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Nina (I) (2016)
4/10
I was not impressed by this film's portrayal of Nina's life, her music and her importance in history.
25 April 2016
Nina Simone was a huge public figure in the black civil rights movement and one of the most popular jazz musicians of all time. She remains to this day very influential and unique. This film managed to capture none of it. It decides to focus entirely on her romantic relationship with her assistant during the last years of her life and - even though it does address her mental health issues and her problems with showbiz - it briefly skims over all the good and important influence she had over culture and music. Zoe Saldana may have been able to pull off her demeanour while in daily life, however her 'on stage' performances were underwhelming. I don't have a problem with her doing her own singing while impersonation an actual person, because a voice-over would probably not have worked well, however, Zoe's auto-tuned performance failed to capture the spirituality, strength and powerful presence that Nina had. Obviously, no one can be as good a Nina as Nina was, but if I didn't know who Nina Simone was before this movie, I certainly would not have cared about her afterwards. Overall, I was not impressed by this film's portrayal of Nina's life, her music and her importance in history. If you want a better portrayal of Nina, watch What Happened, Miss Simone (her documentary) or listen to her actual music.
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The 5th Wave (2016)
3/10
This movie had potential… That's it, that's the only compliment I can give it.
7 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This movie had potential… That's it, that's the only compliment I can give it.

The movie starts off with a lot of narration (I mean I get that we have to know what's going on, and why it's called The 5th Wave), but there could have been a better way to let us know information without giving us only exposition and narration for the first like 20 minutes of this movie. Other than the way they presented it, the concept seems cool and varies slightly from other YA novels to movies that came out before. But then she loses her brother, ventures off into the woods and meets a guy. From that point on her storyline becomes a drawn-out typical teen dystopian romance and it's boring.

Let's also talk about the main plot of the movie: that being the military training young people to take out the aliens (or as the movie calls them, the Others *groan*). The movie also uses the military leader as an exposition character, where basically his only role in the movie is to tell us what's going on and the progression of the aliens. Whatever, I didn't really have a problem with that storyline with the kids in the military, but the twist ending is honestly the dumbest thing ever. If everyone in the military has been taken over by the aliens, why would they be the ones to tell humans that they had the power to do so in the first place? The aliens could have secretly been killing off humans while no one knew that they where in fact aliens. But now that the humans are all aware that the aliens can take over their minds, they are now in the lookout for that. Also, since they are the military, why create an army of kids to kill off other humans (that the kids are led to believe are aliens, even though they're not) instead of kill humans themselves? In the scene where we are introduced to the army, they were successful in gathering everyone in one enclosed environment and surrounding them, so why didn't they keep using that tactic? Why only keep the kids, too? I guess they're easier to manipulate, but it's easier to physically train adults and kill them off once they've fulfilled their purpose.

*sigh*

I get that they were trying to have a cool twist, but if it ends up demolishing the rest of the movie that came before it, it really is not worth it. She reunites with her brother at the end, but right after the movie hints to a possible love triangle that could happen in the next movie (please don't let there be a sequel). Maybe the aliens are just really stupid, as demonstrated with the love interest that turns out to be an alien and doesn't kill her because he thinks she's pretty, as well as the whole military thing… but if they're capable of all the damage they've done and mind control, I don't see how it makes any sense.

Yeah, I'm analyzing a YA movie too much, but if we keep accepting stuff like this, they'll keep making them. This is another attempt from Hollywood movie executives taking young teenagers' money by recycling the same lazy stories over and over again. I do not recommend this movie to anyone (unless you want to watch it just to make fun of it).
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9/10
Amazing sci-fi that treats its audience with respect
7 April 2016
First and foremost, Jeff Nichols is quickly becoming one of my favourite directors working today, and I honestly believe that his movies have increasingly become better.

Midnight Special starts off in the middle of the plot, and does not rely on exposition. This movie treats its audience with respect and allows them to piece together the reasons and events throughout the progression of the film. It gives just enough detail in order to understand but not too little to have no idea what is going on. We are put in the same position as the characters in this movie - where we know just as much as they do about the origin and extent of the child's powers. Although the ending is a twist that many probably do not understand, it feels deserved and does not feel out of place in the context of the movie; however, the characters probably think it is out of place, but that is because they do not have the outsider perspective that the audience does. In terms of the characters, Michael Shannon's character does feel like a father who would genuinely do this for his son (especially because he may feel as though he is making up for lost time) and the other characters are very enjoyable and feel necessary to the movie. The atmosphere and feel of the movie is amazing, and even though the plot itself sounds absurd - a father and son are on the run from religious extremists because the son possesses special powers - but it is much more than that and feels believable in its execution.
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The Wave (2015)
6/10
A good disaster movie, not entirely original
7 April 2016
A good disaster movie that made good use with its limited budget. The concept is not original, neither is its point of view of the disaster, but it still manages to be entertaining and have good character moments and acting. The wave itself is caused by a break in a rock-like mountain, which is apparently a real problem facing Norway currently that could - and most likely, will - happen. So it's not only a disaster movie, but the stakes seem to extend to the real world. Since I don't live in Norway it does not influence my judgement over the film; nonetheless, I find it to be an interesting perceptive in attempting to distribute that information. The movie also does not rely on special effects, but when there are some, it is acceptable. The story focuses on a particular family and their goal of reuniting during this disaster and actually does a good job and making me care for them. Although it still falls in the category of typical disaster films, it is one of the better ones.
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9/10
A fun time with some fun characters
6 April 2016
This movie not only captures the 80s perfectly, but it also creates a comedy that has the same spirit as a comedy that would have come out in the 80s. It is lighthearted, and just like Dazed and Confused, it does not rely on plot but of the joy of following these characters in their day-to-day lives (or in this case the first couple days before college classes start). The jokes are not forced, and you just constantly feel giddy throughout the movie, because you feel as though they are genuinely enjoying themselves - and by extension, so is the audience. The outfits are hilarious (men crop tops and short shorts) but still feel authentic to the time and the characters. The movie features many stars in the making, and by doing so, you care more about the characters instead of big actor names. Richard Linklater does it once again in capturing the human spirit, instead of trying to make it event/plot-heavy but instead focus on human spirit and simply having a good time.
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The Boy (2016)
5/10
Good suspense but bad twists.
6 April 2016
The movie takes a not-so-original concept of a creepy, possibly possessed doll but does a fine job in doing so. The movie was not awful like other early year horror movie, and makes some good and some bad choices in its direction and storytelling.

