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A good comedy
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the story of four teenagers, Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain), Bethany (Madison Iseman) and Martha (Morgan Turner), who got stuck in a magical video game, which only way out is by finishing the game. It's a good concept, and the director Jake Kasdan delivered it in a funny way.
While in the game, the teenagers transform into the characters they selected, which are played by Dwayne Johnson as Spencer, Kevin Hart as Fridge, Jack Black as Bethany and Karen Gillan as Martha. This transformation was a trigger for all of them to start questioning who they really are and to realize some of the problems and correspondent solutions to their problems. With a lot of adventure and a lot of funny moments, the movie definitely was not boring, and even though it had some corny moments, it was very enjoyable.
As usual, Kevin Hart didn't disappoint with his humor. I just love seeing this actor in action. In my opinion, he deserved a bit more of screen time, but to be fair, the rest of the actors had to have their own time, and it was well distributed, I didn't feel like some got more attention than others, which is a good thing.
Another thing that this movie succeeded to deliver was the feel and experience of a video game with "real life graphics". As a gamer, it was really funny to imagine myself in some of their situations. I don't want to spoil, you should see for yourself.
Overall, the movie delivers what's intended: a Jumanji sequel. It has a lot of adventure, comedy and some good old life-changing moments. A solid 7 out of 10.
Not nearly good enough
Marauders, a movie brought to you by the director Steven C. Miller which revolves around the investigation and chase of a group of criminals that were heisting Hubert National banks. With the course of the investigation, led by Special Agent Montgomery (Christopher Meloni) of the FBI with some minor help from the local police department, they find out that the heists have a connection with the owner of Hubert National, Hubert (Bruce Willis).
I felt empty watching this movie. The story itself was kind of predictable, with a lot of hints to who were the bad guys (which should be kept a mystery until the end in this kind of plot), breaking my curiosity, leaving the movie to be dull. There were a lot of slow motions, off point slow motions, completely unnecessary. I don't like to use this word, but some lines throughout the movie felt cringy. And there was a lot, in my opinion, of pointless drama. To be fair, they did find a way to connect the drama to the main plot, but still, it would be a lot better without it in the movie.
Even though the movie was predictable, there were some minor surprises towards the end of the movie, and still, the ending felt so meh. So many possibilities and yet they decided to end the movie like many others, nothing new to see here.
This movie had a lot of potential. I never saw heists in movies performed like the ones in this flick, and the motivation of the criminals was interesting and different. It could've been explored differently, in a more captivating way, in a more distinct way. Disappointing.
With all its flaws combined, not too long with 107 minutes, it can still be an interesting movie for people who love crime and police movies, but for me, it just didn't do the trick. A solid 5 out of 10.
The Reader (2008)
A forbidden love, the right love
The director Stephen Daldry brings to life The Reader, a romance between a teenage boy, Michael Berg (David Kross), and an older woman, Kate Winslet (Hanna Schmitz). It's filled with hard emotions, love, drama and a touch of sexuality.
The story goes along the years 1965 and 1995, where Michael is played by two actors, David Kross as young Michael and Ralph Fiennes and adult Michael. In these 124 minutes, we get to see the first love of young Michael, the difficulties a teenager goes through when dealing and understanding someone from the opposite sex, especially an older woman. We also get to see the enthusiasm, anxiety and passion that this first love makes him feel, like nothing else in the world mattered, only her.
I went through a roller coaster of emotions throughout the movie. I felt in love, devastated, afraid, pity. A lot of things (good, but mostly bad) happened between Michael and Hanna during the years, but, somehow, a little flame of love and caring remained untouchable, even if they did not show it to one another. In a way, it made me feel like I was watching a fairy tale surrounded by a horrifying reality, waiting to see prince charming saving the damsel in distress.
The music throughout the movie was on point. Right moment, right time, right tune and right tone. Really helped intensify the emotions I was feeling, as well as guide them on the correct path.
