Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Movie Review

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Movie Review

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is a 2010 Thai drama film directed by Arichatpong Weerasethakul. It is an overrated and frankly dull movie.

The film explores the subject of reincarnation and although I am fascinated by that subject, I found its execution here to be very flawed and disappointing. The film is a typical arthouse film in that it focuses on the cinematography, scenery and slow pace instead of its story and characters. It was just way too leisurely paced for me to be involved in it. I get what the director was going for as a slower pace is in line with the film’s mood and plot, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the movie is immensely boring to watch.

The characters are frustratingly underdeveloped. The titular character gets the most development and he is the standout character here plus his wife is solid and the relationship between the two leads to some moving moments, but the rest of the characters are honestly non-entities as they are either forgettable or underused.

The acting is solid, but nothing particularly remarkable. And the direction from Arichatpong Weerasethakul is so annoying and is the biggest reason why I didn’t particularly like this movie. But yes, its scenery is stunning. I loved the cinematography here and the natural landscapes are wonderfully utilized into the plot and so effective. I loved the lake sequence as it was visually arresting, though basically a detour in terms of storytelling. I also loved some of the longer takes on the nature and even though those takes led to a slow and tedious film, I still really liked some of them.

The dialogue is solid in Uncle Boonmee, but never as inspiring or as strong as it should have been for this type of film. The movie is too ambiguous and too mysterious. Yes, that tone was at times effective and led to an interesting viewing experience, but it was in the end a lazy excuse to not delve deeper into its thought-provoking themes and ideas. The film need a stronger dialogue and a more sophisticated approach without a doubt.

As for its emotional engagement, it does have some really heartwarming and touching sequences, but the filmmakers decided to stay on the cold side for the most time resulting in too cold a movie for my taste. As I said, it is badly paced and problematically directed. And as for its fantasy elements, I found them interesting to say the least. Some of those elements were too weird with Boonsong in particular being odd and unappealing, but I get why the movie has those things as the storyline demands it. I just wish that the film utilized them more and explored some of those creatures and phenomena much more. So you can easily see the pattern here – Uncle Boonmee is a film that is intriguing and deals with a fascinating subject matter, but it never delves deeper into those themes and just decides to stick with the scenery as its sole focus and that was so frustrating to follow. It received the Palm d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and it is one of the most famous, if not the most famous, Thai films ever. And unfortunately I found it to be overrated and so incredibly disappointing.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is an intriguing film that deals with a fascinating subject matter, but it unfortunately never delves deeper into its interesting themes and just decides to stick with the scenery as its sole focus. And yes, that scenery is nice to look at, but the film abandons plot and character development in the process and it has an overly leisurely pace which are all the reasons why it is a very disappointing movie.

My Rating – 3

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The Two Mouseketeers (1952)

The Two Mouseketeers The Two Mouseketeers Review

The Two Mouseketeers is a 1952 animated short that is the 65th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is an interesting, albeit problematic experiment.

This short is quite unique and different than usual, but not all for good reasons. I liked the setting quite a bit and I loved Nibbles’ voice and his cute French accent. That was so sweet. But Tom and Jerry themselves aren’t as memorable this time around and Nibbles easily steals their spot. I liked the animation and the score was excellent with the opening song being great.

The action is solid, if at times typical. The highlight for me was Tom using the sword to cook the food, that was inventive and interesting. But the other moments are all forgettable and the ending is so disturbing. Tom is basically killed off here and although it is off-screen, that still doesn’t change the fact that he was genuinely killed and I felt that they went too far with it. It was unusual and too violent. The Two Mouseketeers won an Oscar for best animated short and I honestly never understood how the Academy chose to honor basically only the weaker Tom and Jerry shorts. That is so frustrating to me.

The Two Mouseketeers has its great moments and is an interesting experiment, but it is still overrated with a boring action and too violent ending.

My Rating – 3.9

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The Cow (1969)

The Cow Movie Review

The Cow Movie Review

The Cow is a 1969 Iranian drama film directed by Dariush Mehrjui and starring Ezzatolah Entezami. It is one of the major classics of its country and for many good reasons.

The film is about a man’s relationship with a cow. After the cow gets killed, the other villagers break him the news and his mental state quickly deteriorates. I really enjoyed this film and found its plot to be simplistic, but wonderfully so. The film is so well crafted and it tells its story in a great way, by focusing on emotion and character interactions. The film is so heartbreaking, but also incredibly realistic in its portrayal of villagers.

