Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

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Pan’s Labyrinth Movie Review

Pan’s Labyrinth is a 2006 fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro. It is one of the best films of all time and one of my personal favorites.

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But captain, to obey – just like that –

for obedience’s sake… without questioning…

That’s something only people like you do

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Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

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The story is brilliantly crafted and the shift from war/historical drama to dark fantasy is always conveyed smoothly and in a slick fashion. That’s why the film is great as both a war drama and a fantasy and it really wouldn’t be as phenomenal had it relied on just one of those genres. It is the ultimate Spanish Civil War movie as it captures the brutality of its soldiers and all of the shootouts so well while giving us an unforgettable villain in the process, but more on him later.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark fantasy, a very dark one indeed which means that it isn’t really suited for kids and only adults should watch it. It is the finest adult fairy tale ever conceived and one of the all-time best in the fantasy department. What I loved about it is its attention to detail in the modern recreation of a fairy tale.

The tasks obviously come from all those classic fairy tales, but the brutality and the grotesqueness of its creatures is particularly great as it also is faithful to the mature tone of all those fairy tales and is in line with del Toro’s vision. The look of the creatures and the use of insects here are his trademarks. So the film is phenomenal for the fact that it feels like an adaptation of an ancient fairy tale, but is in fact an entirely original work which just goes to show how talented and creative this man really is as he also wrote the script for the movie.

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Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

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Ofelia is such a great protagonist. She is your archetypal fairy tale hero, but always competent and brave. Her sacrifice in the end was touching and her plight in the entire film is hard to watch. I loved Mercedes. She is a kick-ass female character and the only one who genuinely managed to stop and hurt Vidal and thus she is the bravest person here. All of her scenes were filled with intensity and simply brilliant.

The Faun is very well imagined and I loved his uniquely grotesque and different design. The Pale Man is even more memorable as this child-eating monster with eyes on his hands. His design is absolutely fantastic and so authentic. I also loved those fairies and the scene where the two were eaten was devastating. And of course that giant toad was a short, yet memorable presence.

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Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

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And now we come to Captain Vidal. What is there yet to say besides that he is one of the greats. He is a calculated and brutal villain, but never quite becoming a cartoon villain as he was realistic to me and I could see that he could have been a real figure. There were people like him, dictators, and thus the movie is all the more hard-hitting. His presence is felt in every scene, he is creepy and powerful and he never made a mistake which I also loved. He is one of my favorite villains ever and one of the biggest reasons why this film is such a classic.

The acting is of course magnificent. Ivana Baquero did such a terrific job in the main role and for a child, she was absolutely superb and she sold her every scene. Maribel Verdu is also competent and she did a great job in such an admirable female role. The voices of the creatures and monsters were all terrific as was the narration. And of course Sergi Lopez was amazing in the villain’s role and he brought him to life in such a grand style with excellent facial and voice work.

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Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

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Pan’s Labyrinth is visually dazzling. It is a dark film, but here that approach was warranted given the tone and still it could be well seen. The cinematography is absolutely terrific with some of the camera movements bringing a lot of intensity to the scenes. Of course the shaving scene is so well filmed with that clock approach, but I liked every one of its brutal scenes as they were so well filmed and they knew when to show us the whole thing and when not to show us.

The film is brutal and sometimes too painful to watch, but only in a couple of its scenes and even though I dislike violence, here it was crucial for the plot and especially its villain and thus I didn’t mind it. Some of the imagery here concerning the fantasy elements was fantastic and I loved that bright ending. I also loved the use of the forest and the house, both looked great.

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Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

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Of course the effects are excellent. As I said above, the creatures look very original in their grim and somewhat creepy designs and all are brought to life so well and they meshed superbly with the screen actress. The film’s editing is just brilliant and so tight that every scene here lasted for just the right time and nothing at all was either rushed or prolonged. That is why the movie is consistently involving from beginning to end.

Pan’s Labyrinth features an unforgettable score which I never forgot from the moment I heard it. The whole film has great sound effects and great score, but Pan’s Labyrinth Lullaby is just such a gorgeous theme which really stuck with me long after seeing the film for the first time. It gives power to all of the scenes that use it, especially the emotionally rewarding ending and its melancholic and beautiful tone just gets me every time.