A captivating love story, kept me glued to the screen from start to finish, with a lot of details to enjoy and feelings to feel. A great work, a great watch, a great time. 8 out of 10.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Long but interesting, a must watch
Zero Dark Thirty, a movie almost immediately made after what's trying to show us, the death of Osama Bin Laden. Not only shows us how and when it was, but also shows us a lot of the processes required and executed in order to achieve that same goal.
The movie has a lot of famous faces (to mention some: James Gandolfini, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler), and I believe that's because of the plot itself, they wanted to be a part of it. I can understand that. Nevertheless, the director Kathryn Bigelow focuses more on Maya (Jessica Chastain), a CIA agent completely determined and solemnly focused on finding and capturing/killing Bin Laden. She was amazing in that role, I really enjoyed watching her in this movie.
Even though the movie has 2 hours and 37 minutes, there were sometimes I was wondering the year, or month, of some scenes. It covered a long period of time and personally I had some troubles keeping up with the pace. In the meantime, a lot of attention was paid to details, and I loved it. All the actors did a great job showing the kind of emotions they were feeling, the stress, the fear, the apathy, the anxiety.
A lot is shown in this movie (I don't know until what point what is true or not) regarding the processes within the CIA and the US Government, all the secrecy, all the doubts, the separation between what lives matters and which don't. It was interesting realizing that thinking you're the good guy doesn't make you act like one.
Definitely a movie everybody should watch. It's interesting, and it's a part of History that every one of us lived. I give it a 7 out of 10.
The Dark Tower (2017)
So much more could've been done
To be honest, when I started watching The Dark Tower I imagined it something like Sauron, from Lord of the Rings. I was wrong. The main plot of the movie was the defense of the Dark Tower, which is located in the center of the universe, protecting it from the darkness outside.
It's actually a really good idea, unfortunately just wasn't really well executed. We have the main villain Walter (Matthew McConaughey), and we have two "heroes", a kid, Jake (Tom Taylor), with special abilities (when compared to people of his own world) and a guardian, Roland (Idris Elba), of the Dark Tower, who has a vendetta against Walter. It's a really good idea because it gives us a new concept of god and so much could be done around it, but they had to focus on drama, for unknown reasons.
The movie itself has a decent pace, I was able to follow every part of the story, without the sense of rush or of it being unpolished. The director Nikolaj Arcel was able to provide a good character familiarization, and the kid, Tom Tayor, made an amazing job, I really enjoyed watching him on screen.
An awesome concept for a movie, although I expected to see more from the Dark Tower itself. An infrastructure protecting the whole universe, and zero focus were given to it, disappointing. The drama would be good if in less quantity, if you put a title on a movie you should live a bit by it, just saying. Magic, fight scenes and good performance from the actors made me give this 6 out of 10.
Sweet Virginia (2017)
When something looks good, but not really
Sweet Virginia, where dreams come to die. The movie is dictated by Lila (Imogen Poots) hiring Elwood (Christopher Abbott) to murder her husband, which he ended up killing two more people.
I don't really know what was the exact goal of the director, Jamie M. Dagg, with this movie. It's a mix of well placed scenes with some seemingly random scenes. Some scenes helped me understand what motivated the characters, giving a good background and their point of view on the reality they were facing and/or faced. But some scenes throughout the movie, especially scenes involving Sam (Jon Bernthal), just looked like that they were there to fill time until the end, not giving any real purpose or content to the story itself. It made me feel confused, in a somewhat small movie of 93 minutes.
I also got the impression that the real goal of the movie was to show how screwed up people are, with all the lies, deceit and lack of truth in their actions. I was able to feel the tension in almost every part of the movie, which was a good thing.
I enjoyed watching Jon Bernthal play a character outside his normal roles. Here he is someone non-violent, that shows patience and compassion. Was surprising to say the least, but a good surprise.
It was good to see a reality that I personally never experienced. A reality filled with secrets, lies, opportunism and, at some degree, fake. What threw me down to not give a better rating was the way the story was told, I felt kind of empty while watching it, becoming lost in my thoughts "why is this happening?", "what's the point of this?", "did they forget about her?". They could have delivered it a bit better, with more consistency. I really wanted to like this movie, had potential, but, unfortunately, I have to give it 6 out of 10.
