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Justice League (2017)
It's hard to understand the 1,2, 3 ratings. I guess some people are in a binary state of mind when it comes to reviewing and it's either love or hate. I mean, some flaws in a movie, book, tv-show, or people for that matter don't make them a 100% bad.
I'm not a purist, certainly when it comes to fantasy, mythology, superheroes, or anything that comes from our imagination. I actually like the playing around with it, exploring different universes of thought. And of course that always goes hand in hand with some mistakes. It's the price of admission for any creative process.
I think this movie is a solid good action flick. The character development is either non existent or very straightforward, the story is much less confusing and complex than Batman V Superman. There's a lot of smiles, and I even found myself laughing out loud at some moments (Flash). Superman and Batman are far less intense which is nice. I liked the screen time everyone got. There's plenty of action. I liked the visual effects.
The end credit scenes included a funny scene as well as a pointer to a possible next movie. So if you like to be entertained and like action movies: Have some snacks, sit back and you'll have a nice couple of hours.
Liberating, funny and sweet
I read the 1 and 2 star reviews and had second thoughts about watching this movie. But I did it anyway because I love Poehler and Fey, looked through the cast list and liked it a lot and also realized that most of the bad reviews were negative because the authors didn't appreciate profanities, drug and sex references and juvenile jokes. Glad I did. Loved it. And loved to see these ladies go all the way without losing their Poehler-ness and Fey-ness. They have great chemistry of course. But the big chunk of funny are the dialogues. The situations set them up and weren't really important as far as I'm concerned. Although There's a story line that keeps everything together and flowing which is nice. Act one paints their relationship and life situation. Act two sends things to the next level. And the short act three is a nice way to finish.
All in all a solid 8/10 for entertainment value. But 10/10 because I'm an even bigger fan of Mrs. Poehler and Fey!
What We Did on Our Holiday (2014)
Subtle, yet powerful storytelling
I didn't know anything about this movie, but saw it on iTunes. I knew and liked most of the actors. So I rented it. I was sold within the first five minutes. And it didn't fail to get me more involved throughout. There's no big arc, great plot, fantastic action, or slap stick comedy. I mean, it's all there but not in a big, in your face way. And I love that. It's a story that anyone who has a heart, and has been through rough patches with his or her family can relate to. The script contains many really great lines, especially the kids' parts. It's masterful edited and well paced. There are a ton of short shots that create extra texture. Some stunning wide shots of the environment. Lots of use of indirect storytelling inducing your imagination, good acting, and incredible acting by the three kids. I was moved and welled up, laughed a lot, was in awe and progressively more engaged. If you're in the mood for action, big laughs, a thriller or a big drama, don't pick this one. But if you feel mellow and like good storytelling, then sit back, relax and watch this one.
Special Correspondents (2016)
Nice. Shouldn't be promoted as a comedy
It's all a matter of taste of course. But this is by no means a bad movie. Sure, if you expect to see a comedy you're waiting for X jokes per minute and I can see you would be disappointed. This movie could be billed as mild satire/drama. There aren't any hilarious laugh out loud moments. But I felt there were a lot of big smiles and grins. The story moves along nicely. There's a solid structure. There are some nice developments and moments and although the plot may be predictable, it still kept my attention. The acting is good as well. Gervais takes a risk by playing a real character instead of the caricatures he often plays (and I find very funny). The other characters are a bit stronger, especially the Latin American couple. But again, you'll have to get the dry humor. Movies like Capricorn one and Wag the dog with similar premises are much stronger. But this is a nice, yet softer take on that type of premise. All in all a nice movie to watch.
The Visit (2015)
Wow! Glad I kept following Night Shyamalan
Like many of us I turned into an instant fan after The sixth sense. Over time I started to feel like many of us did. I know that no artist will produce gems a 100% of the time. Nor should he or she. As an artist you need to keep reinventing yourself. And I liked and sometimes relay liked the next few movies. I could even appreciate The Lady in the Water to a certain extent believe it or not. Still, I had to rationalize me following M.Night Shamyalan more and more. But I'm glad I hung in there. This was a complete surprise! I found myself praying that it would have a strong finish halfway through. And it didn't disappoint me in the least. Actually, it was the cherry on the cake.
