Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away Movie Review

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Spirited Away Movie Review

Spirited Away is a 2001 anime fantasy film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is the best Studio Ghibli film and one of the best films ever made.

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Once you do something, you never forget.

Even if you can’t remember

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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I have seen Spirited Away at least three times by now and upon this fourth viewing I again confirmed its greatness. Rare are films that get better and better upon each subsequent viewing and this is one of those films. It has an amazing replay factor. I have always watched it in a dubbed version as that is how I first saw it so I cannot comment upon the Japanese sub acting, but the dub is actually one of the better anime dubs.

Let’s first talk about the story and the highlight scenes. This film is obviously influenced by ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and it is a much darker, much better crafted version of it. It managed to eclipse that story due to a sheer epicness of it. It feature an amazing use of Japanese mythology and spirits and every creature here looks great and is highly memorable.

The beginning is excellent and very eerie in its atmosphere. Highly mysterious and otherworldly. All of Chihiro’s first sequences in this world are great and a wonderful build-up for the rest of the story. As for the stink spirit scenes, they are slightly extended, but still very memorable and the character is fascinating. So the film sometimes feels like a series of vignettes, but those vignettes are all fascinating and the editing is great so it still ended up being tight and well structured.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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Then the story gets much more intriguing with the introduction of Yubaba’s sister. The second act and mostly the latter half of it features a terrific use of build-up to the action and it rises the tension and stakes superbly.

Of course my favorite act is the third one as it is the culmination of everything we had learned previously about this world. That train is just breathtaking, those travelling scenes are transcendent in quality and the imagery is unforgettable.

Then we have the greatest scene from this film which is of course the goodbye scene between Zeniba and Chihiro and then the marvelous dragon flight which includes a great realization and an excellent, fascinating answer to the mystery of how she and Haku met. The final test was great and of course everything about that ending rings awesome. Beautifully filmed and immensely resonant in terms of emotion. The film reward you for taking this long trip with such a moving, deep final scene.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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Let’s talk about the film’s characters. Chihiro is a one of a kind protagonist and quite possibly the studio’s best creation. She is spoiled, clumsy and childish at first, but upon taking this amazing, fantastical journey, she becomes much more independent, stronger and more responsible and brave. It is an archetypal hero’s journey, but the one done infinitely better than most as it takes its necessary time to develop and thus feels all the more special.

Haku is also excellent despite appearing in not so many scenes. His mystery backstory is intriguing and very well resolved and his dragon form is striking and his job is very well utilized. The relationship between him and Chihiro is never overly emotional and just right.

Yubaba is such a hilarious character. At first menacing and all-powerful, but later deconstructed to a mean old lady. I loved her interactions with each of the characters. Her giant baby is so funny and her story with Zeniba is realistic and a lot of fun. Her sister is the polar opposite of her and a good witch. Loved her and her heartwarming relationship with Chihiro.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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No-Face is fascinating. He is a famous Japanese spirit, but he can be interpreted as being the metaphor for loneliness which many of us deal with and people are struggling much more these days and thus he is very relatable and endearing. I loved his many forms and how his backstory remained a mystery. I also loved that he stayed with Zeniba in the end as both need some company. Certainly the film resolved each of the characters’ stories successfully.

Boiler Man is very sweet and caring and I just loved everything about his working steampunk environment and those employees of his are so incredibly cute and feisty. Chihiro’s parents serve their purpose and to me Lin is wonderful as this on surface calculated, yet ultimately very caring and good friend to Chihiro. Every character here is great and every spirit and creature is memorable even if they are not too present.

Spirited Away features absolutely breathtaking animation. What is there yet to say that hasn’t already been said? This film utilizes on the power and pure imagination and art of hand-drawn animation superbly and rare are animated films with better animation than this one. Only Walt Disney’s earliest films can compare honestly.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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The film is colorful in just the right amount, it is both dark and light in equal amount both in terms of animation and atmosphere and it has absolutely terrific character designs with each spirit being fascinating, different and unique. The humans also look great. The various sets are amazing, each one of its locations is beautifully explored and mesmerizing and the action is so well executed.