The characters are all very well realized with Hassan being the standout naturally. You really feel for him and I particularly liked his relationship with other men in the village. The men are so well portrayed here and they are all so good-natured and genuinely wanted to help him. You can easily see the care in their talk and in their eyes and that was just so wonderful to witness and it brought a smile to my face.

The acting is excellent, all of the actors did a splendid job, but it is Ezzatolah Entezami who is superb in the main role as he gave a terrific performance. Dariush Mehrjui also did a magnificent job as a director as the film is so well directed and crafted. The Cow is also for the most time really well edited and paced and I liked some of its imagery quite a bit. The cinematography is solid, but some of its more intense in nature sequences are just so well executed and wonderfully atmospheric. I really liked the film’s look.

The Cow isn’t a perfect film as it has its problems which are mainly the first and third act. Now, they are definitely good, but they are still never as terrific as the second act is. The beginning should have been more memorable and better realized and the ending kind of disappointed me and I can’t help but wish that the movie hadn’t gone into boanthropy territory. I know that it is important to the story, but just the pure mental breakdown itself would have sufficed. Nevertheless, those scenes were still tragic and so moving and the film is mostly excellent. It’s just that it could have been even better in my opinion had they fixed some of those things that I mentioned.

The score is quite good, but the film’s emotion is evident and it is always natural and it never went into overly maudlin territory which I appreciated a lot. The Cow is basically a neorealist film as it has a very realistic storytelling and characterization, but also contains a heartfelt, touching feel to it. And I loved that about it. The dialogue is also really good and the movie even has a bit of the humor at times which is nice. The film is also so memorable and it always has that crucial feel to it in that you feel that you are watching something important. And it is important and it is a classic of Iranian cinema and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment as it is also one of the finest 1969 films that I’ve seen so far.

The Cow is a terrific film that benefits from a great neorealist approach with a very realistic plot and characters, but also having such a strong emotional grip with many moving scenes in it. The film isn’t perfect, but it is mostly great with excellent directing and acting, realistic characters and such a heartbreaking story to it. It is in the end rightfully considered to be an Iranian classic.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Duck Doctor (1952)

The Duck Doctor ReviewThe Duck Doctor Review

The Duck Doctor is a 1952 animated short that is the 64th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is a very entertaining, but repetitive entry.

Tom shoots a wild duckling and it is up to Jerry to nurse and protect him from the cat. I absolutely loved the duckling and though he did seem too much like Donald Duck in his speech manner, I still found that incredibly fun to listen to. Also, he is so endearing and wonderfully animated. And I loved Jerry here quite a bit and his frustration in his care for the duckling was so entertaining.

Tom is the weakest link here unfortunately and most of that is due to action sequences. I just found this short to be too repetitive to the point of being annoying. How many times are they going to have a scene in which Tom is flattened by some kind of an object? That was frustrating and unoriginal. But the action did produce one original moment and that is the grave scene which is hilarious and so inventive. But overall, the short could have been better.

The Duck Doctor is repetitive, but endearing, funny and featuring an absolutely great use of Jerry and the duckling.

My Rating – 4

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Hospitaliky (1937)

Hospitaliky ReviewHospitaliky Review

 Hospitaliky is a 1937 animated short from Popeye the Sailor series. It is a fantastic entry that is one of the best in the series thus far.

This entry is so unique and different than usual. Popeye and Bluto want to get into a hospital where Olive works so each of them try to get hurt. And it ends with Popeye winning by giving Bluto the spinach so he can beat him up. That was the first such scene in the series and it is unforgettable because of that. But the whole short is so funny and at times even hilarious with its inventive scenes.

Bluto’s part wasn’t as hilarious as Popeye’s, but he is still so good and Popeye in particular made me laugh many times. The car sequence is one of the highlights along with the train one. The whole short could have been even funnier, but it is mostly hilarious and so well edited and executed with almost every scene being phenomenal. It is definitely one of the best Popeye cartoons to this moment in time.

Hospitaliky is one of the best Popeye cartoons owing to some hilarious scenes, some inventive ones as well and such an interesting and so well realized plot.

 My Rating – 4.4

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Primer (2004)

Primer Movie Review

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Primer Movie Review

Primer is a 2004 science fiction drama film directed by Shane Carruth and starring himself and David Sullivan. It is such a smart, but overall a disappointing film.

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I think my body’s getting used to these 36-hour days

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It follows two men who accidentally learn how to time travel. Now, Primer is famous for being one of the smartest science fiction films. And that is most certainly true. However, there lies a problem. In being so incredibly clever and scientific, the film manages to be almost incomprehensible and somewhat unwatchable for the general, non-scientific audience. So, I certainly admired it, but, like almost everybody else, I had a hard time comprehending what was going on. Its plot has its strong points, but most of it is too difficult to understand.

