Reviews

2,046 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
5/10
I want to say that it was an ode to Blackness, but I can't.
6 March 2021
Of course I was a lot younger then, but I remember I enjoyed the first Coming to America movie. It was silly, but fun. The sequel is not fun. They brought a lot of the original cast back, they expanded it with celebrities (past) of color, they kept the story similar to the original, but there is no soul in it. It all felt jarring and lame.

Not being American I know little of Black culture, but the scenes with the people from Queens felt really awkward to me, with their broken English and their self-centered loud irreverence. How are they not offensive to the audience, especially people from Queens? I remember I was once in this international setting and some of my countrymen started to sing. And they were the loudest people there, proudly shouting that they are Romanians. No one could stop them, no one else could join in the singing or sing their own music anymore, no one could do anything but leave or accept the noise. And I only felt embarrassment, just like I feel about this film.

P.S. If you're going to put Bella Murphy in the film to act with her father, why the hell won't you give her some lines?!
0 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Black Bear (I) (2020)
7/10
Not all indie films need to be 100% indie!
6 March 2021
This is an indie film about creatives. Writing, acting, making a movie, extreme emotions and their expression. Yes, the meta film is back in business and it stars Aubrey Plaza, which is the only reason why I watched it in the first place. Only instead of the sharp wit and weird sense of humor I had expected it's all just about women being jealous of each other and coveting the same man, then screaming about it because... artists. For two hours straight.

If you like films made by movie people about movie people, if you like uncomfortable scenes of anguish and people being asses to one another and have two extra hours you don't know what to do with, this is for you.

The average rating I gave is mostly because it was really well acted, which is why the film was probably done: to let actors show their "range" in a story without an actual subject.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Close (I) (2019)
6/10
It goes for gritty and it is based on real people, maybe even events, but it's kind of boring
5 March 2021
Once in a while we get these films in which people are not perfect, not everything works, they get wounded, they hurt, they have emotional issues. All of this is good. Unfortunately for Close, you get people you don't care about fighting incompetent and formulaic villains for reasons that are not clear enough. Also the acting is not good, and I am talking both Noomi and Indira Varma. I understand that this is some sort of female driven film, but while it was entertaining, it has real issues with characters and with pacing.

Now, I understand this is based on a real person, Jacquie Davis, so maybe the plot was limited by reality, but I shouldn't need to go to Wikipedia to decide whether I like a film or not. And this one was boring.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Possessor (2020)
6/10
Too Cronenberg for no reason at all
5 March 2021
The son of David Cronenberg wants to to a movie like Existenz, but he ultimately fails to do so. The acting is good, but the plot is really drawn out and says almost nothing in the end. Also, as many others noted, there is some gratuitous gore and violence put in which doesn't really advance the story in any way, and that extends to some other things as well.

The entire thing revolves around people that "jockey" other people in order to do very mundane things like assassinations. The very idea is lacking imagination, considering that the premise of this film is killing people for other people that want their money and the very obvious alternative is to jockey the people directly and take their money. And then there is an entire exploration of what it means to inhabit other people's lives and minds, but it goes nowhere other than hallucinating some images.

At least the end was good because the jockey finally got back on track and remembered her work ethic! I am kidding. The end was bad.

Bottom line: an overly long film that shouts "Cronenberg!!!!" but needed very little of the signature characteristics of a Cronenberg movie to tell this story. I hope Brandon will find his own voice rather than bank on the same ideas his father explored. Or was it really Brandon? Maybe his father was jockeying him!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
The good balances the bad
4 March 2021
Lyndsey Marshal has a history with Agatha Christie adaptations and I believe she was a good fit for the character of Agatha in this film. However the character itself was a bit too bland. Also the story was showing random people getting killed without telling us anything about them. Agatha's lack of emoting combined with the overall care free reaction to murder of just about everybody made the film feel implausible.

Now, the acting was decent for all, without it being stellar in any way, but it was really difficult to empathize with any of the characters or feel for the history or culture of Iraq. And to top it all off, they added the artificial character of Pearl, whose only reason for existence seemed to be being an educated and attractive Black young woman who had a few scenes to complain about not being taken seriously, then proceed to be irrelevant to the story.