It has some of the best world building that I have ever witnessed. I felt as if I really went into this spirit world and I felt as if I also learned something and became more adult just like Chihiro. The movie gives the child in all of us the opportunity to dream again and because it is so dark and serious at times while being funny and lightweight at other times, it manages to be perfect for both children and adults. A perfect mix of everything that the best of animation can offer.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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In terms of the humor, it succeeds. It is rarely used, but quite enjoyable and endearing when it happens. I loved the cutesy factor here, but I also admired the inherent darkness of this world as well as it reach themes which span from growing up to greed (best exhibited in those bathhouses) to environmentalism (refreshingly subdued here for Ghibli) to Japanese folklore. The film truly is very smart and consistently deep and transcendent.

The action is never overwhelming and is excellent and sparingly used. The runtime of two hours is perfect for this film and it never feels long despite for animation long runtime. That is because this world and this story are so rich that they needed more time. And the pacing is excellent.

The tone is diverse and the score is phenomenal! I loved this score and in my opinion the dragon flight scene is the best scene in the movie not in small amount thank to that gorgeous, moving and highly transcendent score which is honestly magical in its quality.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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The attention to detail is magnificent, the dialogue is terrific and the film is unforgettable in its every aspect. Hayao Miyazaki directed Spirited Away marvelously and it clearly is a work of art and magnum opus from this famous director who was clearly making a masterpiece here. It thankfully got its Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and it is critically acclaimed for all the obvious reasons I stated above. It is the best that both Studio Ghibli and anime have to offer and one of the best overall film of all time.

With breathtaking, absolutely wondrous animation, stellar direction, meticulous world-building with an overwhelming attention to detail, terrific character development and extremely powerful score which is honestly one of the best in film history, Spirited Away is an undisputed masterpiece and one of the rare films that can easily be called art. The story is well crafted with great influences, a diverse tone which ranges from cute and endearing to dark and atmospheric, high emotional resonance and a great character journey for the protagonist. The film manages to be magical, sometimes serious, at times funny, but always engaging and simply fascinating. The entire, wonderful new world is created here with an impeccable attention to detail which is a reason why it has such a lasting appeal and endless replay factor. Consequently, it is a pure masterpiece and undoubtedly one of the best film ever produced.

My Rating – 5

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Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men Movie Review

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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.

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

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Children of Men Movie Review

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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.

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Children of Men Movie Review

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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.

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Children of Men Movie Review

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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

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The Illusionist (2006)

The Illusionist Movie Review

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The Illusionist Movie Review

The Illusionist is a 2006 historical fantasy romance mystery film directed by Neil Burger and starring Edward Norton. It is a pleasantly old-fashioned film.

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Everything you have seen here has been an illusion

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The Illusionist Movie Review

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Yes, this film is a very unique mix of genres. It is above all else a mystery, a historical mystery set in 1889 Vienna but it also has very strong romantic and fantastical elements as his “illusions” are never properly explained and are thus to me fantasy. It achieves that awesome mix really well while also being stupendously traditional in its approach. They just don’t make mysteries like this anymore and this is one of the rare examples that sometimes these can happen so naturally I liked every second of it.

It follows a romance between a magician and his childhood sweetheart but eventually she disappears after the fight she had with her set to be husband Prince Leopold. The mystery of what happened to her and who killed her is actually very intriguing and I wanted so badly to see it resolved that I found the ending itself not that rewarding.

It was actually a really solid twist and a fine conclusion, but it came off as awfully rushed which was to be expected owing to the film’s oddly established structure. Basically you get the mystery around an hour and ten minute mark and the movie’s runtime is about an hour and forty five minutes. So the first half is way too prolonged and the second half is awfully rushed when that mystery should have been emphasized and elongated much more.