However, what I liked here is most definitely its realism. The film is incredibly realistic not only in its plot, but also in its characters. Aaron and Abe look like real people and are quite realistically portrayed as scientists. I also really liked that they used time travel for obtaining money, basically for an amoral purpose. That I liked a lot as I think most people would do that. The film is realistic, but I felt that the acting could have been better. It is solid and bearable, but it is, like anything else in this movie, quite unprofessional.

Yes, the problem I’ve had with Primer is its cheap look. Now, I definitely understand that it had an incredibly low budget and I respect them for making such an ambitious movie and a sci-fi one, no less, on such a small budget. But this is still one of the rare examples where its indie sensibilities bothered me as it looked way too cheap and unprofessional in some areas. The cinematography is subpar and it is the worst aspect in the entire film. The acting is also nothing to write home about and the film is visually so mediocre.

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Primer is ambitious in its storytelling, but it isn’t in its execution. Also, I found its restraint to go into thriller territory quite bothersome. Usually I dislike thriller and like more of a dramatic approach. However, here it would have benefited from more thrilling aspects to it and the fact that the film stayed basically on just dramatic territory frustrated me.

I liked its concept quite a bit. It was difficult to understand, but it is most certainly admirable and very, very original as I have never seen anything quite like it in terms of time travel stories. I liked the time travel quite a bit here, but I wanted more of a momentum not only in terms of character development, but also in terms of emotion and drama as well. It is well directed and well paced, but it could have been longer and it should have been much better realized and explained. The ending also kind of disappointed me and the fact that the film refused to go into more of a sci-fi territory and at least some effects-driven scenes was quite frustrating to me. But I still found its plot to be unique and interesting enough to recommend to fans of hard sci-fi. It is an okay film, but still not my cup of tea.

Primer is an okay film with an impressive concept to it which is quite original and unique and it is also incredibly realistic as well, but its characters are not as well realized, the acting is subpar as is the cinematography and the movie is too smart for its own sake leading to an almost incomprehensible experience. This is the kind of movie that I definitely respect, but I’m frankly not a big fan of.

My Rating – 3

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)

Goodbye, Mr. Chips Movie Review

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips Movie Review

Goodbye, Mr. Chips is a 1939 British drama film directed by Sam Wood and starring Robert Donat and Greer Garson. It is such a flawed, yet endearing and heartfelt picture.

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I thought I heard you saying it was a pity…

pity I never had any children. But you’re wrong. I have.

Thousands of them. Thousands of them… and all boys

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It is about an aged school teacher who recalls his career and his life over the decades. Now, this is evidently one of those films that were in style many decades ago, but are now basically obsolete – it uses a flashback narrative and it follows a man’s life through decades. And while I usually dislike that approach and I’ve had some problems with it here as well, I still liked this movie quite a bit owing to its heart and its engaging plot. The flashbacks are great here and the ending is one of the highlights as it is just so emotional and it can even make you cry how powerful it is.

As for its romance, I’ve had some problems with that. First of all, I absolutely adored these two actors and their two characters and I found their relationship to be absolutely wonderful and those scenes were so charming to watch. However, that romantic aspect to the film still felt like a detour as the entire film is about his teaching career and it suddenly focused on his romance and that felt weird and abrupt. And I wished that there was more of it as I really loved those scenes.

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The characters are typical, but charming and so likable. I liked the protagonist and I really liked Katherine as well. But having in mind the movie is about the life of a teacher, I felt the need to meet or at least have some of those boys well realized and unfortunately all of them are forgettable. But the acting is very good with Robert Donat giving quite a good performance and Greer Garson being as excellent as usual.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips is such a heartfelt flick. Its heart is its biggest strength as it is so heartwarming and just beautiful to behold. I loved the ending, but the scenes on the mountain are some of the other highlights as those were genuinely romantic and sweet. The film is also well directed and solidly paced. I liked its score, but it is not as strong in terms of cinematography and other technical aspects. As for its humor, it is expectedly mild, but it’s still one of the standout aspects here as it is so good and the film made me smile more than in a couple of occasions. But the film isn’t as engaging because it was a bit boring at times.

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Goodbye, Mr. Chips was nominated for seven Academy Awards and having in mind that it came in probably the best film year ever, that number is exaggerated a bit. The Best Actress nod for Greer Garson is ridiculous not because she is bad, but because she is clearly a supporting character and should have been nominated in that category. And of course the film won for Best Actor and I have to say that that choice is just so frustrating as both Clark Gable and especially James Stewart deserved it in that year way more. Robert Donat is quite good here, but hardly an Oscar material. And the whole movie feels like that – it is quite good and pleasant, but never as great or as inspired as it should have been.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips is such a heartwarming and at times wonderfully romantic movie with endearing characters, good performances and a heartfelt ending. Its romance feels like a detour and the film never rises above the level of good, but it is a sweet and pleasant experience with a nice humor in it, many memorable scenes and a big heart.

My Rating – 4

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It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown (1977)

It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown ReviewIt’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown Review

It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown is a 1977 animated television special and the 16th entry in the Peanuts series. It is one of the weaker, more depressing Peanuts specials.

This special is needlessly depressive. It just might be the most impressive the series has ever been and that’s really saying something. But that was a big problem here. It was just too much in my opinion. Because the humor was nowhere to be found, there was nothing to ease the mood here whatsoever and we end with such a downer of an episode.

And yes, that ending is uncharacteristic in being a happy one, but even that felt abrupt and somewhat odd. Also, Lucy was too mean here as well as everybody else. None of the characters is particularly likable or memorable in this one. I felt sorry for Charlie Brown, but even that ending did not make things right in my opinion. It is a basic Peanuts special in its plot, but is meaner and more depressing than usual. It most certainly isn’t bad, but it is still so weak and so moody that it is definitely not one of the highlights.

It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown is way too depressive for my taste, most of the characters are too mean and it is overall such a disappointing, weak special.

My Rating – 2.8

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Top Ten DreamWorks Animated Films

Top Ten Dreamworks Animated Films .Top Ten DreamWorks Animated Films

Top Ten DreamWorks Animated Films

DreamWorks Animation. I have a love-hate relationship with this studio. They do focus on making franchises and are guilty of introducing mature, but forgettable comedies filled with annoying pop-culture references. However, when they succeed, they make something truly extraordinary. Some of these films are from their earlier days, but some are more recent. They vary from comedies to fantasy flicks. So without further ado, these are my picks for ten finest DreamWorks animated movies.

 

Antz10. Antz

Barely making it on this list is Antz. And although I was a much bigger fan of it earlier and its animation is ridiculously dated, I still find Antz to be a very interesting and mostly successful experiment that benefits from a great presence of Woody Allen, some very important themes and a wonderful use of sophisticated dialogue and a terrific opening monologue. It also has some fine action in it and the movie, although flawed, is very smart nonetheless and it is such a good first entry in the DreamWorks Animation canon.

 

Megamind

 

9. Megamind

 

This is one of the two underrated films on this list. Megamind is so clichéd, but what makes it memorable is its humor which is just terrific. This is the finest comedy from the studio and the film is filled with so many memorable and amusing lines that can lead to a lot of laughs. But it is also such a relevant and clever parody of superhero movies and it benefits from its highly amusing, unforgettable main character who is one of the studio’s finest characters. This is without a doubt the funniest and most purely entertaining film on this list.

 

 

Kubg Fu Panda

 

8. Kung Fu Panda

 

This is a really interesting, albeit flawed experiment. It does have such a disappointing comedic tone to it and a very annoying protagonist, but Kung Fu Panda is easily better than any Shrek movie because it is such a unique movie. Its animation is so artistic and refreshingly different that it just might be the studio’s finest animated work. It also has incredible action that is stupendously well executed and hugely entertaining. It could have been much better, but it’s still such an authentic and engaging film.

 

 

Puss in Boots

 

7. Puss in Boots

 

The seventh place goes to Puss in Boots, a superb spin-off of an inferior franchise. And that in itself is an admirable accomplishment. The film is funny, but it is so beautifully adventurous and effervescent in tone that it really took me by surprise. It is a great, immensely enjoyable and cozy adventure flick and it is a stupendous use of its title character. It isn’t the most memorable film here, but it is immensely appealing and satisfying.

 

 

 

. The Prince of Egypt

 

6. The Prince of Egypt

 

At the middle of the list comes this historical picture that takes some negative points for being a story being adapted countless times before, but it takes some positive points for having such an outstanding, authentic animation that perfectly fits to its time period and a brilliant soundtrack with some amazing songs and a spectacular score. It manages so much with its brief running time and it is inarguably the finest film about this subject matter after the classic ‘The Ten Commandments‘.

 

 

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

 

5. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

 

Spirit is the other underrated DreamWorks flick here after Megamind. It does have its detractors with the soundtrack being the biggest offender, but it is such a heartwarming, wonderful movie that is basically an animated western in its execution which is very original and intriguing. It also has a spectacular finale that is absolutely beautiful and simply unforgettable. It is DreamWorks‘ finest hand-drawn feature and it is unfortunately so undeservedly underappreciated.

 

 

Chicken Run

 

4. Chicken Run

 

This Aardman-DreamWorks collaboration brings us some of the best that stop-motion has to offer. Its characters are very intriguing, its animation is quite pleasant and its humor is the highlight, being so clever and inventive. It is a simplistic, yet sophisticated picture filled with so much great detail and many hilarious lines. It also holds the distinction for being the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time and for good reasons.

 

 

 

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

 

3. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

 

Wallace and Gromit are such a lovable duo. They are great in their short film adventures, but they finally got their feature treatment in 2005 and the result is outstanding. Not only is this such a charming and endearing film, but it is also very funny at times and always heartwarming and fun. It is also a great mix of genres and such a sophisticated, yet simplistic picture that is definitely one of the better crafted films in the studio’s canon.

 

 

 

How To Train Your Dragon 2

 

2. How To Train Your Dragon 2

 

The second entry in this franchise takes the second place on my list. It is one of the best sequels that I have ever seen as it does everything a sequel should do – go even larger in scale and ambition and improve and change its characters without sacrificing their original selves. It isn’t better than the original, but it comes close as it is such a terrific movie filled with great action, powerful animation and such a dark tone with some devastating results. It is one of the most mature American animated films in recent years, but it is also a great adventure and fantasy flick.

 

 

How To Train Your Dragon

 

1. How To Train Your Dragon

This is it. This is the finest DreamWorks animated film to this date. It is also one of the best animated films period. It has such endearing, yet realistic characters, great score and thrilling visuals. But it is above all such an emotional, engaging fantasy drama with a moving boy-dragon storyline. It is a sophisticated and mature, yet simplistic and childlike movie and that mix is phenomenally achieved here. It is an almost perfect film from top to bottom and it is the finest dragon film ever without a doubt. It is such an immensely satisfying, immaculate film that proved to the world that DreamWorks Animation can be more than pop-culture comedies and franchises and that when they try really hard, they can trump even Disney and Pixar.

 

Honorable Mentions

 

The Croods – The Croods is such an underrated, endearing adventure flick that benefits from some excellent character development and a great use of its unique and interesting setting.

Rise of the Guardians – This movie is uneven, but it is still so moving in the end and technically such a polished film filled with terrific animation and a powerful score.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman – It can be too fast paced, but Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a worthy film due to its charming title duo, a great adventurous tone to it and some fine animation.

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Joy (2015)

Joy Movie Review

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Joy Movie Review

It is about a divorced mother who becomes a success after inventing a mopping product. Now, the plot itself could have been put to greater use and the film would have been better had the direction been good. But David O. Russell failed at making this interesting and he is the one to blame the most for the failure of this movie. The film is so boring with a first half that is so dull and so uneventful that I was immensely bored with it. The second half has its moments, but the entire end result is a mediocre affair with only a couple of redeeming qualities about it.

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Don’t ever think that the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t.

The world doesn’t owe you a thing

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Joy Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………………………

One of those qualities is the acting. Yes, Jennifer Lawrence gave a very good performance here. I wouldn’t call it Oscar-worthy, but she is definitely good and is one of the highlights of the otherwise weak movie. And all of the other actors did a pretty good job as well. It’s just a shame that all of those characters are so unlikable and forgettable to the point of being a major problem for this film, one problem that the filmmakers never tried to overcome. Even Joy herself is very annoying and not a likable person at all.

Joy is awfully paced with such a prolonged running time. The second half should have been extended and not the first one and that choice was ridiculous. Yes, some of the scenes in the second half are quite solid. The moments when the Miracle Mop became a success was solid and the ending was pretty good, but every other sequence in this entire movie was either dull or pretty forgettable.

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Joy Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………………………

Joy is well shot and definitely well acted, but its plot is so-so and its direction is pretty subpar. And Lawrence’s Oscar nomination was undeserved. Yes, she was good, but not great and that choice was problematic. Overall, this film is such a major disappointment and mostly a waste of time and talent for everyone involved with it and it is the first major misstep for David O. Russell who didn’t even know what he wanted to do with this movie.

Joy is such a mediocre movie. The directing is subpar, the story is forgettable, the characters are either unlikable or forgettable and the film is awfully prolonged and just boring at times. It does have some solid scenes and the acting is definitely good, but everything else is not good and the film is certainly a big misfire for David O. Russell.

My Rating – 2.5

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