Bottom line: the storytelling felt amateurish and failed to compel me in any way. Too bad, because the acting was good.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Moxie (2021)
8/10
Nicely acted, a bit too heavy handed, but a nice feel good teen feminist film
3 March 2021
So this film is about feminism. If you remove that from the story, almost nothing is left. But that doesn't make it a bad movie. I liked the girls, they were so beautiful and vibrant, and the idea that some people are being ignored and stepped on systematically should feel disgusting to all, so it was a story worth telling. The acting was very good for young people and the direction was good, too.

Yet it's not a perfect film. There was a moment when a girl admits to tripping one guy who broke his hand and not apologizing about it because that's feminism. No, it's not! And while the girls were from all kinds of races and had their own well shaped characters, the guys were just black and white: the nice sensitive down with feminism guys and the total complete asshole athletic rapists or complete morons. Other than about 4 guys, the others just don't have any lines, it's solely about the girls and their viewpoint. The message here is "shout out! express yourself however you want! nothing can stop you!" when reality is that, yes, it can stop you quite hard. So for that reason alone, I call it a feel good movie, because it was like an extreme caricature of life.

Bottom line: yes, it's an Amy Poehler vehicle to push her agenda, but it is also a feel good movie about girls finding their voices. I also felt that Lala stole the film, because she came off as much more centered and powerful (not to mention beautiful) than the lead actress. Also, the poster for the film almost made me skip it. You have to get past it.
8 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Cosmic Sin (2021)
3/10
It was simply awful
2 March 2021
Bruce Willis stopped telegraphing his acting for this film. He just didn't act at all. I mean, it looked like he was between high and mentally disabled. I worry about the dude. Then Frank Grillo, happenstance makes that I have seen three of his films this week, I was just saying how I wish he would get a break. Not for this film! Note that he is billed first, above Willis, and his role is at most 15 minutes from the film anyway.

But what makes this film shine like a black hole is the story. It felt more than devoid of passion, like a spreadsheet that sucks one's soul away in the accounting department on a hot day after the air conditioning died. I mean, if a kid would have written it, it at least would have been fun. If someone was incompetent it would have felt like trying to send some kind of message, however badly. But no, it ... just made no sense, like someone hated writing for this film.

Bottom line: it is so bad you can't even enjoy it wasted. It's a non-movie. It's like what's on the other side of the event horizon of TV static.
67 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
You have to realize that the lead is a sympathetic villain, not a hero
2 March 2021
We are slaves to the narratives we've been fed since childhood. The White Tiger is about that and slyly works on the same mechanism, as well. You see, you think you will watch a story of the rise of a nice boy from poverty, but in fact it is the story of the forced corruption of a man. This might not sit well with you because, you see, you've been told stories when you were raised about how the good in people always triumphs. I find it hilarious that the viewer is somehow pulled in as a character in the lesson of this film.

And there are a lot of positives for the film: the acting was top notch, the story held so many little excruciating moments - like watching the training of a dog: you cringe, but somehow see the value in it. You wouldn't want to be the dog, but hey, you're not, so it's OK. It also dissects the culture of India, shows some horrific systemic problems with the country. The main character exclaims in disgust "The biggest democracy in the world", but fails to realize, maybe even up to the end, that the fact people continue to put up with everything and organically organize hierarchically is an artifact of democracy, that things are kind of the same all over the place, maybe without the over the counter slave mentality, but very similar nonetheless.

Not everything is good. The story told as the writing of an email, the hinted at but never realized idea of the white man's yoke being replaced by the brown and yellow man's.... yoke, the ending. I would have given this film one full extra star if not for the weak ending.

Bottom line: teaches one about the realities of the soon most numerous country in the world, but also about the commonalities with other places. I would love to see a sequel/remake set in the US or in the Netherlands. Make it a series about people that wake up.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Sea Fever (2019)
7/10
Parasite horror, but a bit all over the place
1 March 2021
What was this film supposed to be? A hero journey for a geeky maladroit student? An exploration of the Irish ways of the sea? Body horror? Cabin Fever on the sea? All of the above? It had a bit of everything and not enough of anything.