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The Illusionist Movie Review

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Edward Norton is quite good in The Illusionist, but not great and another actor maybe would have done a better job. Jessica Biel is solid in her role and Rufus Sewell is not that great as Prince Leopold. I also had a big problem with him acting guilty in the scene with an inspector. It was an obvious method to distract the audience from the actual solution. And in my opinion Paul Giamatti was by far the highlight here in such a great, complex role as an inspector and he gave such a strong, evocative performance in terms of emotion and facial expressions.

My favorite scenes are the ending which was rushed but very interesting and all of the magical scenes were naturally a lot of fun and visually arresting. The scenes with Paul Giamatti, all of them, are magnificent and he is the standout actor and character here. But the very best sequence is the mystery itself which was so gorgeously filmed and in such an intriguing, authentic manner as the viewpoint is that of a neighbor and thus we as the audience look through his eyes at this odd incident. Very clever and offbeat.

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The Illusionist Movie Review

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The Illusionist is beautifully shot and gorgeous in both cinematography and costumes as well as the interiors. It looks and sounds good with a pretty good score, but pacing is just all over the place and in my opinion the direction from Neil Burger is very weak and a bigger, better director would have made a difference for sure. But it is still a pleasing, very engaging film that mostly did work.

The Illusionist has problematic pacing, the direction from Neil Burger is quite weak and the structure of the film is very odd as the mystery begins only at the half-mark and thus the first half is prolonged and the second one is awfully rushed. However, this is still such a pleasing, wonderfully old-fashioned mix of genres with the fantastical elements being intriguing and a mystery being very well thought out and fascinating. The movie also looks and sounds good with pretty good performances among which Paul Giamatti stole the show with such a terrific performance in such a great role.

My Rating – 4

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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Movie Review

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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is a 2007 fantasy swashbuckler film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp. It is a solid, but weaker third installment.

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Dying is the day worth living for

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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Movie Review

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Now I found the first and the second movie to be mostly equal and quality and both are very good. But this one is unfortunately not as good and although solid, it is a somewhat disappointing end to this trilogy. Well, it was a trilogy for its time anyway.

There are a lot of things that are wrong with At World’s End so let’s start with the story itself. It is a memorable conclusion to this story and especially the third act is very rewarding emotionally and in terms of the action. However, everything that came before it was very problematic.

The film is filled with way too many subplots and storylines and I agree with the critics that it is way too convoluted for the sake of being convoluted and it is at times even difficult to understand which is not supposed to happen for a fun blockbuster at all. So I loved the third act, but the first and especially the second one were overlong and troublesome.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Movie Review

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Jack is once again very good. The part with the doppelgangers was painfully unfunny, but he is otherwise reliably good and amusing here and again quite funny. Barbossa is also very good and funny how eager he is to return to being a captain. The chairman and other British men were not memorable and I have to say that Davy Jones wasn’t as compelling here as he was before.

But I liked his romance with Tia Dalma, but her Calypso twist is not all that well executed. As for Will and Elizabeth, he died here which was a brave choice and their kiss at the end was well filmed and again she is pleasantly more heroic here. But still I am not a fan of her and she took way too much screen time from Jack.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is well acted. Keira Knightley is still annoying in the role, but less so than before and of course Bill Nighy and Johnny Depp are the highlights with such strong performances.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Movie Review

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The film again has those pitfalls of a regular POC entry such as overlong runtime and too much action and spectacle, but some of that action was a lot of fun to watch and it does serve as a solid conclusion to this trilogy. The special effects are expectedly terrific and the score is very good though I would have liked a bigger use of their iconic score which is surprisingly not as prevalent this time around. All in all, it is a solid film, just not as good as the previous two.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is a solid conclusion to the trilogy with a very strong and rewarding third act, some fun action scenes and again terrific special effects, but the film is not as good as the previous two entries owing to its overlong runtime and way too many characters and storylines leading to a needlessly complicated movie.