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Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

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My favorite scenes are the ending, the labyrinth chase, the demise of the villain, the Pale Monster and Mercedes hurting Vidal. The film’s tone is dark and mature, but there is light in its ending which was necessary to break all that brutality and darkness. The direction from Guillermo del Toro is just brilliant and this is his magnum opus and better than any other movie he’s made by a mile. The film is memorable and original with such a great dialogue and story and it’s also so emotional and simply powerful in every way. It is my favorite movie from the 2000s and an undisputed classic.

With superb visuals and authentic creature designs, such a great score with an unforgettable melancholic theme, excellent performances across the board and many instantly memorable sequences, Pan’s Labyrinth is Guillermo del Toro’s magnum opus which features a fantastic and very dark original story and one of the best film villains ever in Captain Vidal. Whether as a drama or as a fantasy, the film is consistently engaging and superbly crafted in every way. It is simply an immaculate achievement and one of the greatest films of all time.

My Rating – 5

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Alien (1979)

Alien Movie Review

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Alien Movie Review

Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver. It is one of the best blockbusters of all time.

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It’s a robot! Ash is a goddamn robot!

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Alien Movie Review

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This is the movie that started it all, not just this franchise, but also the entire sub-genre of horror with aliens and set in space. To me the movie is great because it is such a phenomenal mix of science fiction and slasher horror. The slasher subgenre is usually not great, but here it was executed in the best way possible and there is not a single big flaw I could find in this movie so that is why it gets the perfect rating from me.

The pacing is where this movie shines among other things. It basically has a sci-fi first half and an all-out horror second half and it works wonderfully. I loved how slow paced it was at first as it led to such a perfect build up to exciting, scary action later on. The mystery of the derelict had remained a mystery until it was answered in ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Alien: Covenant’ and I have to say that I loved this movie for being more mysterious and ambiguous in quality. I also loved the more simplistic and elegant approach that led to its timeless appeal.

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Alien Movie Review

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Ripley is one of the best ever female action heroes, there is no denying that. She might even be the very best. She is tough, but believably so as she has her panicky and more human moments here as well. I love her character and she is one of the main reasons why the original series was so great. Sigourney Weaver is naturally awesome in her most famous role and she plays Ripley so well on all levels.

Dallas is the most forgettable member of the crew, but Lambert is pretty solid. I liked how she was more emotional than Ripley and the portrayal of these two very different women was very realistic and a great choice. Brett is just there to die as is Kane, but they aren’t fully disposable and their deaths are felt.

Parker is a memorable character and not just a token black man. He was more realistic than most of these crew members and I liked that. Of course Mother as this computer on the ship is quite memorable, but Ash is one of the best characters here as this android who was ordered to bring the alien specimen back to Earth. The twist reveal was great and unexpected when you watch it for the first time and he is such a phenomenal secondary villain here, so well played by Ian Holm. So Alien definitely has better than average character development for a horror flick.

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Alien Movie Review

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The alien himself is pretty outstanding. Now I could see in one scene that it was a human in a suit playing it, a dancer more specifically, but other times it was much more convincing and for this time those effects were brilliant and almost seamless. It was definitely the best choice for that time and it paid off significantly. It looks great and sounds great and that is why the movie aged like fine wine.

I loved that it was just one Xenomorph here and again that is why this movie is so brilliant and timeless in its simplicity. It posed real threat and only Ripley stopped him and the way she did that was so well executed and perfectly believable. Despite that typical “let’s split” behavior which is so annoying, this horror film is otherwise pretty clever and the characters almost never made mistakes.

The scares are definitely there and are definitely felt. The first half is mysterious and atmospheric in quality and the second one if quite creepy at times with just the right mix of jump scares, atmospheric thrills and monster action. The highlights are the scene where the creature jumps from Kane’s chest and the whole twist ending was definitely unforgettable. I also loved the scenes on the planet with the mysterious alien as well as Xenomorph eggs. And of course Ash’s reveal is pretty awesome too.

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Alien Movie Review

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Alien is beautifully made. The direction from Ridley Scott is outstanding and this is his magnum opus without any doubt. It is magnificently edited and visually arresting with great effects and I loved how the ship looked as well as the alien and the android. It looks awesome for a 1979 film. And of course it sounds great thanks to such a good score and brilliant sound effects that only further heighten the tension. It truly is an undisputed genre classic.