I mean, the actors were good - the cast is excellent, the direction was kind of OK, but the story was all over the place. And the sea creature was completely implausible. Also, the editing was really bad. I am sure this film could have been better with another cut in the editing room. And maybe I got the censored version, but this was supposed to be body horror with sea parasites and the actual gory scenes were off screen or really short.

Bottom line: a decent enough setup and a nice cast, but used poorly in something that can only aspire to be average.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Archenemy (2020)
6/10
A decent premise, but a drab execution
1 March 2021
I like Joe Manganiello. No matter how many bad roles he does, I still have something in my heart for him, some hope that he will do better and shine. Unfortunately it's not this film. The plot is not that original, but OK: a guy pretending to be a superhero from another dimension, while we have to struggle to believe him in lack of any real evidence, the hapless kids that get into something bad and need help, the comic book vibe, the resolution at the end. And it kind of starts promising, too. Yet from the middle on it just gets depressing and slow and badly acted.

Bottom line: I would have liked to like this film, but it just wasn't the case. It felt like an episode of Powers with an even lower budget and worse acting.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Boss Level (2020)
9/10
Excellent and concise, it is a proper sci-fi story, with some decent action
1 March 2021
Do not get deceived by first appearances. Yes, it's a small movie, it stars Frank Grillo, who had to act in some pretty shoddy films in order to get ahead and it's not something for the Oscars, but it is a perfect little film for what it wants to do. The plot is simple: infinite time loop, second movie like that I've seen in two days. But instead of having the hero moan about the boredom of having infinite time, which always annoys the hell out of me, it starts with people wanting to kill him. All top assassins, finding him wherever he runs. And if he dies, he starts over, if he does not, his wife dies, then his son, then the world ends.

If I had to compare it with an existing film, I would rather compare it to Hardcore Henry than to other time loop films. Yet that film was an experiment in video game cinematics, while this is a decent sci-fi story: a good ole what-if, with some action sprinkled for fun. So congratulations to Joe Carnahan and to Frank Grillo, because they made one of those gems in the mud that people talk about. And yes, Mel Gibson is a secondary character at best, but so is Michelle Yeoh, and both are perfect for their roles and they clearly have fun with them.

Bottom line: watch it, you won't be disappointed.

P.S. Is Naomi Watts annoying in real life, too? I mean, all her characters are awful. In this one she admits she didn't know whether her plan would work, you know, the one where she kills her husband over and over and over again, then the world ends.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Palm Springs (2020)
8/10
Infinite time loop romance
27 February 2021
This is Groundhog Day ver 2.0, with updated references, upgraded sexy actors and kind of the same plot. To me this kind of story always makes me insanely angry: how dare they underuse an infinite time loop? Do they realize they could learn everything there is on the Internet?! But enough about me.

The acting was good, the characters compelling, but the story is not bringing a lot to the table. I mean, yeah, Cristin is someone one could look at for an eternity and not have a problem with it, but there was nothing captivating in the film other than the chemistry between the two leads. Also, considering the ending, I would say she would have soon gotten bored with the guy. And also beside the two characters, nothing else was fleshed out in any way. All of the other people at the wedding were cardboard.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Apostle (2018)
7/10
Think Wicker Man, but with a more classical plot
25 February 2021
I think Dan Stevens was a very good choice for this film: his haunted look, "the eyes that have seen things", also his rather average build which makes him more relatable. The story starts like Wicker Man, with our man going to a weird island that a weird cult settled. He wants to saves his sister, which was abducted and being ransomed for money. You see, the locals are starving, regardless of the protection of their goddess. Slowly, a combination of good old human politics and witchery is revealed while the hero must save the day.

I think the ending was a bit weak, though. Too many twists, one after the other, and people behaving in a certain way just to make the story go in the right direction. Probably the writers cared more about the beginning than the ending, which was quite a mess. I think the fact that Thomas readily found allies in the community there (including the beautiful and innocent girl - you gotta have one of those, right?) also weakened the story. As for the supernatural part, it felt like a gimmick, something that could have been just as easily removed from the film without anyone missing it.