But apart from that moment in the middle,where I briefly started to reflect on how I felt about the movie, I was engaged deeply the rest of the time. A few shock moment, even a few real goosebumps. Loved it.
One of the most coherent, solid movies by him in a long time. I guess it's true: urgency is the mother of all invention, but limitation (budget $5,000,000) is the mother of all inventiveness and creativity.
Entertaining from beginning to end
One of those movies that is trashed by critics but loved by fans. being a critic you may not like the genre but to rate it 4/10? I mean, it's well shot and directed, great pace, stimulating soundtrack, some nice action. I may be a 16 year old trapped in the body of a 55 year old man, but I had a smile on my face throughout. And a whole bunch of out loud laughs. I was nicely surprised regularly by the action. Sure, there's not a whole lot of story. But that's not the point of these type of movies. And there's enough of it to keep it going.
So if you have some hours to spare, like funny zombie movies, grab a bag of popcorn and watch this.
Unfinished Business (2015)
Drama with some absurd as well as hilarious moments
Didn't know what to expect. But I like Vince Vaughn because he doesn't always stay in his comfort zone. This isn't a comedy. It's a rather sweet story about a guy who sticks to what he believes in in a non-alpha-male way. His partners in business are not very successful and unpolished to say the least. They need to close a deal and go on a business trip and are unexpectedly competing with the company Vaughn walked away from. Meanwhile Vaughn needs to long-distance-deal with some problems his kids have. There are a few laughs and chuckles, there are some absurd situations, but to me those were there to spice up the movie. It's mostly a light drama about a guy trying to support his family, his co-workers and himself. I didn't get bored at all. I suspect the bad reviews were triggered by the wrong expectations. If you expect to see a laugh out loud type of comedy, you will feel disappointed. But if you expect to see a good enough script, well delivered with some nice laughs, you'll be fine.
Identity Thief (2013)
Surprised by the many negative reviews; enjoyed this very much
The negative reviews may be caused by the wrong expectation. It the movie is categorized as a comedy. When you add names like Bateman and McCarthy you may set people up to expect Arrested Development- or Bridesmaides- type of comedy. This movie isn't like that at all. It's definitely got many funny moments hat made me laugh out loud. But I was also moved at some points. The script may not be brilliant, but it's certainly not one-dimensional. Paired with solid performances by the whole cast (even the very minor parts of the kids are well delivered), it makes this a very enjoyable movie to watch. If I had to describe what type of movie it is, I wouldn't describe it as a comedy but as a storytelling movie about two people cross paths because one of them steals the identity of the other person. Over the course of two hours their relationship evolves and turns into something different. It's a mix of comedy, drama and even a little bit of action. Spirit lifting.
It's a love thing I guess
I had no interest in dance, contemporary, experimental or classic. Until, way back, I saw Sacre du Printemps by Pina Bausch. OK, I was a huge fan of Stravinsky and knew every note of the Sacre. I had no idea it could be taken to a whole new level. But for me, Bausch's interpretation did just that.
---- Spoiler ahead ------
The movie starts with big portions of the Sacre in 3D. Wow! For two reasons. The 3D creates a very spatial experience (duhhh...) that I've never seen applied to realistic footage. Secondly, some of the shots are taken from the perspective of one of the dancers. ------- end spoiler -------
So after ten minutes I was totally taken away by it. It's a wonderful eulogy. I felt hot tears running down my cheeks frequently and at unexpected moments. The imagery is jaw dropping. some sequences are breathtaking. I never slept more peaceful after seeing this movie.
But then again, I think my own kids and wife are the most beautiful creatures on the whole planet. And I think very few people would agree with me. I guess I'm looking at them with my heart and soul rather than with my eyes and analytical, judgmental mind (that tells me, reading this back, that I'm overly sentimental about this; but that's just the way it is).