My Rating – 3.5

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie Review

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is a 2006 fantasy swashbuckler film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp. It is a very good, strong sequel.

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There will come a time when you have a chance to do the right thing.

I love those moments. I like to wave at them as they pass by

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie Review

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Critics pinpoint the plot as very weak here, but I disagree. Certainly it takes the backseat to the action and spectacle, but it is still a solid story which further broadens this world and mythology. I liked its adventurous side, but to me the fantasy elements were the strongest this time around as the titular chest was a superb plot device and those odd-looking animalistic humans are very interesting both visually and tonally as they bring some darkness to this franchise.

Let’s talk about the characters. Jack Sparrow is even more fun and funny in this installment and Johnny Depp once again excels in this role. Some of his facial expressions were priceless. Will continues to be very boring, but at least the inclusion of Bootstrap Bill as his father led to some moving family drama.

Elizabeth was honestly much better this time around as she is much more proactive here and she is even in on some of the action. Keira Knightley is still unlikable in the role, but the character is getting better. James Norrington is quite solid and I liked that he got away with the chest eventually which was an interesting turn of events.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie Review

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Tia Dalma is your typical voodoo priestess and nothing new honestly but Davy Jones is absolutely terrific and such a great addition to the cast. I did not see Bill Nighy anywhere owing to seamless special effects work and the character is fun but also serves as a rather compelling villain.

Dead Man’s Chest definitely is filled with too much action and it is more robust than its predecessor, but still I prefer this movie as it is thus more fun and funnier. That action is silly, but also very well executed and consistently entertaining and humorous. The part with the cannibals was boring and overlong honestly, but I liked everything after that. It sets up the sequel so well while being a solid middle entry in the trilogy in its own right.

The highlights were all of the scenes with Davy Jones along with the ending and of course the island sequence was the standout as it was the most entertaining with that fighting on the wheel and chase for the chest being the most memorable. Everything in those scenes is overblown (too much action, humor and too many characters), but it works as it is pleasantly humorous in approach, charming and it doesn’t take itself seriously which was refreshing.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie Review

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The film features reliably excellent score and terrific sound effects, deservedly Oscar nominated. The film actually won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects because it was a weaker year for effects, but still it deserved to win as those creatures are blended seamlessly with the real actors and locations. What it lacks in dialogue and story and also emotion, the film more than compensates with effects, action and humor and I have to admit that I prefer it over the original.

Dead Man’s Chest again has overlong runtime, excessive action and too much overblown spectacle, but I honestly prefer this installment over the previous one because it is much more entertaining and much funnier with Jack again being so amusing. The fantasy elements are very good, the film sets up its sequel so well and it has many memorable, fun scenes fueled by seamless special effects and beautiful locations.

My Rating – 4

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Talk to Her (2002)

Talk to Her Movie Review

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Talk to Her Movie Review

Talk to Her is a 2002 Spanish drama film directed by Pedro Almodovar. It is such an authentic, one of a kind experience.

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Nothing is simple.

I’m a ballet mistress, and nothing is simple

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Talk to Her Movie Review

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The film concerns two stories of two men who are in a hospital with their girlfriends who are in a coma. Eventually, these two stories intersect and the two men develop a very interesting friendship with one another. Surely this storyline is very original and unlike anything I’ve seen before. It gets a lot of the mileage from its originality, but it is superbly crafted as well.

This is the kind of flashback structure I like, the one employed in this film. It is very elegant and it benefits from excellent editing that I ended up loving it. Because we did not know much about either of its characters before the tragedies strike, the flashbacks were essential this time around and the level to detail exhibited in them and in the entire film is respectable.

Beningo is a very odd person and the film walks the fine line between portraying him as a sweetheart or as a sick person. I will talk more about the morally ambiguous complexities later, but he definitely is the definition of an ambiguous character and he is done right as he is so well portrayed by Javier Camara and he definitely ended up being the most memorable aspect of the film.