Bottom line: better than your average horror and the fact that it is an era piece makes it feel more grounded. However, the more you run the setup in your head you realize better stories could have been told with the same resources. The bad ending makes the movie go down quite a lot.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Advantageous (2015)
7/10
An interesting story, but slow and so boastfully indie
25 February 2021
I am tired and dismissive of movies that manipulate the viewer with music for what they are supposed to feel, formulaic plots and archetypal characters to appeal to as many people as possible, big actor names that don't really have to act and silly little stories that bring nothing new to the table. Well, Advantageous is the opposite of that, but in such a showy way that it also felt a bit annoying. It started with the indie badges of honor being displayed more prominently than the actors' names, it had a story that was full of meaning and intellectual richness but actors were all slow acting and depressed and everything was implied and for most of the film, if not all, it had no soundtrack. And that ending that brings no closure at all, screaming "Think it for yourself!!"

But the story is cool and there were some truly brilliant moments in it, like the homeless person one and some at the end with the mother-daughter connection that you had to think a little about to realize what they meant. Difficult to discuss the plot without spoiling it and all I can say is this: the general idea of the film is obvious after about 15 minutes, but the details are important and there is more coming, so watch the whole thing.

Bottom line: with a little bit of moderation, this could have been both an intelligent indie film and an entertaining popular one, but it felt like the authors opted hard for the first half only. Therefore it is unlikely to become either a success or a cult film. However, it has many merits and I do not regret watching it. I recommend it, but one has to be in a certain cerebral mood to enjoy it.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Horns (2013)
6/10
Supernatural murder thriller that promises much and underdelivers
23 February 2021
There is a small town where everybody knows everybody else, they all spent their childhoods together, they fall in love with each other and now, they kill. Everybody, for reasons not really explained, including the parents of the guy, think Daniel Radcliffe's character has murdered his childhood sweetheart, but they can't prove it. So we get through some flashbacks of everybody involved so as to feel the story has depth, then we reach the final twist and the story ends. And to make it less boring and predictable, a gimmick is added: the main character grows horns that give him the devilish powers of influencing people's sins.

Now, this could have changed something, maybe, but in fact it only makes the story move faster towards its inevitable conclusion: the unmasking of the murderer. The acting was decent, the movie values good, but the plot and editing left a lot to be desired. Characters popped up just to fill a gap, then were never seen again, or they behaved quite unlike the background story that was clumsily attached to them. And then we get to the end and it is... really really stupid. It provides little closure, it goes against what pretty much everybody involved wanted and its really wasteful and disappointing. No moral value, no catharsis, no entertainment.

Bottom line: this is based on a book, so I guess the story could not have been changed too much, but in this case it should have been. It's a badly crafted story with a gimmick slapped on and a good cast that somehow was shoehorned to play in the film and pull the audience in. I don't recommend it.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
It's better you know what this film is about before you watch it. Charlie Kaufman does it again.
19 February 2021
Usually I recommend people to not watch or read reviews, just enjoy the film in their own way. This one, though, is better if you are well prepared for it. It's a two hour fifteen minute film that requires another twenty minutes for the obligatory YouTube video that explains what you've just seen. Foundflix has a nice Explained for it, but watch or read whatever. Because you need to understand you are going to sit through the slow, oh so slow, dissolution of a man's mind, complete with heavy references to books and films and musicals, awkward scenes that make you want to skip forward, long internal monologues, the whole thing. It is also worth mentioning that this film is based of a book, one that is not written by Kaufman, but right up his alley. You might want to check that out before attempting to see the film.

Once you know you are going to see that, you won't feel cheated when finally starting to watch the movie and realizing it will not entertain you at all. Maybe it will make you ponder the nature of reality and inner life, maybe it will make you grab a gun and kill yourself or your parents, maybe it will make you write a dissertation on it, so other people get what you got or at least friends will honor you for surviving through it, but relaxing entertainment or any sort of pleasure that is not purely intellectual you will not get.

