The Anthem of the Heart (2015)

The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review……………………………………………..

The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review

The Anthem of the Heart is a 2015 anime drama film directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai. It is a disappointing movie.

It follows the girl who is a chatterbox and her parents get divorced because of her. As a punishment, her mouth is sealed and she eventually manages to speak her mind through singing. The premise is solid and it provides some great emotional moments. Yes, the ending is sweet and triumphant and overall the film had some pretty strong drama in it, both family and teen.

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Dont tell people to disappear like it’s nothing!

Words can hurt people!

You can’t ever take them back.

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The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review……………………………………………..

The animation in particular is the highlight as it is so beautiful to watch and polished. Both the scenery of the city as well as the designs of the characters are great and everything looks really professional and pleasant.

The score is also really well incorporated and some songs are quite solid. Having in mind that the score is essential for its narrative, they thankfully managed to make some solid use of it with a couple of great musical moments.

So why is The Anthem of the Heart then so disappointing? Well, mostly because it is overly emotional and too long. The film went into overly maudlin territory from time to time and I don’t know if that’s earned as I just wasn’t that invested in its characters or its plot for it to work fully. The characters are solid, but far from great and the same can be said about the plot.

But an even bigger problem if the film’s annoying emphasis on love triangles and relationship dramas. The film would should have focused on just one thing and that should have been the protagonist and her problem with speaking, that would have been great. But this way, it becomes overlong, convoluted and it lost focus more than a couple of times.

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The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review……………………………………………..

And I’ve had a big problem with the premise itself. Somehow I was under the impression that the movie favored loveless marriage and cheating over divorce and I just could not shake that feeling. I liked that the fantasy element proved to be just in her head and not real in the end, but I still found her suffering to be overly excessive and not that needed as she never did anything truly horrible. That is my major gripe with the movie and why I found it solid, but disappointing. And even more disappointing given the fact that it was done by the creators of ‘Anohana’ which is one of my favorite shows.

The Anthem of the Heart has some resonant scenes, an interesting story and terrific animation, but it is disappointing for its overlong and unfocused narrative, sometimes excessive emotion and a couple of problematic elements in the script and its logic.

My Rating – 3.5

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Rams (2015)

Rams Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Rams Movie Review

Rams is a 2015 Icelandic drama film directed by Grimur Hakonarson and starring Sigurour Sigurjonsson. It is such a good drama that requires patience.

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If our sheep are unhappy, the night is dark and gloomy.

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Rams Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

It follows two estranged brothers who band together to save their flocks of sheep from the authorities who want to destroy the animals. The story itself is pretty interesting and mostly well told. What I liked about it is that it follows not only the relationship between the two brothers, but also with their sheep and what they mean to them. The immense importance of sheep is beautifully conveyed in this movie.

The characterization admittedly could have been better as the problem stems in the lack of dialogue as the film uses it pretty sparsely. But they are still solid, realistic and quite relatable. Gummi is very likable and I really liked Kiddi despite his initially annoying behavior. The two are great together and that final moment of theirs is so heartwarming and a perfect conclusion. I also liked the use of sheep again and how they were basically characters themselves in the film.

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Rams Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Rams features pretty good performances as both Sigurour Sigurjonsson and Theodor Juliusson gave very good performances. The directing from Grimur Hakonarson is terrific and the film’s direction is one of its strongest suits. But the cinematography has to be the standout aspect here as the film is visually arresting. I usually don’t like long takes, but here they really contributed a lot to that feeling of remoteness and harshness of nature. The film is so well shot that it transports you to its setting and you really get to experience Iceland for an hour and a half.

Rams is a difficult movie as it is certainly slow and that choice is done for better and for worse. On the one hand, those long takes of everyday activities and nature lend a lot to the film’s realism and help sell its setting, but on the other hand, some scenes were way too prolonged and the film is definitely too slow at times with the sparse use of dialogue being one of my major gripes  with it as I would have liked to have seen more talking.