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014)
An okay movie, not a boring watch
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, directed by Phil Alden Robinson, has a story that revolves around the emotional journey of Henry Altmann (Robin Williams) after he found out he has 90 minutes to live and the emotional journey of Dr. Sharon Gill (Mila Kunis), after she delivered the bad news. My opinion, this is an average movie.
With 83 minutes (1 hour and 23 minutes) of movie I wasn't allowed to have a deep familiarization with all the characters, although there are some moments where I could feel the pain and/or frustration Henry Altmann and Dr. Sharon Gill felt, since they are the most focused and developed characters.
The title alludes to Henry Altmann being an extremely angry person. I personally didn't feel it that much throughout the movie. He has some outbursts during his journey, and some characters mention his deep anger issues, but it made me a little distant towards his angry persona.
I noticed some inconsistencies during the pace of the movie, when sometimes I felt the actions were rushed (which was a good thing since he had 90 minutes to live), and other times it looked like the place had slow down to the point that it looked like more than his 90 minutes had passed.
There are some funny moments, not enough to be considered a comedy, and, although a little bit of a cliché, you can feel the drama surrounding the past and present of the characters.
I could see that they tried to juggle the rush of the characters and the details of their actions. Could've used a bit more work towards a better combination of both, but overall it's a 6 out of 10.
Gangster Squad (2013)
Almost there, but not quite
Gangster Squad is a team of "vigilante" cops composed by Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin), Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), Officer Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie), Officer Max Kennard (Robert Patrick), Officer Navidad Ramirez (Michael Peña) and Officer Conwell Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi), with one goal only, to take down Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). It's a flick full of action, gunfire, crime and with a pinch of romance.
The director Ruben Fleischer succeeds to make me feel like I was living in the 50's, surrounded by the mob vibe. The corruption, the disregard for human life, the car shootouts, the simple yet complicated life, the charisma that society emanated. It's 1 hour and 53 minutes of a reality that I never experienced and a part of me wish I did. It goes from the mob brutality to the simple 50's life, back to mob violence, back to the 50's point of view. It's a good set of events, making you live in it.
The character development was left a bit on the side, which was not bad, since in this movie I just needed to know who were the bad guys and the good guys to fully understand the plot. And, to that, nothing was left to chance.
The movie has the classic Hollywood play in which goes to a point where everything seems lost, with no solution, only to be solved by an unexpected gift. That move is a little outplayed, from my point a view, but it certainly works to create the mood of impotency.
Even though I loved the 50's/mafia environment provided, and that this is based on a true story, I just can't help but feel that it all looked so simple and easy for the Squad, without any real challenge from the "villain". It's entertaining, for sure, but it killed a crucial part of the mood for me. I have to give it 6 out of 10.
Ingrid Goes West (2017)
A good watch
Ingrid Goes West a.k.a. First World Problems. The director Matt Spicer puts Aubrey Plaza playing Ingrid Thorburn, a person with high boundary issues and with an incapability of establishing and maintaining healthy relations with other people. This movie is about Ingrid trying, in her own faulty way, to start her life over after she discovered Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) on social media. It's well portrayed the impact that social media brought to our day to day life, as well as some good and some bad consequences of this event.
I personally loved Ingrid. I could feel the anxiety and desperation of her actions, like she had no other way of people paying attention and liking her. She truly believed she had to change, adapt and agree in order to matter to the people she believed mattered. Aubrey Plaza does a terrific job demonstrating all those feelings.
Even after all the development of Ingrid's character, I still couldn't find an answer to why she was the way she was. If it was some trauma from her past, if she just didn't know how else to be. But, in the big picture, it didn't truly matter.
More towards the end of the movie, I felt that some of the scenes seemed kind of forced to develop the correct plot towards the intended ending, to which I have mix feelings. I had no expectations for the ending, but I kind of expected something else.
On an even more personal note, I loved all the Batman references.
The combination of social media and stalking behavior is a good one, and they deliver it perfectly. Interesting 98 minutes of movie, deserves a 7 out of 10.