the heavy CGI, the film offered very little reality, resulting in a film that left me emotionless. I didn't feel their fear, their agony, their enthusiasm. The virtual reality element is taken to the next level in the film, but as a result there simply is no suspense whatsoever.

The film is also overlong. There are so many scenes here that should have ended on the cutting room floor. The subtle humor in the beginning of the film became increasingly stupid to slapstick level as the film progressed, diminishing every inch of suspense the CGI didn't already ruin. The film's heroes are also much too young to be believable. Make no mistake, they are good actors, especially Dane DeHaan, but I didn't buy their characters as Major and Sergeant. This is an all-star cast and I can't understand why, as most of the actors are unrecognizable anyway. Rihanna was also just stupid as Bubble. (Ok, maybe she's not entirely to blame; Bubble was just an idiotic, stupid character.)

I only really found the film interesting during the final act, and interesting twist, as the heroes realize a "threat" was actually a cover-up.

It is so easy, though, to understand why this 'Avatar/Star Wars' wannabe film failed, apart from its excessive budget.

Would I watch it again? No, I doubt it.
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