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Rams Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The film is definitely a European drama in that slow, long take approach and that I liked as I really like European dramas, but you definitely have to be in the right mood to watch them as they can be too real. But I mostly liked the overly serious tone of this film and I liked its attention to detail as it really helped me understand Icelanders and their culture. The movie isn’t particularly emotional, but that ending alone is so powerful that it compensated for the lack of it previously. The film is also well scored, it looks beautiful and it is not only highly memorable, but also authentic in a sense as rarely do you see movies set in similar locations and center around animals. I loved how the animals are important for pure survival, but how they also mean a lot to them, especially the two protagonists. That was very moving to watch. In the end, as my first Icelandic film, it more than delivered as I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Rams definitely requires patience as it is pretty slow plus the dialogue is sparse, but the film is visually arresting owing to terrific cinematography, the directing and acting are both very good, the story is interesting and pretty authentic in its own right and the film transports you to its location beautifully, it introduces you with their culture really well and the ending is really moving.

My Rating – 4

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The Boy and the Beast (2015)

The Boy and the Beast Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The Boy and the Beast Movie Review

The Boy and the Beast is a 2015 fantasy anime film directed by Mamoru Hosoda. It is a pretty good, if disappointing movie.

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You can’t tell which one’s the master anymore

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The Boy and the Beast Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

It is about a lonely orphan boy who stumbles into the beast world and is taken as a disciple by one of the beasts who is as lonely as he is and the film basically follows the relationship between the two. And that relationship is naturally the highlight and the heart of the movie and is pretty strongly developed. I also liked the drama elements in the second half and the conflict of the main character and his life in both worlds is really well explored.

What I didn’t like here is the movie’s lack of identity. I really didn’t like that third act. Well, I respected the animation and some of the visual choices were original there, but the emphasis on action and spectacle bothered me as the film was mostly a fantasy drama before and suddenly delved into blockbuster territory. Hosoda mixed too many things in here and the mish-mash did feel odd at times.

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The Boy and the Beast Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The character development isn’t the strongest, but is pretty good nonetheless. Ren is a somewhat typical, yet very well realized protagonist and Kumatetsu is easily the highlight as he is such a likable beast. The two are great together and their relationship is heartwarming. But unfortunately all of the others are pretty forgettable and Ichirohiko’s plot arc did feel a bit abrupt and underdeveloped.

The Boy and the Beast has a usually exceptional animation. The character designs are strong, especially those of the beasts whose looks I really liked. But the scenery is so good and some of the camera movements were absolutely magnificent, especially during action sequences. I didn’t particularly care for the action here, but it is undeniable that it was well executed. I especially liked the wide angle shots of the crowds of people. And some of the streets were just gorgeous to watch.

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The Boy and the Beast Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

As for the other technical aspects, the score was good, though sometimes a bit odd in its choices. The direction from Mamoru Hosoda is expectedly strong and the voice acting is excellent. The fantasy elements were the finest as well as the drama ones with the action stuff coming in at the last place, at least for me. But I did really like that whale near the end as it was gorgeous to behold and so authentic. The entire movie is sometimes derivative and too oddly mashed together, but you can’t deny that there were some definite flashes of originality here, especially in the visual department. The pacing is also really good and the film’s running time is never long despite lasting for 2 hours. The story is epic and it demanded that much run time. I also liked its humor and its light tone at times and watching the two goof around was amusing. But the realism present in its dramatic second half is also really respectable and I really liked the clash between these two worlds, especially in the protagonist’s head. The dialogue is also pretty good, but I wanted for a bit more emotion as the story demanded it. All in all, The Boy and the Beast is a bit of a disappointment in the director’s awesome filmography, but as a film on its own, it is pretty good nonetheless.

The Boy and the Beast has awesome and sometimes quite inspired animation, excellent main characters and their relationship, some really good and superbly executed scenes and good themes, but the film is still far from Mamoru Hosoda’s best works owing to its lack of identity in its odd mixture of plot elements which is most evident in its action oriented finale which is well executed but a jarring choice for this movie.