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Talk to Her Movie Review

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I really liked Marco Zuluaga. He is such a likable, charming man and I definitely connected with him the most personally. And Dario Grandinetti gave a phenomenal performance. The relationship that develops between these two has a touch of bromance in it, but it is mostly such a wonderfully offbeat friendship that stems from odd circumstances but still ended up being strong and tragic. Both Lydia and Alicia are less developed, but still having in mind that they are in a coma, they ended up being well realized mostly thanks to those deft flashbacks.

So Talk to Her is a very weird film that is also highly intellectual and emotional. It manages to have the right mix of strong emotion and themes and thus it is both smart and moving, two qualities most important to me. It is thematically and emotionally very rich and complex and its complexities make it such a unique, incredible cinematic achievement.

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Talk to Her Movie Review

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It is a film that showcases the moral dilemmas of this situation. It left the “rape” of Alicia ambiguous even though Beningo probably did it. And this act is portrayed as it could be romantic, but also criminal. His entire character walks that fine line between a sick person and a romantic and the film cleverly portrayed both sides as some scenes were definitely highly moving, but some definitely hinted that his obsession with Alicia might not be very healthy at all.

It portrays how different men and women are and how complex their relationships can be, but it also portrays straight men in a very different light – as emotional, caring and vulnerable. Beningo is a romantic and a very caring, meticulous person whereas Marco is a highly emotional man as evidenced by his many outbursts of crying with which I personally connected as I can be quite emotional too. Almodovar gave us a movie about men for once, straight men, and he succeeded thoroughly.

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Talk to Her Movie Review

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This surely is one of his best films along with ‘All About My Mother’. It isn’t perfect, however, as it has its flaws such as that silent film sequence which was interesting, but just too bizarre to fathom for me personally. I get it, but I did not love it. And I thought it is a drama, not a comedy. But his direction is very strong, the performances are great and the film is very well shot, mostly well edited and superbly scored with such a beautiful score that really moved me.

With excellent performances, highly confident direction from Almodovar and a one of a kind script, Talk to Her truly is a terrific film which is thought-provoking thematically, highly affecting emotionally and all around such an original, complex film. It is not perfect (the silent movie scene was honestly too bizarre for me), but its editing is very good, the flashback structure is deftly employed and the music is simply beautiful and it moved me quite a bit. Emotionally and morally rich and complex, Talk to Her is an incredible cinematic experience.

My Rating – 4.5

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Movie Review

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a 2003 fantasy swashbuckler film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp. It’s a very good start for the series.

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This is the day you will always remember

as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Movie Review

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The story is very simplistic this time around as it follows Jack Sparrow and Will Turner as they rescue Elizabeth Swann from the cursed crew of the titular ship. It is very interesting to witness this first movie as it proved to be so different from the rest of the franchise. I am talking about its story and its approach which is pretty restrained this time around meaning that it is less silly but also less fun. It is better crafted but also not as funny or as entertaining as the future entries would be. I definitely see why the critics prefer this one then.

Let’s talk about the characters and actors. I was amazed to have found out that Johnny Depp was actually nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for this role. They rarely nominate blockbuster performances but he deserved it as here he for the first time created such an iconic character and it’s his most iconic role for sure. Jack Sparrow is a lot of fun, very amusing and frequently even hilarious with his many signature lines (“Savvy?”) as well as facial expressions. And his mannerisms and overall appearance are very well thought out.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Movie Review

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Will Turner was never a particularly interesting character and is actually rather boring. Orlando Bloom doesn’t help the matter either as he gave a fine performance, but is forgettable in the role. As for Elizabeth Swann, she’s a solid female character, but I thoroughly disliked Keira Knightley here. She is a good actress, there is no doubt about it. But her talent is frequently undone by her constant voguing which is highly annoying and she is very unlikable, at times even insufferable, most especially with her pushing her lips out all the time.