Vantage Point (2008)
Just a nice roller-coaster ride
I realize how you could watch this movie having Rashomon in the back of your mind. Don't. It's a really well made action thriller. You'll see the same 23 minutes over and over again. Every time a few new facts are revealed. While I've seen loads of this type of action action movies, and most of them are very enjoyable to watch, this one definitely stands out. It's not too long, very well paced, well acted. And they didn't bother to weave in a love story that makes no sense and only distracts from the action like in many of the movies of this kind. If you like to wind down, get rid of the stress of the day and have about 80 minutes to spare, you won't regret watching this one.
Deeply moving film
Weird thing: in the middle of the movie David Lynch appeared in my mind's eye. I don't know why he popped into my head but he did. I must have connected the styles intuitively. The mix of story lines, the impressive and sometimes deeply moving shots, the way it gets under your skin. And like David Lynch movies, it's a bad idea to watch this picture using your head. There's another link I think. Lynch is deeply into awareness techniques. He's been doing TM most of his life. Just surrender to its flow of images, lyrics (I can hardly call this text) and music. You might end up with some miraculous insights (or reminded of them)
Unlike the other reviewers who rated this show with just one star I would give it 8. The 9 is just to compensate the other ratings. You shouldn't judge this as a regular CSI episode. It's a parody. The odd one out. Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn created 'Two and a half men' and they switched writers. They helped each other to create a CSI-oriented 'Two and a half men' episode (season five, epis.17 "Fish in a drawer"), and a 'Two and a half men' oriented CSI episode. I think the experiment succeeded very well. I'm a fan of both shows and there are very funny references. The actors succeed wonderfully in being caricatures of themselves. And I happen to think that being able to mock yourself is the highest level of intelligence. If you get that, you'll enjoy this show. If not...sorry, your loss.
Two Twisted (2005)
Nice, engaging, suspenseful and surprising
I'm actually writing this because one of the comments voted only one star. Now I wouldn't even rate Ed Wood's movies with one out of ten stars. The series just came out in the Netherlands and I watched all episodes in the course of three days. That gave me time to try to figure out why some were so negative about Two Twisted. And I still don't understand. Some of them refer to the Outer limits and the Twilight Zone. I own DVD's of both the original Outer limits and the later ones, and also watched a lot of the Twilight Zone. I really can't see how Two Twisted is so much worse according to some people. The twenty minute stories presented here caught my attention without exception. The acting is very believable, the structure works in most of the cases working to the last minute of the episode giving it a twist. In building the story up they use the technique Hitchcock used: telling only parts of the back story so the audience is working hard to figure out the back story. Once you put the pieces together you're already in the third act and then the story ends with a fact putting a spin on everything that happened before. You might think I'm naive or maybe it's just my willingness to surrender to the story not trying to think too hard about how it going to end, but I really didn't see the twist coming in most cases. It may not have been the shock I experienced seeing the Sixth Sense (BTW: many people claimed they already seen it coming before the second act; I have my doubts about that), but it's still good enough to leave a big smile on my face. The stories are very different too. Some of them are Roald Dahl like (meaning they could actually happen in real life but are kind of bizarre or frightening) others are a bit more supernatural. I love both genres so I had a real good time. Twenty minutes is exactly the right length I think.
an pretty cool balancing act.
I don't know anything about Degrassi but I can see why it's been running for so long. Apart from that I love Kevin Smith's work. I don't mean it in a sense that I enjoy all of his work all of the time. But let's get real, I don't like myself and my own work all of the time. So whenever a movie contains some really funny or good scenes I'm happy. An I think this double episode contains a lot of good ideas and some very funny scenes. Because the View Askew universe is embedded within the Degrassi universe Smith uses every opportunity to play around with what is rooted in what universe. The day to day-one (where he's Kevin Smith the writer/director), the Degrassi universe (where he is also Kevin Smith but not married and the director of a Silent Bob movie) or the View Askew universe (where he is Silent Bob in some typical scenes). All three cross over. And to weave all of this into the Degrassi story lines is a pretty amazing balancing act I would say. His wife in real life, Jennifer Schwalbach, has a funny cameo as The Blonde. There's a hilarious scene where he's hit on by a very drunk Caitlin Ryan (who appeared on Degrassi Junior High) that later helps the Degrassi story move ahead. The Alanis Morisette cameo is awesome. Well you'll have watch both episodes (and maybe the previous one to see the setup) yourself but if you are willing to see the whole structure and dig the play between those universes it's a very satisfying watch.