Alien is a timeless masterpiece, the best sci-fi horror film and one of the finest blockbusters of all time. Ash the android is such a great character as is Ripley of course who is so well played by Sigourney Weaver in her most famous role. The film is mysterious and atmospheric in its first half and so intense and creepy in the second half. The direction, acting, story and thrills, brilliant editing and amazing special effects all add to such an unforgettable experience.

My Rating – 5

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War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes is a 2017 science fiction war film directed by Matt Reeves and starring Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson. It is a wonderful end to this spectacular trilogy.

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All of human history has lead to this moment.

The irony is we created you.

And nature has been punishing us ever since.

This is our last stand. And if we lose…

it will be a Planet of Apes

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War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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I expected great things from this movie and I did get great things. And I am so glad to say that all of these three entries got a five star rating from me even though this one wasn’t as firm of a five as the previous two. I do think that ‘Rise’ and ‘Dawn’ are better and ‘Dawn’ still remains my favorite entry, but still the fact that this is another great movie is the most important and admirable one as the last entries are hardest to do and here they blew it out of the park.

I loved this movie so much because it wasn’t as action-oriented as I feared it would be. For a movie that is called War for the Planet of the Apes, it is surprisingly restrained in war/action scenes. They are still here and they are amazingly well executed ad exhilarating, but you also get a lot of emotional ad sophisticated drama and a damn good story in this package.

I loved the beginning, but the second and third act were the best and most memorable. Certainly the cage scenes weren’t all that original as they are basically influenced by ‘The Great Escape’, but still the execution is so great and almost flawless that it doesn’t really matter. I loved the regressive virus that led to some humans going primitive and losing their speech. The Nova nod to the original film just made me smile. I adored that moment.

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War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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That is why this film is so amazing. It perfectly ends this trilogy but it also beautifully sets up the original 1968 film without sacrificing this trilogy. The detailed approach to this movie is meticulous and the careful and thoughtful approach that went into this production is what counts the most and what made it the classic that it’s going to become in the future.

The film explored so well how important speech and intelligence is to humans and I thought the villain killing all “primitive” humans was a realistic thing that could happen in real life. I loved how that led to the splitting and two different human fractions fighting together. It is hilarious and ironic that the apes beat humans accidentally and although that final avalanche was a bit too convenient, I also thought that it could happen and sometimes luck is all that you need. It made the movie so original ad unexpected as I thought apes would kill humans and this twist was in the end pretty satisfactory. Caesar’s death in the end was tragic and really heartfelt. A beautiful ending.

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War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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So let’s talk about Caesar. It is odd and somewhat disappointing that they did not bring Koba back after the hint that he is alive in the after-credits scene of ‘Dawn’, but him being haunted by Koba was an interesting aspect to this story and I loved the inner conflict inside him as he was becoming vengeful like him but eventually did hold back. Really strong drama and he remains one of the strongest, if not the very best, blockbuster protagonists ever. His journey has been absolutely fantastic ad Andy Serkis once again killed it in this role.

Bad Ape is a fun, a bit too funny and goofy, but still solid addition and he could be really funny at times. He brought some necessary humor to an otherwise incredibly bleak movie. Maurice is wonderful and his paternal side emerging with the arrival of Nova was wonderful to witness. She is also such a cute kid who was very important in this war and I liked that development quite a bit. The scenes with her were all so heartwarming without ever becoming too sentimental.

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War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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I liked the concept of the Donkey. All of Koba’s followers went to the human side which was quite realistic and it brought another complex layer to this story. The moment when Red redeems and sacrifices himself in order to save Caesar was probably the most unforgettable scene in the entire film. And even though Woody Harrelson wasn’t best suited for this role, it was interesting seeing him in such a villainous, creepy role. I really liked his character as he was very demanding and memorable and his goal was well established.

War for the Planet of the Apes is technically arresting. The CGI is once again breathtaking. The apes look real and you can almost believe they are real because the VFX work here is some of the best thus far and quite underrated. The action is phenomenal and so exciting and the film is so well directed by Matt Reeves and superbly paced with never a prolonged or rushed scene.

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War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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The cinematography is stunning and there are a lot of memorable set pieces here from the underground fighters to the avalanche to the final scene at the lake. But what takes this movie to classic status is its score. Michael Giacchino’s score is just stunning, old-fashioned in approach and always moving or exciting. It brought another level of poeticism to an already stunning film.