Captain Barbossa is such a fun character and the most entertaining persona here after Sparrow. And all of the other characters are perfectly fine, but not all that memorable and for such a long movie, more characters were definitely needed.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Movie Review

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a very long movie. Clocking in at 140 minutes, it definitely felt too long, especially for such a less populated with characters and less story heavy installment. But it was mostly such a fun experience that I didn’t mind it all that much.

Of the scenes, the ending is my favorite. The entire third act is excellent, but when Jack gets on that ship, you can just sense his love for the sea and for piracy and it was a wonderful character movement. The beginning was somewhat slow and some of the middle parts dragged, but I liked the island sequence and of course the fights were excellent with the skeletons and the fantasy mythology being so well utilized.

The humor was good, but not as prevalent as in some previous entries. The dialogue is very good and the film has a phenomenal attention to detail in recreating the 18th century as the way they talk, the costumes and the setting is so well conveyed. And the score is iconic and the visuals are terrific.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Movie Review

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This franchise I would describe as a live-action cartoon meaning that it is a fantasy adventure with a strong use of humor and is also made by Disney. This first installment isn’t as fun as this is only the introduction, but it is more serious and better made than others and thus it succeeds as a pretty good first entry.

The humor is good but not prevalent, the visuals and action are terrific and the entertainment factor is strong in The Curse of the Black Pearl which succeeds as a very strong, though overlong start of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise even if it is low-key in approach and thus less fun but also less silly than the other entries. And this is the movie that gave us that legendary score and introduced us to Jack Sparrow for the first time and Johnny Depp should be commended for creating such an iconic character.

My Rating – 4

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Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Movie Review

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Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Movie Review

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is a 2007 science fiction action film and the sequel to ‘Alien vs. Predator’. It is the weakest entry in both of these respective franchises.

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Look, asshole, unless you can fly the helicopter, shut the fuck up

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Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Movie Review

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Yes, I really disliked this film. The first film was actually a lot of fun – silly but fun. This one however is no fun. It is the opposite of fun. It is the kind of modern blockbuster which I am really tired of. I am speaking about its whole execution from terrible visuals to bad action.

As the critics and fans, everyone really, have pointed out, this film is visually horrendous. Nothing can be seen properly as this grained, overly dark and simply awful look prevented it from being enjoyable in any scene and thus I was bored and frustrated.

Because I could not see the action properly, I cannot comment upon it all that much except that it looked bad. What little I’ve looked mediocre and there is not a single great fight or exhilarating scenario to be seen here whatsoever. Really unfortunate.

I do not know why this movie is called Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem as its plot has no requiem at all. The story here is overly simplistic, silly and entirely uninspired and boring. The same goes for the characters which are so incredibly thin and tedious. At least they tried to have some humans and at least some development, but they did not work for me.

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Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Movie Review

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The concept of Predalien is interesting and some of his scenes were the highlights here but still it was a missed opportunity for great action that we just never got here. The whole movie is a missed opportunity as its predecessor was a lot of campy and silly fun whereas here we do not even get that entertainment, let alone a plot or characterization. It is easily the worst entry in both of these franchises and the only one that I entirely disliked.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is the worst entry in both of its respective franchises and such an inferior sequel to the original which was infinitely more entertaining. This one is too dark to see a thing with a horrible look to it. The characters are so boring, the plot is silly and the action is lacking leading to a big mess and a total bore.

My Rating – 2

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Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Drag Me to Hell Movie Review

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Drag Me to Hell Movie Review

Drag Me to Hell is a 2009 horror film directed by Sam Raimi and starring Alison Lohman. It is a solid, entertaining movie.

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Choke on it, bitch!

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Drag Me to Hell Movie Review

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This is the kind of old-fashioned movie that was obviously influenced by some of Raimi’s earlier genre films such as ‘The Evil Dead’. I am frankly not a fan of that movie and this one is much better to me. So this is basically a horror comedy in that eighties fashion which means that it is very old-fashioned which was refreshing, but also sometimes too eager to be traditional and thus somewhat forced.