My Rating – 4

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April and the Extraordinary World (2015)

April and the Extraordinary World Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

April and the Extraordinary World Movie Review

April and the Extraordinary World is a 2015 steampunk science fiction animated film from France. It is a visually astounding, but ultimately disappointing in storytelling film.

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I don’t need anyone.

You’re just saying that because you’re afraid to meet someone and then lose them

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April and the Extraordinary World Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Yes, this film is just gorgeous to look at. The animation is absolutely spectacular and one of the year’s finest for sure. This is the further proof of French craftsmanship at hand-drawn animation and they really perfected this particular style. And yes, even though it does look like most French animated films do, it is still authentic because it employs a very interesting style to it, a style that is pleasantly reminiscent of comic strips. I loved that about it. The character designs are good, the scenery is great and the entire film just scream comics, but those of the better variety as this is so well drawn and I would even call it artistic.

But as I said, April and the Extraordinary World never matches that great animation with a great story because the plot here is just so run of the mill. I’ve seen this countless times before and although the beginning with the scientists was interesting and the premise does sound intriguing, the plot eventually becomes too unoriginal and I didn’t like its spectacle third act with too much action and some disappointing plot points (lizards).

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April and the Extraordinary World Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

April is a very disappointing protagonist as she is never particularly likable or well realized. The others are a bit better, but also aren’t memorable. The only memorable character is Darwin and I really liked him. The relationship between the two was great and he was quite a solid cat sidekick.

The movie succeeds as a steampunk sci-fi because its style is great and it is meticulous in detail. But I have to say that that meticulousness was a two-edged sword for me as the plot at times was burdened by too many developments, characters and it just felt too convoluted. The main problem of the movie lies in its action. It is just too action oriented and the third act in particular is just action scene after action scene and that was boring to me. It sacrificed true plot and character progression in favor of action.

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April and the Extraordinary World Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The voice cast did a good job and April and the Extraordinary World is certainly well directed, animated and mostly well edited. The tone is a bit too serious, but it does have its pleasantly light moments too. The dialogue is very good and the film is quite sophisticated. I liked how mature it was too and it is something that adults can watch easily. More so, I would say it is much more suited for adults given its convoluted sci-fi nature. Some parts are emotional, but the film is otherwise too cold for the most part and that I would have changed. The film is original at first, but eventually succumbs into basic territory. The score is solid and the sound effects are great. But I just wish that the film was great in substance and not just in its technical aspects. Overall, it is a solid, but very disappointing movie that is ultimately one of the weaker winners of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Stylistically fantastic, well crafted, meticulous in detail and gorgeously animated with such an authentic look to it, April and the Extraordinary World surely is technically brilliant, but it’s a shame that the plot just doesn’t match and the characters are forgettable. The story starts promising, but eventually becomes unoriginal, way too convoluted and the movie becomes burdened with too much action. It is ultimately a solid, yet certainly a very disappointing movie.

My Rating – 3.5

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Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

Embrace of the Serpent Movie Review….…………………………….

Embrace of the Serpent Movie Review

Embrace of the Serpent is a 2015 Colombian adventure film directed by Ciro Guerra and nominated for an Oscar. It is honestly a very disappointing film.

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Knowledge belongs to all.

You do not understand that. You are just a white man

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Embrace of the Serpent Movie Review

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The film takes place in 1909 and 1940 and both stories feature an Amazonian shaman. It is about a quest for the sacred plant. Yes, that premise alone is incredibly promising and intriguing, not to mention adventurous. But the execution of said premise is so disappointing and the film is not only rarely intriguing, but also rarely involving. Another problem is its lack of an adventurous tone which is why the movie succeeds much better as a drama than as an adventure flick.

Karamakate is a good character, but all of the others aren’t quite memorable. The acting is pretty solid and everyone here did a fine, albeit not that impressive job. The direction from Ciro Guerra is good at times, but mostly problematic and not quite clear.