With absolutely stunning special effects, many memorable set pieces, great direction, superb performances and such a beautiful Michael Giacchino score, War for the Planet of the Apes is another masterful film that concludes the greatest trilogy ever on a majestic note. Highly moving in emotion, sophisticated and well thought out in its storytelling and exhilarating in its action, the film ends the trilogy so well while wonderfully connecting it to the original 1968 film in the process. It has been such a wonderful journey and I am so glad I witnessed it on the big screen.

My Rating – 5

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a 2014 science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves and starring Jason Clarke, Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman. It is a fantastic sequel.

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I always think… ape better than human.

I see now… how much like them we are

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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This movie is so great and actually kind of incredible because it manages to be better than ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ which was already a fantastic film. But this one is even better and sequels are rarely better. It is great because it prolongs the story and we see the beginnings of the conflict between the apes and humans and it serves as a perfect middle chapter in what I hope is going to be an amazing trilogy.

So the biggest reason why this movie is so incredible lies in its nature. Whereas its predecessor was a science fiction film that started the whole story, this one not only continues the plot, but it also changes its tone and setting. It is much more action oriented, much darker and much more ambitious but still being moving in its tone. It is very much a sequel to ‘Rise’, but it is also kind of its own thing and that is what every sequel should strive for.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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Caesar is a phenomenal character and here he becomes absolutely fantastic and one of the all time greatest blockbuster protagonists. Yes, he is that good. We see his struggles with his fellow apes as the leader, but we also see his relationship with humans which is wonderful and he is such a wise, but incredibly strong ape too.

Malcolm is very good and the relationship between these two is beautiful. Dreyfus is somewhat of a typical villain, but still very well realized mostly. Alexander and Ellie should have been better developed, but Koba is of course excellent as the one responsible for the entire war that is now brewing between the two species.

Jason Clarke is likable in the role, Gary Oldman is as good as he usually is and of course Andy Serkis steals the show entirely. His performance is breathtaking and he honestly should have been Oscar nominated for this role as it is that good.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has a bunch of memorable sequences and I am going to list some of my favorites now. Loved the opening and that bear fight scene was amazing. The chimp baby scene was adorable, of course the scene where Caesar reminisces his time with Will is emotionally resonant, his fight with Koba is exhilarating and of course the entire ending is majestic and the emotional moment Malcolm and Caesar share is just beautiful to witness.

The movie is very well directed by Matt Reeves, very well edited and paced and once again featuring splendid special effects. It looks amazing and sounds great, but the apes themselves look real that it really is one shining example of what CGI could accomplish nowadays. I usually don’t love CGI, but here I did as it was put to brilliant use.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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I thought the action was excellent and never felt overwhelming as it was so well done. The emotion is evident from beginning to end and it is the biggest reason why this newly restored franchise is great as you feel for its characters and fear for their lives. But because the script is so good and the dialogue is excellent, you’ve got one whole beautiful package in here. It also seemed realistic and I loved that the apes used sign language and the use of subtitles is great. The film shows us the roots of evil so well and how connected to intelligence it really is.

Evil is born along with evolution and it is a necessary negative aspect that comes from intelligence and leads all wars; the society needs to have cooperation and trust in order to progress – those are the statements that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes makes: a movie which is very intelligent and incredibly emotional (the final scene is beautiful) while still containing a bunch of great action scenes and absolutely superb special effects. It also has one of the best ever protagonists in Caesar. It is one of the best films of 2014 and one of the best sequels as well as blockbusters ever made, the one which trumps even the absolutely amazing predecessor and which raises the bar for the finale leading to what definitely could be one of the best, if not the very best, trilogies of all time.

My Rating – 5

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a 2011 science fiction film directed by Rupert Wyatt and starring James Franco and Andy Serkis. It’s such a fantastic Apes reboot.

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Caesar is home

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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I love this movie so much and it is definitely one of my favorite blockbusters ever. The film is somewhat of a remake of ‘Conquest of the Planet of the Apes’, but it’s mostly its own thing and the definition of a successful reboot as it breathes new life to the long gone and dead franchise. It follows Dr. Rodman and his relationship with Caesar who by accident becomes very smart and eventually leads an ape rebellion where they escape to the streets.

The structure of the film is phenomenal. The first half of the film is a great, slower build-up with a more scientific, not to mention emotional approach whereas the final part is an all-action, bombastic spectacle. But it works as the spectacle is great and of course the entire storyline is excellent and told in the best way possible and with a superb direction from Rupert Wyatt who really did a masterful job here.