Drag Me to Hell has solid humor which isn’t the greatest, but some moments did definitely make me laugh though they certainly were quite rare. Some of the gross-out elements were horrific, but some were funny and some lines of dialogue were quite superb, especially those coming from Christine.

As a horror film, it is again solid, but not great. Let me elaborate. This is not a scary movie by all means and the scariest, most disturbing moment is the stabbing of the kitten. That certainly was horrific, but for an animal lover such as myself, it was awful to witness and they crossed the line there for me. The old woman is sometimes cool, but too humorous and most of the supernatural stuff was fairly typical this time around.

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Drag Me to Hell Movie Review

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But it does have a somewhat original story that is original as for some reason it wasn’t done before when it is so perfect for a horror feature. Christine is a good protagonist, but Alison Lohman’s performance was not terrific. Her boyfriend was too perfect in a typical genre fashion and that psychic was forgettable. As for her Asian colleague, I found him overly vilified and unbelievable.

The film is too campy at times, but mostly a lot of fun as it is honestly hugely entertaining and even charming in its own way. It does the best it could have done with this interesting premise and the message was sound. The twist dark ending was abrupt, but definitely refreshing.

Drag Me to Hell is overly comedic and campy and the stabbing of the kitten crossed the line for me. This is Sam Raimi’s return to his roots as this is an old-fashioned horror comedy that was mostly too traditional, but still quite funny at times with a good story and message and a refreshingly dark ending. It is a flawed, but hugely entertaining horror flick.

My Rating – 3.5

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Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Alien vs. Predator Movie Review

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Alien vs. Predator Movie Review

Alien vs. Predator is a 2004 science fiction action film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. It is a fun, though exceedingly silly endeavor.

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It’s a bomb. Well, I hope it kills every fucking one of ’em!

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Alien vs. Predator Movie Review

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The critics should not be reviewing blockbuster movies like this one. Certainly AVP is not that good and it is ridiculous when you think about it, but it isn’t a bad movie, at least it wasn’t for me. That’s because the movie is extremely entertaining and that was its main purpose which it fulfilled so that is why I give it a slight edge to the fresh territory unlike Rotten Tomatoes.

Now I really enjoyed that first act, really well done. The movie started in such an intriguing, adventurous manner with no action sequence in sight which was unexpected and ultimately it led to a rewarding, positive experience. It was well setup, it looked good and I loved the Antarctic setting which was beautiful to follow and original for the series.

But then it went to typical action territory for better and for worse. The action sequences should have been better executed for sure, but they were still mostly fun and watching these two creatures clash against each other was definitely very entertaining.

That is why I don’t understand the emphasis on humans for more than half of the picture. I came for Aliens and Predators and I got humans which was a stupid choice made all the worse by their bland and poor characters with no personalities in sight.

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Alien vs. Predator Movie Review

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The acting is also not the greatest, I have to say. The actors and actresses look good physically and that is the only positive thing I can say about them. As for Alexa, her befriending one Predator and them taking on Aliens together was definitely a lot of fun to watch, but still way too silly to be taken seriously. The entire movie is awfully silly and although mostly it was positively ridiculous and done for fun, I still had a problem with its logic.

AVP is not well directed and acted at all, the pacing is so-so and the film has a weaker dialogue. But the special effects are very good and the set designs are particularly effective and memorable. The film is quite atmospheric at times.

Alien vs. Predator is of course not a great movie, but it isn’t bad as the critics say either. This is a silly blockbuster that was meant to entertain and it did just that as it was hugely entertaining to me so it ultimately succeeded in what it was trying to do. The action was not greatly executed, the humans are bland and some plot points are surely ridiculous in their lack of logic, but the movie is still fun from start to finish and with a particularly strong, atmospheric first act accompanied by memorable set designs and a great use of its intriguing Antarctic setting.

My Rating – 3

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