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Embrace of the Serpent Movie Review

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Embrace of the Serpent is frankly put a boring movie. It is always tedious and too slow and I just wasn’t invested in it. Another big problem here is its documentary approach to storytelling which is too emphasized and annoying. The film definitely reminded me of ‘Aguirre, the Wrath of God‘ in that it is mostly boring, somewhat pretentious, too slow and way too disappointing in its use of setting and characters. Both movies are quite overrated and to me both were indescribably disappointing.

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Embrace of the Serpent Movie Review

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Yes, the setting here is never fully utilized which is a shame. The Amazonian jungle looks wonderful and I thought that the black and white cinematography here wasn’t quite satisfactory. Because the location is colorful and visually pleasing, the color photography would have been a much better choice, at least to me personally. But the cinematography here is still quite good and one of the best things about the movie.

Embrace of the Serpent does look good, but the tone is too dramatic and not at all adventurous. It also isn’t that rich thematically speaking and the movie just doesn’t know what it wants to be as it shifts from documentary to adventure to drama in not that subtle ways. But the dialogue is solid and it has its moments. The highlights in terms of the scenes are the opening sequence which is quite memorable and the ending which is quite powerful and moving. But the middle parts are all either dull or sorely lacking in plot or character development which is frustratingly weak.

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Embrace of the Serpent Movie Review

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It is well edited, but never as emotional as it should have been. Its subject matter is interesting and relevant, but not properly explored. Everything here is very disappointing. It doesn’t mean that the film is bad as Embrace of the Serpent is a perfectly fine, okay film, but nothing here is great except maybe its visuals. It continued to disappoint me throughout its running time as the potential for greatness is wasted here. Also, its evident arthouse sensibilities bothered me as they were obvious and annoying. Overall, this movie frustrated me and I have to say that it is probably the weakest foreign film nominated for an Academy Award in 2015. So disappointing.

Embrace of the Serpent is an immensely disappointing movie. Its cinematography is good and it is an intriguing film not only in its setting and characters, but also visually. However, everything else is not great as the film is too slow and boring, the characterization and plot both should have been better and the film is too artistic for its own sake. It is perfectly fine, but it never uses its great premise particularly well and it is a giant wasted potential.

My Rating – 3

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Anomalisa (2015)

Anomalisa Movie Review

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Anomalisa Movie Review

Anomalisa is a 2015 animated drama film directed by Charlie Kaufman and starring David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It is a very good, but also a very flawed movie.

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Look for what is special about each individual, focus on that

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It is about a lonely older man who perceives everyone as identical until he meets a unique woman in a hotel. It is a very strong movie in terms of storytelling and its sophisticated plot might be its biggest asset. I found it to be very well crafted for the most part and also very engaging. It is such a relevant, very realistic film that is also thematically rich with the theme of uniqueness being explored best. I loved what it had to say about relationships and of course old age and the protagonist’s perception of everyone being the same is very relatable to me.

But, Anomalisa unfortunately falls apart in its second half which is a real shame because the first half is so strong. I found that nightmare sequence to be such a bad choice from the filmmakers. The film is basically a metaphor (in its voice acting mostly) how everyone is just the same and boring and that was dealt with in such a sophisticated manner. But by having that nightmare sequence basically spell everything out to the audience near the end, it ruined the metaphor and it quickly turned from a sophisticated into a simplistic movie. That was endlessly disappointing to me. And of course the sex sequence is again totally unnecessary. I wasn’t offended by it or anything like that, but I did find it unnecessary as that entire sequence was so romantic and emotional and ending it with sex was poor taste in my opinion.

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Anomalisa Movie Review

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The character development in Anomalisa is very strong. There are basically only two important characters here and those two are Michael and Lisa. I really liked Michael as he is such a well developed, very strong protagonist. His insecurities, his bored behavior and his problems with people are all very relatable and he is such a realistic, important character. Lisa is also pretty good and very likable. I did find some of her shyness excessive at times, but her character is also important as she is such a flawed and insecure, yet unique and special to Michael. I loved their bond and I wanted even more from their relationship as they were so great together.