There are no twists at the end, the basic premise is made clear rather soon and from that moment you will wait for the film to end. There is no hero journey, no big reveal of information that will guide you through life, no story. The only beautiful thing in the movie is Jessie Buckley. So get into your Dostoyevski reading mood or whatever and only then attempt a viewing. Just trying on a whim and then complaining about it won't cut it. You have to work to see this film. Only when you're prepared to do that work will I recommend it to you.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Strange melange of coming of age, literature and film references and applied psychology
17 February 2021
You can tell from the get go that this film is made from a book and that who made the film is from New York. It's the perfect blend of introspection and neurosis. Nicely acted, touching at the same time the weird and wonderful perspective on life that young people have, full of feeling and confusion, and the reality of one's existence. Yes, it ends predictably with the young'un reaching maturity, but it also celebrates youth, with all of its idiosyncrasies. The references to classic literature were kept at a minimum, while the occasional foray into different movie styles was just a one time gimmick and less something to distract from the story.

Bottom line: good film, fresh take, a bit slow and not by any means perfect, but better than what I've seen lately.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Monster Hunter (I) (2020)
6/10
It started really well, it fizzled in the middle and ended stupidly, but it was still very entertaining
17 February 2021
At first I thought that this is an adaptation of The Doomfarers of Coramonde, which was a pretty formulaic and overly pompous book, but had the same premise: modern soldiers brought to another world and facing magical forces. But no, it is an adaptation from a video game. Still, I didn't know that when I watched the film, so I was pleasantly impressed when it started. Too many characters died at the same time for no good reason, people didn't really act like soldiers, but hell, it's Milla being tough and beautiful in a fantasy world, why complain?

And indeed the beginning was great: special effects were good, even if they felt taken from other franchises and pasted here, the fight scenes were good, the horror scenes were good. I really expected something wonderful and was already looking forward to writing this review. However, after that came a section of the film that seemed to be unrelated: characters change location, monsters are different, new characters appear with one that speaks English so a complete change of tone. And then there is a really stupid fighting part at the end, I mean dumb as nails, and the film ends.

How can you mess this up so much? Who writes a story about 8 characters and kills 7 off the bat? Who brings other 7 characters into the story and then have them do nothing at all? Who fights with swords and arrows against a creature that can open a tank like a can of tuna? So if I had to rate this film by parts it would be 8 stars, 6 stars, 2 stars. That ending, man... it sucked balls! It felt like someone told Anderson "Hey! Remember this is a video game adaptation and so it HAS to be bad". But it could have been so good!

I haven't played the game and so I suppose some of the story wa locked in place, but really, how bad can this game be?
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
An understated story about identity under social pressure
16 February 2021
I wanted to watch this film because I didn't think I would have the stamina to read the book. I'd already finished another book by Emily M. Danforth and it took me forever to finish it, even if it was very well written. And both stories have some things in common: they are about lesbians, the harsh almost organic rejection of homosexuality from the outside world, the calm and silent horror of just being different every single moment. Oh, and they both kind of end when you expect something more dramatic to happen.

Anyway, back to the film, I really liked it. It's very well acted and it is almost a collection of anecdotes rather than a complete and linear story. The main character is a girl who is caught "sinning" with another girl, so she is sent to this Christian retreat to be "cured". And what a grand idea to take misadjusted teenagers and put them together in a reeducation camp. What could possibly go wrong?

Yet the strength of the film lies not in the loud bits, but in the quiet horror of being programmed, "taught to hate yourself" as the protagonist puts it, little by little. Disconnected from the past, family and friends and the real world, made to doubt your very sanity, pushed little by little by parents, guardians and Christian psychologists while you are basically just a child. This is not one of those Handmaiden's Tale camps, though. It's beautiful country, there are no fences, and the people inside were manipulated, shamed or otherwise told by their parents to come there. There are no great complicated plans for escape, one can leave at any time, but go where? Not home, that's for sure. The understatedness of the film is what makes it great because you realize that in order to feel protected from the outside world, we are ready to let horrible things be done to us.

