Annabelle (2014)

Annabelle Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Annabelle Movie Review

Annabelle is a 2014 horror film which is the spin-off from ‘The Conjuring’. It is the weakest entry in this cinematic universe by far.

………………………………………………….

May God have mercy on your soul!

………………………………………………….

Annabelle Movie Review

………………………………………………….

I really did not like this film. It isn’t horrible, but it is a giant mediocrity on almost every level. In terms of storytelling and characterization, it is tired and uninspired. The doll herself is truly terrifying in look, but unfortunately they never really utilized her as she only got a couple of scenes which was simply ridiculous. It was a giant missed opportunity.

Mia and John are your basic, boring white couple and there is nothing about them that is even remotely interesting. They are just there. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is so ridiculously bad and stupid. Father Perez is much more memorable with ‘Once Upon a Time’s Tony Amendola giving a fine performance. Ward Horton was simply horrible, but at least Annabelle Wallis is quite competent in the main role.

As for Evelyn, I have to say that I was furious how they killed her off in the ending. Her choice to sacrifice herself instead of Mia was just ridiculous to me and beyond stupid. The fact that they killed her and made it seem okay was atrocious enough, but the fact that that led to such a bad message or a lack of any was even more troublesome.

………………………………………………….

Annabelle Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Annabelle is competently acted for the most part and most of the scares are fine, if not great. But the problem with it is that it is surprisingly restrained and tame in its approach with basically only a couple of action/scare sequences and that’s it.

They went with the more restrained, elegant approach but because the film was so typical in plot and execution and because it lacked in atmosphere, it thus ended up being incredibly boring to sit through. It is funny how they managed to screw up this simple and ripe for scares concept and thus Annabelle ended up being such a weak, mediocre spin-off of an infinitely better movie.

Annabelle is a giant mediocrity. It has some fine performances, but the characters are so incredibly boring and the film is uninspired in execution and with a particularly odd choice of being restrained. It is a very dull, tired spin-off which should have had much more action in it. The ending is also infuriating how stupid and just wrong it is.

My Rating – 2.5

Share

The Shindig (1930)

The Shindig ReviewThe Shindig Review

The Shindig is a 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a charming entry.

Once again we get a dancing entry and again it happens in a barn as Mickey and the rest of the gang dance and play instruments there. The film is important for being the first Mickey Mouse short where Clarabelle Cow is fully anthropomorphized as she stands on two legs and acts human. She is quite memorable and the rest of the characters are also charming with Mickey and Minnie stealing the show.

This is one of those musical episodes and once again it is a cliched, highly typical and familiar cartoon set in a familiar setting and with the basic structure of dancing and playing instruments. But it is better than most previous such entries mainly because it is a lot of fun with such a high energy and charm factor to it. It is repetitive, but at least they used great pieces of music.

The Shindig is a typical musical Mickey Mouse entry, but better than most thanks to an energetic approach and charming character interactions.

My Rating – 3.5

Share

Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Children of Men Movie Review

Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction thriller film directed by Alfonso Cuaron and starring Clive Owen. It is one of the best genre films of the 2000s.

………………………………………………….

Your baby is the miracle the whole world has been waiting for

………………………………………………….

Children of Men Movie Review

………………………………………………….

It is set in 2027 Britain. In the future, humans are infertile and for the last eighteen years there has not been a single birth. To me this concept is highly original and ripe for solid thrills which it does have a lot to offer. But there is one problem here and that is the ambiguity of it. I do realize that most may prefer this, but I wanted at least bits of information when it comes to infertility and why it came to be in this bleak future world and the movie did not give me any answers whatsoever which was pretty lazy.

I liked the mix of science fiction concept, drama and intense thriller. This is one of those dystopian films that are very dark, but not overly dark as I loved the theme of hope which was well explored. So the film is bleak, but still hopeful and ending on such a wonderfully ambiguous, but still hopeful note. And I really liked its religious parallels. My favorite scenes are the ending, the death of Caine’s character which was beyond tragic and that famous car chase which was brilliantly and so realistically executed.

………………………………………………….

Children of Men Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Clive Owen is excellent in what is arguably one of his best performances. Julianne Moore is surprisingly underutilized here, but she still made an impression. Both of their characters are great and Kee is also very likable, but it is Michael Caine who surprised me the most here as he played a very different character than usual. He portrays a hippy and a highly endearing one and never has he been more likable in a role, at least for me.