I liked the main character and he is a wonderful man, but Caesar is fantastic and such a phenomenally well depicted ape who feels real and with genuine emotion. That is mostly achieved through the work of Andy Serkis who is always great, but is here especially phenomenal in a performance that was worthy and should have been nominated for an Oscar.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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James Franco is also quite good in one of his best roles, but Freida Pinto is not the greatest, but her role is at least small. John Litgow is excellent per usual in such a moving role and it is nice seeing David Oyelowo here. He was very good in an interesting role. All of the other apes are memorable and great and of course I loved seeing Tom Felton as he basically played Draco Malfoy again here which was hilarious, but fitting for this character and story. You just love to hate his guts.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes features a bunch of memorable sequences such as the bridge fight which was exhilarating in its action as well as the scene where Caesar first visits the forest. I loved the rebellion sequence and the final scene in the movie is so emotional and simply wonderful. The character interactions and relationship between Caesar and Rodman drive this movie and is the heart and soul of not only this film, but the rest of the franchise as well.

The direction and acting are excellent, but the score is also quite solid and at times even memorable when accompanying the action scenes which are all very good and superbly executed. The film is entertaining throughout its runtime, but never too action-packed or rushed owing to great pacing as well.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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The script is great and the film is thankfully devoid of any camp which plagued the previous Apes films. The special effects are marvelous and the motion-capture performance from Andy Serkis is absolutely brilliant. The film sounds and looks good, it’s realistic and fueled by very good dialogue and script for blockbuster standards. It truly is a beautiful film which even trumps the original which says quite a lot, but it is slightly inferior to its successor.

Filled with many truly moving scenes, excellent character interactions and a huge heart at its core, Rise of the Planet of the Apes also has a stellar script, excellent direction, superb acting with Andy Serkis killing it in such a great role, such good characters and marvelous special effects and action scenes. It is a textbook example of how to properly do a reboot and it’s one of the best blockbusters of all time.

My Rating – 5

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Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review

Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 anime war drama film directed by Isao Takahata. It is Studio Ghibli’s second film and one of the most heartbreaking animated films ever.

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Why must fireflies die so young?

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

It follows two siblings as they try to survive during the final months of World War II. It is a very serious film and is actually one of the most mature animated films of all time as even live-action war films rarely are this tragic. To me the film does not have a high rewatchability factor and surely I do not plan on seeing it again soon as three times is quite enough for now. Watching it for the third time, I was again overwhelmed and even disturbed and the film is definitely better to be taken in small doses which is not a problem as some films are too tragic to be watched many times and this is such a film.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

The film is so deep and heartbreaking in its ending and that wouldn’t be achieved had it not been for the previous two awesome acts. Grave of the Fireflies acquaints you with its two protagonists so well and it gives you many touching, sweet and even beautiful moments before overwhelming you with tragedy later on. And that was essential as it made the tragedy all the more powerful and everyone should feel it.

I am one of the rare people who did not cry during this film, but it came pretty close to making me cry. I loved its structure with the same beginning and ending. The highlight was definitely the burning of the body sequence as it is so terrible and fueled by that haunting score, it manages to totally crush you. The same goes for the scene where she wants to eat rocks out of despair and of course the part where we see Setsuko run around their place and disappear like a ghost. Those three scenes are so horrible, but they are not cheap and manipulative because, again, they were earned through some extensive character work and built emotion before.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

I am talking about the firefly scenes, especially the one where they find a bunch of them. Visually arresting and simply beautiful in every way, that was the only truly happy scene in the entire film and it made the rest of it feel like an even bigger nightmare. The quote about fireflies dying so quickly is also deep and truly phenomenal as the film’s theme. Fireflies area  a great metaphor here, but the visual detail of that box of candies was an even better and smart touch as it came at just the right parts in the story and it always felt important. To me it just might be the most memorable thing about the entire film and that says a lot.