Let’s talk about the acting now. I loved it. David Thewlis did such an amazing job as Michael as you can hear a lot of emotion in his voice, such great voice acting. The same goes for Jennifer Jason Leigh who gave a stupendous performance and just listening those two talk was wonderful. The acting is one of the strongest points of this film.

Now, Anomalisa is an interesting experiment because it basically just has three actors and only Michael and Lisa get a unique actor whereas Tom Noonan basically gives voice to all of the other characters. I have to admit that I found that choice to be very annoying and cheap sounding at first, but once I understood it, I really enjoyed it. It is such a great metaphor and by giving everyone the same exact voice, that Michael’s feeling of everyone being and sounding the same is even more emphasized, but in a good, even horrific manner. Such a clever and authentic approach.

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Anomalisa Movie Review

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Anomalisa’s animation is simply terrific. The character designs could have been better, but that was the point of the movie so it is okay. But I liked its attention to detail and the movie does look wonderful with some beautiful hotel interiors. The stop motion animation is great with very realistic, but never too creepy or lifeless puppets. The film definitely does have a nice, polished look to it.

Charlie Kaufman directed this movie really well and this is easily my favorite movie of his. In fact, this is the only movie from him that I liked. And even though it isn’t as great as it easily could have been, it is still one of the best animated films of the year. It is also such a great adult animated movie with mature themes and tone. I liked its romance and it was so beautifully romantic at times while also being dramatic and pleasantly slow.

It is really well edited and paced, but the running time should have been shorter. It had to have that 90s minutes frame when in reality if it was 15 minutes shorter, it would have been much better and even amazing. That was such a typical problem as most movies are stupidly overlong. This one has a third act that is mostly pointless filler and filled with that annoying thriller tone to it. It definitely ruined this movie.

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Anomalisa Movie Review

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Anomalisa is emotional and I loved the meaning of that title. That whole romantic sequence between the two is amazing and accompanied with a beautiful rendition of one of my favorite 80s songs. The dialogue is also phenomenal and so mature. And I liked its ending, despite it feeling a bit abrupt. It is a very original movie not only in its themes, but also in its bold approach and execution.

Anomalisa is such a strong, but ultimately flawed movie. The animation is polished, the voice acting is absolutely amazing and the film is wonderfully romantic, mature and thematically rich, but that third act is very problematic because it contains a totally unnecessary nightmare sequence as well as the sex scene and it just became too straightforward whereas it was sophisticated in its metaphor earlier. That is why it is far from a great movie, but it is still a very original film with some relatable themes and characters as well as a very unique approach to it.

My Rating – 4

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1st Simbasible Awards

1st Simbasible Awards

 

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Best Film

Carol

Room

Ex Machina

Paper Towns

Inside Out

Grandma

The Secon Mother

Show the Sheep Movie

Dheepan

Racing Extinction

 

 

 

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Best Indie Film

Carol

Ex Machina

Grandma

Room

Tangerine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Blockbuster Film

Ant-Man

Cinderella

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Mad Max: Fury Road

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Director

 

Alex Garland – Ex Machina

Anna Muylaert – The Second Mother

Lenny Abrahamson – Room

Pete Docter – Inside Out

Todd Haynes – Carol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Actor

 

Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Ian McKellen – Mr. Holmes

Jacob Tremblay – Room

Matt Damon – The Martian

Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Actress

 

Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

Brie Larson – Room

Lily Tomlin – Grandma

Regina Casé – The Second Mother

Rooney Mara – Carol

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Supporting Actor

 

Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight

Michael Shannon – 99 Homes

Samuel L. Jackson – The Hateful Eight

Walton Goggins – The Hateful Eight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Supporting Actress

 

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight, Anomalisa

Kalieaswari Srinivasan – Dheepan

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Original Screenplay

 

 

 

 

Best Original Screenplay

Anomalisa

Crimson Peak

Ex Machina

Inside Out

The Second Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

 

 

 

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

 

Carol

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Paper Towns

Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Animated Film

 

 

 

 

 