Bottom line: people waiting for some grand event, twist or reveal at the end missed the point of the story. It's the little subtle things that make the difference. This is a good film.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Beautiful imagery, but very slow movie
11 February 2021
This is a film that is over two hours long. Most of it is people emoting with their faces without doing anything, moving slowly, talking slowly. The rest is a bit of Wire-fu and CGI and a lot of knowledge lost in translation. That doesn't make it a bad film, because the production values and acting were good, while the story is a combination of murder mystery, detective story, love drama and monster flick. Yeah, it goes all over the place. It's just slow.

Moreover, a lot of other reviewers took the story to be about the love between the master and the empress, but to me it felt like it was more between Qing Ming and Bo Ya. Certainly they had the more romantically long face emoting moments. And that ending!

Anyway, there is a lot of stuff lost in translation for a Westerner. Even if we don't need to understand the mechanics of the magic, or the spirit servants, or the giant snake, we can get the overall idea for the story. But as many other people said, what you see translated in the English subtitles is also not enough to understand what the people are talking about, certainly not the finer metaphorical and cultural aspects of the dialogue.

Bottom line: I watched this on the TV app, which doesn't have a speed setting. Netflix! Make the speed setting available everywhere!! Did I mention the film feels really slow?
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Knives Out (2019)
9/10
A very fun homage to mystery novel adaptations
8 February 2021
Because of the way he responds to criticism, I am not a fan of Rian Johnson, but you have to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's: this movie was well written, well acted and filled with love and attention to details. It feels like an homage to Hercule Poirot films, even having one character watch an Angela Lansbury episode of Murder She Wrote at one time. You get the house of rich a-holes who all have a reason, the victim dying in strange circumstances, the innocent character that the viewers can identify with - if anyone can truly identify with Ana de Armas... - and, of course, the weird private detective with a strange accent. Perfection!

But then still, you get more love. A cast of celebrity actors for even the smaller roles, a story that has all the elements in the clear, inviting the viewer to solve the mystery themselves and a clear feeling of people enjoying their work. I have to say, with sadness in my heart, that being used with movies having the twist at the end based on ad-hoc information than the viewer wasn't even privy to, I didn't even try to figure the mystery out. I invite you to do so, because once you try, it's pretty satisfying.

The movie is a bit too long and for people not feeling nostalgic about the mystery series they were watching when they were children it might feel a bit dry.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A very decent effort, marred by some impossibly cheesy Asian cliches
6 February 2021
Earth is doomed by pollution, so the big planetary corporation wants to create a new Eden on Mars, where only the chosen ones will be able to go. The rest are treated as subhumans and are left to fend for themselves. Meet a ragtag crew of space sweepers who, despite the name, are not really clearing up debris, but are more like a salvage crew. And of course, the solution for life on Earth falls into their lap and they have to defend it from the evil Caucasian CEO.

I liked the special effects and I liked a lot how multicultural and multinational the world in space was built. Chinese, Russians, Africans, Asians, French, American people all working in space in a truly global culture where everyone speaks their own language and has translator earbuds. Lot more credible dan de Beltalowda, ke?

However some of the Asian film cliches were so cheesy as to be laughable. We already have the magical indestructible nanobots that can do anything, but only when controlled by a child, the evil corporation and its sadistic henchpeople, the trope of the super pilot who can do high speed maneuvers around multiple moving obstacles without AI assistance. But we also get the shouting of someone's name while walking like a robot towards them, so enemies can do whatever they want, the teary eyed goodbyes, the endless self sacrifice scenes (which the other people don't use to get a hold of the situation and instead shout someone's name like dumbasses), the pure magical child that everybody feels the need to love and protect, the psychopathic enemies, etc. At one point my wife asked me: is this an anime? Well, it's not, it's a movie into which clearly a lot of effort was put. But it feels like an anime.

Bottom line: don't expect a masterpiece of film making, but as an Asian cyberpunky space pulp it's pretty good. Certainly more effort and thought went into this than in many of the recent Hollywood sci-fis.
2 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Opening Night (II) (2016)
6/10
A film made for Broadway people
21 January 2021
Occasionally you get the movie about movies, or the play about plays, or - as it is in this case - a musical about musicals. I will give it what it's due: the music didn't feel out of place until the very end. I mean, it's a film about the musical business, of which it makes fun of for having people breaking into song for no good reason, so it makes sense to have people break into song all the time, especially if you like circular reasoning. And the acting was OK, although I really feel Topher Grace was pretty weak as a lead and the show was stolen by Taye Diggs, as always.