Children of Men is technically terrific. Certainly the film is a cop-out in terms of special effects and I disliked that this future was way too restrained technologically speaking, but it was believable having in mind that infertility happened. The despair and also hope was felt as the film conveyed its atmosphere so well.

………………………………………………….

Children of Men Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The direction from Alfonso Cuaron is terrific and this surely is one of his best works. His deft hand behind all of this project is definitely felt. The score is also very good, especially the use of religious score to accompany its religious imagery. I loved the atmosphere and I really liked the cinematography which is particularly accomplished here along with the editing. It is deft and the film is never at all boring or rushed. It works as a pretty great chase thriller above all else and it is one of a few dystopian films that never overstays its welcome.

Children of Men has a very strong concept despite not giving any answers when it comes to it. It is a phenomenal chase thriller and a dystopian film that earns its bleakness and darkness as the atmosphere is so strong and the sense of despair and also hope is felt in almost every scene. It has a bunch of unforgettable sequences such as that wonderfully ambiguous ending and that highly memorable, perfectly executed car chase sequence. The performances are great, Cuaron’s direction is superb and the film has memorable imagery leading to a highly competent sci-fi thriller.

My Rating – 4.5

Share

The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos (1937)

The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos ReviewThe Woods Are Full of Cuckoos Review

The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos is a 1937 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a pretty dated flick.

That is not to say that it’s a bad film. It is definitely solid and full of that typical Merry Melodies energy and irreverence. I liked some of the gags and the character designs are particularly effective and diverse here. And the overall animation and songs are solid.

But the film is awfully dated and of its time as most of the gags and celebrity parodies could only be understood by the audiences of its time and thus it lost its momentum for sure. Some I recognized, but most were unfamiliar to me and the biggest problem was the use of radio programmers and singers instead of movie actors and I am less familiar with those and thus the movie was too foreign for me.

The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos is solid, but awfully dated and not particularly funny for today’s audiences.

My Rating – 3.4

Share

Three Colors: Blue (1993)

Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

Three Colors: Blue is a 1993 Polish-French drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski and starring Juliette Binoche. It is a solid, but boring film.

………………………………………………….

Now I have only one thing left to do: nothing.

I don’t want any belongings, any memories.

No friends, no love. Those are all traps

………………………………………………….

Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

………………………………………………….

It is about a woman who loses her husband and child in a car accident and tries to live a normal life afterwards. She tries to get rid of all their things and forget but the past still haunts her and her husband’s past ties catch up with her and she has to deal with them.

The plot itself is quite good and the film is thematically very solid. It deals with grief in a very solid and realistic manner and it portrays a broken woman in a very honest way. However, it isn’t as deep as it thinks it is and it doesn’t have anything deeper and new to say about grief and loss and it just sort of presents its story without diving deeper into it.

I found Juliette Binoche’s performance to be superb here and it truly is one of her career best works. She had to play a devastated woman and she did bring it emotionally. She gave a magnetic performance in her movie as this entire story relies basically only on her as we got to see a couple of more minor characters and that’s it.

Three Colors: Blue definitely is a slow movie. But it is not a slow-burn in a positive sense. It is mostly a very boring, tedious experience that is slowly paced for the sake of it and mostly pretentious and not truly artistic.

………………………………………………….

Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

………………………………………………….

I found the direction solid and the cinematography is excellent. Some choices are great such as the use of the color blue (liberty) as well as that interesting editing technique with interesting cuts that – when over – bring you to the exact same scene. The film is definitely very well crafted overall technically and it is powerful in its emotion at times, but it is too depressing, too slow and ultimately an overrated movie that gets too much credit. I do hope that the rest of the trilogy is more interesting.

Three Colors: Blue is a very boring and depressing movie that is solid but far from great. The film is technically accomplished with excellent cinematography, editing and direction and the performance from Juliette Binoche is terrific. It also has its emotional scenes. But it is way too slow and tedious and it doesn’t delve deep enough into its themes.

My Rating – 3.5

Share

Porky’s Double Trouble (1937)

Porky's Double Trouble ReviewPorky’s Double Trouble Review

Porky’s Double Trouble is a 1937 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a very entertaining gangster flick.

Even though I am not usually a fan of gangster films, this one was quite a lot of fun. The villain in this cartoon is particularly effective and menacing with a very good brain. I felt sorry for Porky here and Petunia was especially cruel here, even more so than in ‘Porky’s Romance’. That ending where she chose the killer was hilarious in its unexpected brutality.