Best Animated Film

Anomalisa

Inside Out

The Little Prince

The Peanuts Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Foreign Film

 

 

 

 

Best Foreign Film

 

Dheepan

The Second Mother

Son of Saul

Mustang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Documentary Film

 

 

 

 

Best Documentary Film

 

Amy

Monkey Kingdom

Racing Extinction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Short Film

 

 

Best Short Film

 

Bear Story

Everything Will Be Okay

Sanjay’s Super Team

Stutterer

World of Tomorrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Score

 

 

Best Score

 

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Inside Out

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Cinematography

 

 

Best Cinematography

 

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Costume Design

 

 

 

Best Costume Design

 

Carol

Cinderella

The Danish Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Editing

 

 

 

Best Pacing

 

Grandma

The Hateful Eight

Inside Out

Mad Max: Fury Road

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Visual Effects

 

 

Best Visual Effects

 

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Best Character Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Character Development

Anomalisa

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Grandma

Paper Towns

Room

The Second Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Character

 

 

 

 

Best Character

 

Ava – Ex Machina

Elle Reid – Grandma

Jack Newsome – Room

Sherlock Holmes – Mr. Holmes

Val – The Second Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Scene

 

Carol – The reunion at the Oak Room

Ex Machina – Ava experiences the outside world for the first time

Inside Out – The Combining of the emotions

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Greg explores Rachel’s Room

Room – Jack experiences the outside world for the first time

Room – Jack and Joy visit Room for one last time

 

Best Dialogue

 

 

 

 

Best Dialogue

 

Ex Machina

Grandma

Paper Towns

Room

Steve Jobs

 

 

 

 

 

Most Emotional Film

 

 

Most Emotional Film

 

The Danish Girl

Inside Out

Racing Extinction

Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most Nominations:                                                                           Most Awards:

 

Room – 12                                                                                           Room – 6

Carol – 9                                                                                              Ex Machina – 5

 

Ex Machina, Inside Out – 8                                                                Carol – 3

Grandma, The Second Mother – 7                                                   Grandma, Inside Out – 2

 

 

 

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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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Remember (2015)

Remember Movie Review

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Remember Movie Review

Remember is a 2015 drama thriller film directed by Atom Egoyan and starring Christopher Plummer. It is an interesting, but very troublesome flick.

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The man he killed was named Kunibert Sturm.

And Zev’s name was Otto Wallisch.

They were the men who… murdered my family

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Remember Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

It follows an elderly Auschwitz survivor who struggles with dementia, but decides to track down the Nazi who killed his family decades ago. This is such a polarizing movie. I really liked some parts of it, but I also really disliked some other scenes. It also struggles from an identity crisis as it feels like watching two movies.

The first act is very dull, too slow paced and with a clichéd, incredibly predictable narrative. The second act is the finest as it has the most memorable sequence in the film with the part with neo-Nazi being the highlight as it is intense and very well executed. But the third act is full of issues that undermine the whole movie. By having this giant twist at the end, the film somehow shifts gears and changes everything from the plot to the characters. The twist itself is admittedly very interesting, but it still makes all of that journey previously kind of pointless. And is way too dramatic in its execution for my personal taste.

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Remember Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

I really liked the character of Zev Gutman and Christopher Plummer is easily the highlight of Remember as he did such a good job in this role. He is such a good actor and he always delivers with this role being no exception. But Dean Norris is also solid and his character is disgusting, yet memorable. As for Rudy Kurlander, he is a good character, but I still expected more from him after all of that build-up.

The film is solidly directed by Atom Egoyan, but the pacing is bad as it is all over the place. The first act is very slow, the second one is intense and the third one culminates with a twist in such a strong thriller tone. The tone is interesting as this is basically the mix of drama and thriller. However, it fails as a drama as it is never as sophisticated or as deep as the script needed it. It succeeds more as a thriller because there are some genuinely intense scenes in Remember.