On the positive side, there is a creepy enough atmosphere in the movie and it does succeed to create genuine suspense. There are no false jump scares (meaning if there is a scare, it's from something that should actually elicit fear) and the acting is pretty good.

However, there are a few negative points. The first are the dream sequences; there are two of them, and at this point dream sequences are pretty much always a gimmick, and add nothing to the film. It creates a false scare, which means that we can become desensitized to real scares in the rest of the movie. The ending (although a valiant effort at a cool twist) ends up making no sense when you think back on past events, and is incoherent.

All in all, it was a enjoyable and was better than I thought it would have been. The director made some interesting decisions, some that paid off and some that did not. At least some attention from the cast and crew went into this film.
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Get a Job (2016)
2/10
The jokes fall flat, just like its characters
6 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Miles Teller is once again playing the same character he always plays; I'm starting to question whether his role in Whiplash was a one time thing. He was fine in this role, I think he's mastered this character, but his character in this film was uninteresting. The cast (Bryan Cranston, Ana Kendrick, Alison Brie, etc.) is surprisingly very talented, but it seems that they were wasted in this movie because their characters are indistinguishable from one another. The movie is about people losing their jobs and eventually getting a job, and yet does not succeed in demonstrating why they deserve their job or would realistically even get that job. For example, Miles Teller's character gets his dream job by making a "viral video" (I doubt the movie knows what viral means, because he only get 100 000 views on only one video) and gets a straight pass to job offers and a start at his own company. I don't think that that's how life works, but apparently this movie thinks so. Other than the plot, it's supposed to be a comedy, and it's not actually funny - I mean it's not unfunny but when there is jokes, they kind of fall flat (like its characters).
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Frank (II) (2014)
10/10
An original quirky story with complex, intriguing characters
10 August 2015
The film manages to walk a thin line of being a comedy about people with mental illnesses without making fun of them. It is a quirky comedy (similar comedic tone as a Wes Anderson film) that explores deeper themes of mental illness, accepting who you are (or aren't) and trying to release your inner creativity. It is completely imaginative and is unlike any other movie, yet it succeeds in remaining simple.

The movie follows Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) an average man attempting to cure his life- long writer's block. He soon meets a group of people witnessing their keyboardist attempting to drown himself in the ocean while being hauled off by the paramedics. This group is being led by none other than Frank (Michael Fassbender), the lead singer who performs and lives his day-to-day life wearing a giant mask. Of course, they are now in need of a new keyboardist and this provides Jon with the perfect opportunity of releasing his creative juices with a group of eccentric "weirdos."

That is all you need to know of the plot, even though the movie is not necessarily plot- centred. It isn't even about the quality of the music, but more often than not, you are constantly asking yourself "is this music actually good?" or "can this be considered music?" or "what is this sound?" It is much more of an experience and you eventually find yourself loving it because of the process of its creation. The movie is much more focused on its characters and how Jon learns to accept that he is completely in the ordinary. This is honestly one of my favourite movies, and has gotten better each time that I have watched it.

I cannot recommend this movie more, and it is a shame that it is not more known and appreciated (especially now that the same director has been nominated for an Oscar for his directorial work in the 2015 film, Room). Of course I can accept that it may not be everyone's taste, because it isn't necessarily a "haha" funny or a drama either and it is also an indie film, I do hope that more people come to appreciate - and hopefully come to love the artistry that is Frank.
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2/10
The movie rails off into an unwanted territory
10 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The characters all end up committing heinous acts that throughout the runtime of two films would lead you to think is completely unlike them at all. Not only is the final act a giant figurative middle finger to the audience, but it also decides to give all the characters completely new personalities just to be able to create a shocking ending. What is so infuriating about the ending, is that there was no built-up or anything suggesting that the characters were capable of doing these acts. It is not as if only one character were to do something that is "outside of their character," but it is pretty much everyone in the movie decides to do something completely unlike themselves all at the same time, just to be able to have an unsatisfying climactic conclusion. Other than the final act, the other scenes also seem to delve more into fetishism instead of focusing on the central "problem," which is her sex addiction (or nymphomania). The movie rails off into an unwanted territory and brings all 4+ hours of these two volumes to not only a disappointing ending, but also an ending that is insulting to its audience.
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10/10
Do no underestimate this film for its simplicity
10 August 2015
A surprising amount of humanity for a stick-figure animation. The animation, as well as the score, adds a lot to the overall existential drama and suspense of the movie as a whole. Very emotional and will keep you guessing on how much deeper it will go into the human psyche and mind. Because the animation is so minimal - yet so powerful - it focuses a lot more on the human stream of consciousness as well as developing a compelling and heartfelt story. The narration also adds a personal connection to the character of the story. Do no underestimate this film for its simplicity, as it will delve inside the tiniest human memory and then expand through all of space and time.
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