The problem with this film is that it is just way too rushed. The pacing is awful and the film just flies by each of its scenes without ever taking a proper breath and thus some scenes are just ridiculously abrupt in execution. But the narration is very funny how typically for 30s brisk it is and the animation is particularly effective in recreating the crime feel to it with a great use of black-and-white.

Porky’s Double Trouble is ridiculously abrupt, but so well animated and with a brilliantly unexpected and brutal twist ending.

My Rating – 3.8

Share

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Dennis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling. I prefer it over the original.

………………………………………………….

Pain reminds you the joy you felt was real

………………………………………………….

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The storyline here is very difficult to comprehend at times which was mostly a good thing. The film features a very complex and detailed narrative and it flows really well. For an almost three-hour long project, it never felt like it and it honestly was never at all boring which I did not expect at all and was thus very pleasantly surprised. It is a slow movie, but a positive slow-burn experience with great build-up and a very intriguing mystery to it.

The problem with Blade Runner 2049 is that it just never has any scene that is astounding and awe-inspiring as that ending from ‘Blade Runner’. That scene was better than any scene in this film. Another thing that the original gets better is the emotional investment. This film is emotional, but never as moving as the original.

And of course thematically speaking, it also fails in comparison as it is much less deep and thematically rich and complex. Plus the first movie’s message about individuality fares much better than this film’s anti-individuality, nihilist approach. Thematically, the two movies are so different which was weird to witness.

………………………………………………….

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

………………………………………………….

But in terms of technical aspects, characterization and story, Blade Runner 2049 is better than the original and thus a better film, but not by far and it is definitely slightly overrated as it’s far from a great film. As for the story, I liked most of it, but the highlight was the twist near the end which literally deconstructed one of the biggest clichés of any genre film and I admired the heck out of it.

I really liked K as he is such a well developed, very likable hero whom you like to root for. Deckard is also quite memorable here and Luv is definitely such a badass female villain who stole the show in her every scene. I really disliked Jared Leto and his character here, totally not needed. Harrison Ford actually gave one of his finest and most emotionally charged performances here and the same can be said for Ryan Gosling who is the star and soul of the entire movie.

………………………………………………….

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Blade Runner 2049 truly is a cinematic achievement in every sense of that word and I am so glad that I saw it on the big screen. The direction from Dennis Villeneuve is absolutely terrific and after this film and terrific ‘Arrival’, he truly emerges as a talent to follow when it comes to serious, hard science fiction.

The acting is strong across the board as is the directing and the script is stellar, but the visuals are simply mesmerizing. The score is very good although not great and the sound design is particularly effective, loud and it builds the atmosphere so well. But the highlight is the cinematography from Roger Deakins which is stunning and couple that with high-tech gadgetry and cars, timeless special effects and such outstanding, artistic sets and high fashion and you’ve got a positive assault on the senses.

………………………………………………….

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

………………………………………………….

It has such awesome atmosphere which is felt from the beginning and it transports you to its world so beautifully. Truly the film felt like a work of art and in that department it trumped the hard science fiction and noir elements to it which again led to a more visually and audio driven than truly clever or deep film.

Blade Runner 2049 is much inferior to the original when it comes to deep emotion and rich themes, but when it comes to storytelling, characterization and especially technical aspects it is much better than the first film. What it lacks in truly memorable scenes and thought-provoking ideas, it more than compensates with superb performances from Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, very strong characters with a kickass female villain and great atmosphere and sound design. It also has such an admirable twist that basically deconstructed one of the biggest genre clichés. It is not a science fiction classic, but it is a work of art as evidenced by amazing cinematography, such competent direction, high fashion, fun technology and absolutely outstanding set design. In the end, I prefer it over the original, but it is still an overly praised film which is consistently good and engaging despite its long runtime, but rarely truly great.

My Rating – 4

Share

The Fire Fighters (1930)

The Fire Fighters ReviewThe Fire Fighters Review

The Fire Fighters is a 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a solid effort.

This film actually has a plot although it’s a simple one. Mickey has to help Minnie and get her out of a burning house. This is one of those situational cartoons where we just follow one dangerous hazard and the hero has to save the day. But even though it of course lacks in originality, it compensates that with a couple of good, clever gags and a competent execution overall.