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Remember Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

The script is very good and even fascinating which is one of the reasons I was so disappointed with the end product as the treatment it received was nowhere near as original or as emotional as it promised. And it is definitely uneven as at first it feels like a basic Holocaust drama and later on it becomes a full-on thriller with a big twist, no less. It is a weird movie that I admire for its originality, but I take negative points for its uneven and problematic structure and execution. With more thought-provoking themes, with more sophisticated dialogue and with a more emotional approach, it would have been a much better movie. But it ended up being okay, but still far from bad as it is genuinely interesting and sometimes very entertaining.

Remember has an original premise, some very intense moments and a good performance from Christopher Plummer, but the execution of that great premise is very disappointing as it is so uneven in structure and tone with the twist in the end being interesting, but problematic. It is also dull in its first act and never as sophisticated or as deep as the plot needed it.

My Rating – 3

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Krampus (2015)

Krampus Movie Review

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Krampus Movie Review

Krampus is a 2015 horror comedy film directed by Michael Dougherty and starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette. It has its major flaws, but it is overall such a solid, interesting experience.

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Like he had for thousands of years,

Krampus came not to reward, but to punish.

Not to give, but to take

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Krampus Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………….

I loved that this movie has a clear story as many horror flicks do not have that. But here we have an absolutely terrific explanation for Krampus’s arrival and the role of grandma is awesome. I loved her character and I absolutely loved the flashback. I am not a fan of those usually, but here it is beautifully done with great animation and excellent, intriguing storytelling. And it explained the whole movie wonderfully. And the ending I also really liked. Yes, it is too happy, but I still liked its emphasis on Holiday traditions and its message about holidays and faith is so important and moving.

I really liked the characters in Krampus as they were pretty well realized and quite realistic for a horror flick. Tom and Sarah are good, but Howard is the highlight and all of the kids are great. I liked the family themes and the message about family here is wonderful. And I loved grandma, as I said before. She is phenomenal and so mysterious and with a great arc. The acting is also pretty okay, but none of the actors wowed me in any way.

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Krampus Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………….

Krampus looks really good and I absolutely adored its special effects. They are mostly practical which is wonderful and they look fantastic and so realistic. I liked the design of the creatures as they all look creepy and interesting. Krampus himself I did not like as much as the others because I expected a more frightening look that the build-up promised. But the gingerbread men are so good and are the standouts here – crazy, hilarious and still somewhat creepy in a weird way.

I liked that Krampus is a horror comedy and it succeeds in both of those areas as it is pretty atmospheric at times, but also genuinely funny at other times and I laughed out loud quite often. So the tone is naturally great. The directing is solid, but the pacing is unfortunately too fast and that bothered me as the film moved too fast from one plot point to another, thus leaving some of the progression seem rushed and abrupt.

This movie also has some really annoying horror clichés which are mainly the stupidities of the characters. Why would any parents let their kid go into a huge blizzard just by herself?! That was utterly ridiculous and ruined the movie for me. And the fact that the twins also went by themselves in the attic later on was frustrating. I hate those plot holes and ridiculous, unrealistic behaviors and that certainly lowered the movie’s quality for me.

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Krampus Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………….

But the production values are great, the film is visually quite pleasing and the score I also really liked. The sound effects are excellent and the puppets are great. The movie is also quite authentic in its mix of Christmas and horror film and I loved that it wasn’t anti-religious as I expected it would be, but quite opposite – it proposes faith, tradition and family values. That is an awesome message for children and the film has a big heart at certain times and I loved how it ended. The film is obviously influenced by ‘Gremlins‘, but it is still pretty original regardless of that parallel. Overall, it could have been much better, but Krampus is mostly a satisfying holiday horror flick that caught me by surprise at how entertaining and sweet it was.

It does have some very annoying horror clichés in it, the pacing is too fast and the film overall could have been much better, but Krampus is still such a solid,very entertaining movie that is such an authentic mix of Christmas and horror movie with superb practical special effects, quite solid characters, many crazy scenes, a moving ending, a surprisingly interesting and well crafted storyline with a great flashback and a wonderful message about tradition, faith and family values.

My Rating – 4

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