Nothing But Trouble (1991)
Brilliant absurd dark comedy adventure.
I first saw this movie about ten years ago and has haunted my mind since then. Was happy to have found the DVD yesterday. Watched it again and was equally amazed by the huge amount of over the top details and twists. I remember watching it, not knowing what I was looking. missed the first ten minutes I think. So it was only until after the end I was enlightened about Dan Aykroyd playing both the judge and one of his creepy grandsons. That discovery only added to my delight about this movie. Because it was yet another surprise. And this film is full of twists and surprises. It keeps getting wackier and wackier. Every time you think you got everything down something happens that you couldn't have imagined. It gets gross, it gets creepy and definitely uncomfortable, it gets absurd. --SMALL SPOILER-- For example The party that has been arrested is offered a dinner (this sounds nicer than it actually is). First they serve grey looking big sausages. Then the middle of the table changes into a model train track and you can't believe they actually made that. Then the train starts to run by with all kind of sauces like ketchup, mustard etc. The judge, who looks really awful, demonstrates in a very distasteful way how to add ketchup to your sausage. It makes you feel nauseous. And just when you think you've had it, there is a shot of Chevy Chase looking at the judge's nose and he sees the glans of a penis. --END OF SPOILER-- Maybe I have a strange sense of humor or enjoy movies for a different reason than most people, but I really liked the creativity, the attention to detail, the surprises, the over the top story, and the nice finale. The set designers must have had a vivid fantasy because there are some set pieces that are truly incredible (all kinds of gadgets, but also the exterior of the judge's house). I think Dan Aykroyd is brilliant as the judge. I would say all other parts are supporting roles. I would put this movie in the same category as Shaun of the Dead. A kind of horror-comedy-adventure. Although I think Shaun of the Dead includes more belly laughs. And the comedy in Nothing but Trouble is more dark. If you're looking for a National Lampoon kind of comedy, skip this movie. But if you expect a very strange, creepy, over the top, dark-comedy with some horror elements that makes you feel uncomfortable at times and laugh with anxiety at other times, this is for you.
The Thing About My Folks (2005)
Mr. Paul Reiser has written a brilliant script. the photography adds at least a dozen memorable pictures that, I'm happy to say, are in frame a little bit longer than just one second, so we can really process them. The storyline is very simple: after Sam Kleinman (Peter Falk) shows his son Ben Kleinman (Paul Reiser) a letter from his wife telling him she has left him to break loose of her life, they end up spending time together driving through the country; they talk about their relationship, being a father, son and husband. Only a great storyteller could turn this into a story that is interesting and engaging in every scene. And that's just what happens. Even the set up of the story is full of recognizable details that will get you in the mood of family life with all it's little great and annoying moments. Their small scale adventure (with nice unexpected developments) in the outer world helps them to explore the vast inner world of their own hopes, regrets, dreams, sorrows and ambitions. Both of them deliver a very vivid, believable and at many times brilliant performance. As the two men get to see new sides of each other we learn also about their past and their wife/mother and her view on life. Watching the movie you can't help but compare the situations, emotions and points of view with those in your own life. The gentle pace leaves you space to ponder about your relationship with your own partner, with your parents and children. You will smile, laugh out loud, be moved, and cry a little bit at some points. it'll leave you deeply connected with life and its treasures and flaws. and might even inspire you to re-evaluate some of your relationships in order to turn them into a better version while you still have the opportunity.