The second half was much more entertaining than the first one. I liked the animation and the action was really good here. The highlight was seeing Mickey laugh when the flames were tickling his behind and the entire ending where he helped Minnie and when the two embraced was so cute and endearing.

The Fire Fighters is not original, but it is pretty fun with some good moments and some really endearing scenes.

My Rating – 3.8

Share

From the Page to the Screen – 2010: Odyssey Two

2010: Odyssey Two Review

…………………………………………………

From the Page to the Screen – 2010: Odyssey Two

 

2010: Odyssey Two is a 1982 science fiction novel by Arthur Clarke. It is the second entry in the Space Odyssey series and it is such a good, exciting and different story. It once again deals with many different things, this time around with Europa, Jupiter and the collaboration of Americans and Russians in space exploration. All of those are very well utilized leading to such a stellar sequel that also gives us some great answers to previously posed questions.

 

THE FILM ADAPTATION

The film adaptation was released in 1984. It was directed by Peter Hyams and stars Roy Scheider, Helen Mirren and John Lithgow. It is not a great movie and some of the changes in adapting it were certainly not admirable, but it is still a pretty good, competent movie that unfortunately was not a box office success when it came out and is not as well regarded these days owing to it being overshadowed by its iconic predecessor. So let’s compare these two.

 

PLOT

The story in the film is actually quite faithfully adapted but I still had a few problems with it. One is the exclusion of that awesome, unforgettable epilogue. That was unfortunate. And the second problem is the inclusion of a Cold War aspect to the story which was sorely not needed leading to a solid, but flawed adaptation.

WINNER – BOOK

 

CHARACTERIZATION

Unexpected as it may be, the character development is honestly stronger in the film. The characters in the book are flawed and not all that interesting, but here they are mostly much better developed and much more memorable. The actors are to thank a lot for that as they are very talented and it was quite interesting seeing Helen Mirren and John Lithgow so early in their careers and both were excellent here.

WINNER – FILM

…………………………………………………

2010 Movie Review

…………………………………………………

EMOTION

I thought that emotionally speaking, the film fared better than the book because some scenes were awe-inspiring and I definitely felt the excitement and fascination in some scenes more than I did while reading the book.

WINNER – FILM

 

THEMES

The epilogue in the book is very interesting and unfortunately not filmed. Although the film is faithful, it is not particularly sophisticated and naturally the novel is much better in that department. It again shows us the science of space travel, exploration and both Europa and Jupiter were so well described. And of course I loved his take on American-Russian space exploration and how the two nations can work together if they want to.

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

This is by far the weakest part of the movie. Whereas the book was so well written by Clarke with great descriptions, again an admirable use of science and a particularly memorable imagery, the film is this time around unfortunately dated with good score, but poor special effects work and it was an overall much less artistic, poetic and atmospheric take on the book than its predecessor was.

WINNER – BOOK

 

BOOK 3: FILM 2

This was a much closer race than I thought it would be as I preferred the book much more than the film. In the end, the film is a pretty good adaptation which benefits from better characterization and a more emotional investment, but the story, themes and especially the imagery are much better in the novel and thus this time around the book is a much better alternative whereas previously the two were pretty much on par.

Share

Little Red Walking Hood (1937)

Little Red Walking Hood ReviewLittle Red Walking Hood Review

Little Red Walking Hood is a 1937 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is such a fun entry.

Apparently the end of 1937 proved to be a turning point for Warner Bros. as evidenced by such a strong line of very good films and an emerging original and wacky style present. Here we got a parody of Little Red Riding Hood which succeeds more than it fails at making us laugh and amused. Everything here is very comedic and although I wanted more danger from its villain, the wolf is still a lot of fun and he really is very funny character who should prove influential for future villains in the series.

Riding Hood is an impersonation of Katharine Hepburn and although that is amusing, it has been seen a lot before so it isn’t particularly original. The grandmother is fantastic as one of the funniest moments came when she made a call and thus the wolf had to wait for the call to end so they can continue the chase. That was hilarious in its ridiculousness. I also really liked the audience gag though it is not as original as the one in ‘The Case of the Stuttering Pig’. I loved its ending where it is revealed that Egghead who was appearing throughout the cartoon is actually a hero and his purpose is kicking the wolf and kissing the girl which he did.

Little Red Walking Hood is a hilarious parody with a couple of awesome gags and mostly amazing characterization.

My Rating – 4.2

Share