Other than that it is a straight stage movie, with the high stake opening night as a background, the fast pace of everything, having to work with people that are very different and often overdramatic, the obligatory romance between coworkers and the eventual stand-up ovation that was cringeworthy at the end.

So, I didn't feel the film opened any new world to me. I still dislike musicals and all they stand for and the antics of over-drugged drama queens are of no interest to me. If you like that kind of thing, you might enjoy this. Still I rate it low because I just thought it was a weak movie, not because of the subject matter.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A smartly made movie, although that may just be the merit of the book
21 January 2021
I have not read the book, but if I am to understand the movie's claims or the background information I collected, this was based on a true story. The movie just... errm.. spiked it a bit.

Anyway, I liked the movie. It was smart. It showed Black people in ideological opposition to White people, which made the two groups more similar, not more different. It showed the good people of the police, as well as the bad. It showed the violent, dumb, impulsive people as part of larger groups of people who are not like that at all. Even the Klan was presented in a reasonable light, in the sense that it was made of people which were different and had different reasons for what they were doing.

It contained a lot of not so subtle attacks on Trump, which I found rather stupid. You take a book about 1978, first published in 2014, that contains a well balanced story and beautiful timeless characters and you turn it into a timelocked attack on the current president. The things that were added to the basic story didn't work so well either, trying to bring tension or humor where the story was discussing human nature and group dynamic.

So I have no idea if this was a bad adaptation of a good book or a good adaptation of a mediocre one. I liked the movie. I don't think John David Washington did a great job, but he was decent and the supporting cast was awesome. Ignore the more heavy handed ideas that the film tries to make you swallow and you will find this is a fun and complex examination of people being people and only then about racism, which is always welcome.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Artemis Fowl (2020)
5/10
An utter mess for anyone that has not read the books, like me
16 January 2021
So imagine my surprise to find that this mess was directed by Kenneth Branagh. I expected them to be one of those woke 13 year olds fighting to make a mark in the big bad world who won't acknowledge their nonexistent accomplishments. I have no idea who Artemis Fowl is and, after seeing this film, I still don't. I wanted to complain that if they're going to make a movie about Irish Celtic mythology, why not get some good Irish people to do the job? And they did! Writers and directors and a lot of the lead actors are Irish or maybe Scottish. More McPeople than I've ever seen in one place. And it felt like a McDonalds meal. You mucked it all up! You failed in expressing your own culture, you did!

The only positive in the film are the visuals. They are quite well done. And the cast, if one can call it an achievement, since many of the actors in that cast are misused or not used and simply put there to attract people in the cinemas. The joke is on them. I mean, look at this: illustrious director - check, stars like Colin Farrell, Judi Dench and Josh Gad - check, children story from acclaimed book about hidden magical worlds - check. Beautiful girls that may become media idols in the near future like Tamara Smart and Lara McDonnell - check. Cha-ching! Nothing else deserves any attention. Characterization, none. Story, none. Feeling, none. Editing: abysmal - those guys should be fired.

Why does the black guy have blue eyes? Why is Juliet in the film at all? Why is a world of technomagical fairies that live centuries and have a skeleton key to the universe afraid of the human world? Why can't we even see the face of the villain or know anything about her other than she is mad humans make fun of fairies? None of that is explained in any satisfactory manner. And the main character? An annoying kid who has not acted in ANYTHING before this. And it shows! The best actor in the whole movie was Lara McDonnell. She's 17! And I may have been mesmerized by her eye magic thing when saying that.

Bottom line: typical Hollywood condescendence for viewers when making children's movies. I mean most of the movies they make assume the viewer is an imbecile, children movies are a notch worse. And worse, it puts people off from reading the book. Even if I had any inkling of an idea to read it, that's gone now. This film makes the writer and publishers of the book lose money!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed