Loveless (2017)

Loveless Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Loveless Movie Review

Loveless is a 2017 Russian drama film directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. It is a very good, interesting, but also somewhat problematic film.

………………………………………………….

I have never even loved you

………………………………………………….

Loveless Movie Review

………………………………………………….

It follows two separated parents who hate each other, but have to put their animosity aside when they set on a journey to find their missing son. The story here is excellent and the execution is mostly really good, but it is just such a terrible, depressing and awfully cold viewing experience for better and for worse.

I honestly found its characters overly terrible. Yes, there are some good people in this film, but most of them are horrible people and that was somewhat unrealistic. The kid is memorable for the short screen time that he got. I really liked both of their partners and they are the only good people in this film.

But the two main characters are awful people. He is cold and uninterested in his own son and this entire terrible situation whereas she is horrible toward him and almost everyone else and is such a major bitch that it was difficult to watch her in this film without wishing to punch her in the face.

Loveless is, well, loveless. That is the point of this film. Nobody here loves anybody and they are all cold, selfish and hollow people. The police themselves are not well organized and the entire country seems to be a horrible place to live in.

………………………………………………….

Loveless Movie Review

………………………………………………….

That is one of my gripes with this film. I do think that the film is great for the entire cold world, but I am not entirely sure that it was meant for the world or to just portray Russia. If the latter one is the case, I find it unfair and I totally understand why Russians would object to this film.

But as a critique of the entire world and the time we live in, it succeeds in spades. I found its entire second half overly slow and although the first half is also slow, it was very involving to watch still owing to excellent build up, characterization and many fine conversations. But the second half featured too many wordless, somewhat slow sequences and it lost its steam during that period.

But the ending stuck with me nonetheless. Loveless basically showcases how a kid can go missing and nobody can find him as in the end he remains missing and everyone just resumes their lives as if he had never existed. It was a terrible, non-human ending that rings true for this cold, selfish and utterly hopeless world we are living in now and that is why the ending haunted me which was the intention of the director and he succeeded in that quite a bit.

………………………………………………….

Loveless Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Loveless is gorgeously shot. I loved its very cold, but memorable imagery that accompanied the desperate, hopeless mood of the film remarkably well. The performances from Maryana Spivak and Aleksey Rozin are both excellent, but the direction from Andrey Zvyagintsev is terrific and although his previous film is better, this one also ended up being very good and quite memorable for sure.

Loveless is an awfully depressing, cold and hopeless film for better and for worse. Some of the scenes in the second half aren’t as riveting and the film might be too cold with too unlikable characters who are such horrible people who make this viewing experience rather difficult. However, that is also the point here and that ending in particular showcases hauntingly well how cold this world is. The cinematography is terrific as is its chilly mood, the performances are excellent and the direction from Andrey Zvyagintsev is superb. It is a very good film, but not as great as his previous film.

My Rating – 4

Share

The Barnyard Olympics (1932)

The Barnyard Olympics ReviewThe Barnyard Olympics Review

The Barnyard Olympics is a 1932 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a phenomenal entry.

The film was released to coincide with the 1932 Summer Olympics and thus it features Mickey and all of the barnyard animals competing in various Olympic sports. The premise is naturally awesome and the execution is superb as well. The film isn’t particularly funny, but it succeeds in terms of the action to compensate for that. The animation is also remarkable for its time.

And we have here a lot of excellent action sequences with the entire cycling part being the standout one for me. It was a lot of fun, exhilarating and beautifully executed from beginning to end. But the entire cartoon is so entertaining in its variety of games, characters and competition. I loved Mickey here and this is his cartoon which was great to see, but Pete is also excellent as the villain and their race was so well done with the ending being quite amusing.

The Barnyard Olympics executes its top-notch premise remarkably well with a lot of terrific action sequences leading to one of Mickey’s best movies so far.

My Rating – 4.3

Share

The Wind Rises (2013)

The Wind Rises Movie Review

…………………………………………………

The Wind Rises Movie Review

The Wind Rises is a 2013 historical romance anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is one of Studio Ghibli’s worst films.

………………………………………………….

Airplanes are beautiful, cursed dreams,

waiting for the sky to swallow them up

………………………………………………….

The Wind Rises Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Yes, this one is pretty weak for the studio’s standards. When I first watched it, I thought it was solid, but now upon second viewing, I find it only okay and nothing more than that. The film is about a plane designer during the thirties and WWII and the fact that this movie is a failure overall is honestly pretty baffling to me on two fronts.

Firstly, you would think that for a director who is literally obsessed with aircraft and flight that he would at least make one great movie during his career in regard to that subject matter. But as evidenced by this film and also ‘Porco Rosso’, he never managed to make use of his greatest hobby and turn it into an all-time classic which is a shame and a puzzle to me. But maybe that is exactly why this film failed because it has too many of those airplane details that are nowhere near as interesting to us than they are to Miyazaki himself. The mechanics of flight bored me here.

………………………………………………….

The Wind Rises Movie Review

………………………………………………….

And secondly and more importantly, I cannot understand how he did not utilize on this particularly effective premise. You’ve got a guy whose dream is to make aircraft and he ends up making them for war purposes and the movie could have given us his personal dilemma and the struggle between art and profit/bad usage and the question of whether or not he did the right thing. But the film never gave us any of that and what we got are instead are endless boring conversations, overly detailed plane descriptions and too many dream sequences.

The character development is pretty weak. Jiro is pretty bland for a protagonist and not particularly interesting or likable. But Nahoko I definitely liked quite a bit. She is charming and very likable. The relationship between the two is actually the strongest point of this film and whenever it centered on romance, the movie was charming and pretty good. But as a historical or war drama, it failed on multiple levels. The other characters are all forgettable, but the voice acting is certainly very good.

The Wind Rises is gorgeously animated, there is absolutely no denying that fact. This is actually one of the best animated Ghibli films in quite a while as its animation is frequently breathtaking, very detailed, consistently polished and beautiful to watch plus above all else it is colorful and very pleasing to the eye. The clothes, the sky, the planes, the flights and especially the various imagery on that hill and some interiors are all lovely to behold.

………………………………………………….

The Wind Rises Movie Review

………………………………………………….

This film is extremely boring. I have to be honest and say that. Not only does it last for two hours, but it is also extremely slow paced and uneventful with not too interesting conversations and a very standard historical storyline that doesn’t delve deeply enough into its themes. That is why the film bored me tremendously and it is actually one of the dullest animated films that I have ever watched.

The Wind Rises has simply breathtaking animation with frequently gorgeous imagery and the romance is quite appealing. However, everything else is either standard or mediocre historical period piece. The film features a very intriguing premise, but it never delves deeper into its themes as the characters are bland and the conversations are mostly uninteresting. It is one of the worst Studio Ghibli films and frankly one of the most overrated and dullest animated films that I have ever seen.

My Rating – 3

Share

Believe It or Else (1939)

Believe It or Else ReviewBelieve It or Else Review

Believe It or Else is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a flawed, interesting short.

Egghead stars in this cartoon where he is a non-believer and in the spirit of the titular column they try to make him believe. However, the film doesn’t really make use of its admittedly awesome premise all that much. Certainly Egghead is pretty good and this is actually his last cartoon. I will not miss him too much, but he was a fun character in his own right. I loved the ending gag here.

But the rest of the cartoon lags and drags. I definitely liked some parts and the animation too, but the runtime of over eight minutes is just too much and the overall action and humor are subpar for sure. This is a pretty great example of how a very mediocre execution can ruin a perfectly good premise.

Believe It or Else has a great story, but weak conclusion ending up being a weak last entry for Egghead.

My Rating – 3.4

Share

Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 (2002)

Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 Review

…………………………………………………

Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 Review

The sixth season of Pokémon is titled Advanced and it is actually one of the weakest seasons so far which surprised me.

………………………………………………….

It’s Team Rocket!

………………………………………………….

Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 Review

………………………………………………….

I was honestly very disappointed with Advanced. This season was supposed to be the new start of a fresh new era for the show with a new region, Pokémon and new characters but it ended up being a bore for the most part and ultimately pretty weak.

The problem with it is that it contains even more filler episodes than before with some episodes being entirely pointless and boring with no plot progression whatsoever and even the adventure element lacked in those episodes. Team Rocket also surprised me as they were also not all too amusing this time around.

Pikachu is okay as is Ash but they need better stories. Brock is back, but I honestly want Misty to return to the show and I am pretty sad that she went away as she was probably the most interesting character in the previous seasons.

As for those new characters, well they are a mixed bag but for the most part pretty mediocre. May is honestly very disappointing in comparison to Misty as she has no knowledge of the Pokémon whatsoever and is overall too weak and uninterested in all this. As for Max as her brother, he is that bratty, annoying and overly talkative kid whom you just want to slap.

………………………………………………….

Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 Review

………………………………………………….

Torchic is the cutest of the new Pokemon quite probably, but I also really like Treecko and I found his story probably the best of all the creature stories so far. I want more Mudkip in the show and they should be more present. Seviper was an obvious new addition to Jessie’s roster to replace Arbok. Overall, I liked the new Pokémon from the Hoenn region quite a bit and I like that the old ones are mostly absent here. I just want better stories for all of them.

This season ended up being a bore with some very good episodes, but too many filler episodes and the new characters are actually more annoying instead of likable. This show desperately needs more fights in it and I hope the next seasons bring them.

 

Worst Episodes: Three’s a Crowd, A Corphish Out of Water, Just One of the Geysers and Abandon Ship!

Best Episodes: A Tail with a Twist, All in Day’s Wurmple and A Three Team Scheme.

My Rating – 3.2

Share

Doctor Who Season 19 (1982)

Doctor Who Season 19 Review

…………………………………………………

Doctor Who Season 19 Review

The nineteenth season of Doctor Who is a slight improvement over the previous couple of seasons. It is still far from great, but at least it has its great moments.

………………………………………………….

Why do I always let my curiosity get the better of me?

………………………………………………….

Doctor Who Season 19 Review

………………………………………………….

Castrovalva started off pretty well but then the second half became not particularly interesting or good. Here we are first introduced to the Fifth Doctor played by Peter Davison. I find his voice too similar to Tom Baker’s but he is a different and for now at least more interesting and likable doctor, at least in my opinion. I have good hopes for him.

Four to Doomsday has a typical but still very interesting premise, especially back in its day. However, the execution is so weak and the villain is ineffective that it ultimately ends up being a lost potential.

Kinda is an interesting tale of a possible Earth colonization. I really liked its very intriguing setting and its atmosphere is very strong, but its typically monster-oriented storyline bored me honestly. I do realize their appeal to others, but to me the monster stories are the weakest from this show.

The Visitation is set in 1666 London during the Great Plague and is one of those alternate history episodes and those are my cup of tea and thus I ended up liking it quite a bit. It isn’t great, but it features a very interesting story and a great setting/time period well explored.

………………………………………………….

Doctor Who Season 19 Review

………………………………………………….

Black Orchid is actually one of the strongest Doctor Who serials in quite a while thanks in no small part to its very different than usual story which basically serves as an Agatha Christie-like mystery set in the year 1925. I really liked the mystery, the slow pace and the villain – all really well done.

Earthshock is another Cybermen storyline and thus I lost my interest pretty quickly as those are the famous Doctor Who villains alongside the Daleks whom I have never cared for at all. Time-Flight is an overly convoluted and complicated time travel nonsense that serves as a weak conclusion to this season which is overall a pretty solid starter for Peter Davison with some very solid and even competent serials, but overall it remains uninspired for the most part with dull monster or alien stories.

 

Worst Serials: Earthschock and Time-Flight.

Best Serials: Black Orchid and The Visitation.

 

Worst Episodes: Earthshock Part One, Earthshock Part Two, Earthshock Part Three and Earthshock Part Four.

Best Episodes: Black Orchid Part One, Black Orchid Part Two, The Visitation Part One and The Visitation Part Two.

My Rating – 3.3

Share

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a 2017 biopic directed by Angela Robinson and starring Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote. It surprised me with its quality.

………………………………………………….

She is beautiful, guileless, kind, and pure of heart.

You are brilliant, ferocious, hilarious, and a grade A bitch.

Together, you are the perfect woman

………………………………………………….

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Yes, this film is so good. It is one of the films from 2017 that surprised me the most for sure. It is about the creator of Wonder Woman and the inventor of the lie detector. The film does showcase the invention of the lie detector really well and those scenes were fascinating. Some of the Wonder Woman creation scenes were rushed, but mostly it was very interesting witnessing the creation of an icon.

But where the film’s biggest strength lies is in its main story which is actually not about what Marston created but actually about how he lived. So basically he had ménage à trois with two women. He was married to his wife when another woman came to their lives and they both fell in love with her and she did as well. They eventually started a relationship and a marriage of sorts.

Now the reason why this film is so strong is because it converted me from a non-believer into a believer when it comes to this type of relationship. It shows us how if all three persons love the other two, the relationship could work and it actually did work for these three.

It is unconventional, but still they are very charming and wonderful together and their dynamic was infectious and a lot of fun. Having in mind that this happened all the way back in 1930s makes the three of them trailblazers in a way. The film is provocative even today and I can only imagine how provocative they must have been back then.

………………………………………………….

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Luke Evans is very good here and he gave a pretty good performance and is very charismatic and sensual in this role. A very memorable presence and Marston himself was truly an iconic feminist and way ahead of his time.

But the women are actually better here as this surely is a picture about women and the celebration of women. Bella Heathcote is so good as shy, endearing and lovely Olive and Rebecca Hall is superb as funny, energetic and somewhat bitchy Elizabeth. I loved the lesbian scenes here and I bought that all three love each other owing to excellent performances from all three of these actors. They all deserve bigger careers after this picture without a doubt.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women has its flaws. It is overly rushed in its third act as some of the comic-book sequences were rushed for sure. The kids were also underutilized and too unimportant. The entire second half is somewhat abrupt as the film should have definitely had a longer runtime.

………………………………………………….

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

………………………………………………….

But it is still one of the better films of this particular year and it took me by surprise how good it is. The screenplay is one of its biggest strengths – very subtle, smart and sophisticated while always being fascinating. The dialogue truly is amazing and probably even a bigger highlight here. I also loved how the film looked and its use of the color yellow in particular is terrific. Who would have guessed that the film about Wonder Woman would end up being better than the actual ‘Wonder Woman’ film.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is somewhat rushed in its third act, but such a stupendous biopic nonetheless. It was interesting to witness the creation of Wonder Woman and the invention of the lie detector, but inarguably its biggest selling point is its sophisticated and brave handling of ménage à trois. The film is very sexy, dynamic and continually intriguing while being propelled by very strong performances from Luke Evans, Bella Heathcote and especially Rebecca Hall.

My Rating – 4.5

Share

Naughty but Mice (1939)

Naughty but Mice ReviewNaughty but Mice Review

Naughty but Mice is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a very weak short.

It is about a mouse with a cold who speaks to a razor who is very much alive and then the little guy gets attacked by a cat. Say what? Exactly. None of this makes any sense and the film basically consists of two different movies which, when put together, do not they just do not work.

I liked the animation quite a bit. It very much looks like a cute Silly Symphony, but at least it is polished and endearing. The mouse is also quite sweet. But the film has no humor whatsoever and it is so weirdly paced and oddly put together that it feels entirely out of place and unappealing. The second half came out of nowhere and the first one is overly depressive and somewhat crazy when you think about it.

Naughty but Mice is well animated, but oddly put together with both of its segments being very odd and not making much sense.

My Rating – 3.2

Share

Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a 2017 biographical film starring Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie. It is such an underrated, very interesting biopic.

………………………………………………….

That bear destroyed my life

………………………………………………….

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

………………………………………………….

This film was particularly interesting and fascinating to me because I love Winnie the Pooh and yet I never really knew the story of how he was created and the whole story behind its creator and his family. This film told that story in a typically straightforward and standard manner which is probably why people do not care for it all too much, but still it is engaging from start to finish and it has a lot of interesting things to say.

It is interesting how a very dark, almost tragic story lurks behind one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. And that darkness and maturity as well as thematic richness I did not expect at all and that’s why I ended up really enjoying this film.

It is a particularly relevant film today as it showcases how fame can destroy lives and families and how particularly famous children or children of famous people can be hurt. Christopher Robin lost his childhood and his father in a way and that father-son relationship is the strongest part of the film – very complex and moving.

………………………………………………….

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

………………………………………………….

I loved its take on media and how ultimately a lot of good things can come out of a famous book as evidenced by WWII soldiers singing the tune from the book. It perfectly showed us how people desperately needed something magic and childlike between the two wars to make them forget those evils. And the protagonist has PTSD problems and that was also well explored.

Domhnall Gleeson did a really good job as Milne and I really liked his performance and especially the character. Margot Robbie as Daphne is also very good and memorable. I loved Kelly MacDonald’s performance and she is actually the acting highlight of the film as she gave the best performance in a very moving role. The film painfully depicts unfair treatments of nannies and how they can actually end up being more important in a child’s life than the actual parents.

Will Tilston is surprisingly good in the main role. He gave such a terrific performance for an unknown child actor and he was so well cast as he looks exactly like Christopher Robin. Alex Lawther also was solid as older Robin. The character surely is interesting and a very realistic kid.

………………………………………………….

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Goodbye Christopher Robin is absolutely beautiful to look at owing to stunning photography at display, but I could see why some would find it too shiny and polished. The film definitely has that typical biopic aesthetic. The pacing is good, but the direction from Simon Curtis is quite weak and amateurish. I can see why some would find this film’s polarizing tone troublesome, but to me it made for an interesting half-dark, half-childlike cinematic experience.

Goodbye Christopher Robin is one of the year’s most underrated films that depicts the darkness behind one of the most beloved children’s books so well and it makes for a really fascinating watch. It is very well shot, acted and cast. It showcases the negative aspects of fame and how it can destroy lives and families and is thus thematically very relevant today.

My Rating – 4

Share

The Mad Dog (1932)

The Mad Dog ReviewThe Mad Dog Review

The Mad Dog is a 1932 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a very competent entry.

We find Mickey bathing Pluto and the dog eats the bar of soap and runs outside where people think he is crazy and has rabies. Pete arrives acting as a dogcatcher in this film and he corners Pluto. Mickey pleads for his life and eventually the two manage to run away. It is a very strong film because it is much more serious and emotional than all of the previous Mickey Mouse entries.

It isn’t a great cartoon and is somewhat uninteresting in some scenes and not particularly comedic, but there is no denying the power of that heartbreaking and heartwarming scene where Mickey pleads for Pluto’s life. He truly loves him and this is most certainly one of the finest man (a mouse really)-dog relationships in the history of animation. Pete is also very memorable as the villain here.

The Mad Dog is one of the best Mickey Mouse shorts so far with an excellent, moving and strong story.

My Rating – 4

Share