Seita is excellent and Setsuko is so sweet. I just loved their relationship and it goes to show how terrible it is for parents to have children with big age gaps as the responsibility of parenthood befalls to the older child and he becomes a third parent in a way. But it also shows us how beautiful that can be and truly Seita’s love for Setsuko and her dependence on him is truly moving to witness. They share a great, evident bond and the huge power of this movie mostly stems from that bond.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

There aren’t a lot of supporting characters in Grave of the Fireflies as we only see their aunt get a significant role and she is good at first, but becomes horrible later on. She seemed realistic, but my only gripe with the movie is the fact that that farmer did not want to give Seita food even after he told him his sister is gravely sick. That felt unrealistic in my opinion as even the biggest piece of shit person would help two children, not to mention during wartime. But maybe I am mistaken. However, that part still felt not real to me personally.

Their father dying in a battle and of course their mother dying in front of our eyes was a terrible thing to witness. That scene with her entirely bandaged was just horrible and one of the most disturbing and maybe a bit too realistic scenes in all of anime, not to mention animation. But it was still needed as Seita needed to get used to the horrors of war quickly. It shows us how the effects of war can be horrible to children and pitying the innocence of children against the horrors of war has been done before, especially in the world cinema of the fifties and sixties (‘Ivan’s Childhood‘ and ‘Forbidden Games‘ immediately spring to mind), but it was never done in this great a manner and this just might be the best war drama ever made as it is that strong.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

Grave of the Fireflies is technically superb as the voice acting is excellent and Isao Takahata’s direction is amazing and he certainly is one of my favorite anime directors. The score is so powerful and haunting in quality that it propelled those tragic scenes to even more difficult to watch and exhausting parts. Its theme is truly gorgeous and unforgettable as it sticks with you long after you’ve heard it. The editing is also great as the film is slow, but never boring. As for its animation, it is awesome as the beauty of fireflies is definitely brought home in that arresting scene, but the war horrors are also conveyed well through the use of realistic details. I loved the look of the characters and in particular its attention to detail and color palette were great.

With many simply horrible to witness sequences that stick with you long after you’ve seen it, Grave of the Fireflies truly is a deeply tragic, devastating film that is all the more powerful as the emotion in the last third is earned thanks to its great character work, build up and many beautiful bonding scenes between the two siblings portrayed before. The animation is excellent and the direction from Isao Takahata is superb and he is one of my favorite anime directors, but it is its score imbued with a haunting quality to it that makes those tragic scenes even more unbearable to watch. It truly is one of the best animated films of all time and it might be the finest war drama ever made.

My Rating – 5

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Marty (1955)

Marty Movie Review

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Marty Movie Review

Marty is a 1955 romance film directed by Delbert Mann and starring Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair. It is one of the best films of all time.

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You don’t like her. My mother don’t like her. She’s a dog.

And I’m a fat, ugly man. Well, all I know is I had a good time last night.

I’m gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together,

I’m gonna get down on my knees. I’m gonna beg that girl to marry me.

If we make a party on New Year’s, I got a date for that party.

You don’t like her? That’s too bad!

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Marty Movie Review

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The film is about a bachelor butcher who gets pressured to get married by his friends and family as he is 34. One day, he meets a girl with similar problems and the two establish a romantic connection. Now where do I even begin with the praise for one of my favorite movies ever? First of all, this is one of the truly rare Hollywood films that deals with “ugly” people and regular folks with regular professions and problems and that makes it truly special. It is even more special for its time as back then these kinds of “small” films just did not exist.

Secondly, the film is just so damn realistic as it perfectly showcases the constant annoying behavior from parents and family when it comes to getting married. America got past this, but most parts of the world still have this problem so the film remains hugely relatable. The third great thing about it in terms of storytelling is its subplot which is beautiful. Usually movies that have these smaller stories suffer, but this one only got richer and deeper as it showcased in such a sweet, tragic way how getting old is terrible for a single/widowed mother.

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Marty Movie Review

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Marty is one of the best protagonists ever in a film. Yes, he is that great. Relatable and realistic, sweet and caring, but not too great a person, he seemed like a real person to me and is the heart and soul of the entire film. Clara is simply a wonderful person and I just loved her awkward, shy personality and her heart was always in the right place.

These two make one of the best romantic pairs ever in a film leading to possibly the best movie romance of all time. Watching them together is a priceless experience. How they met was very much like the movies and their entire date is so romantic and beautiful that it definitely is very cinematic. However, it is also realistic as it showcased in such a sweet manner the beauty of falling in love while also showing the darker side to it in the reactions of family and friends. Him talking constantly and then eventually her starting to talk, him awkwardly paying compliments and her being awkward when it comes to kissing… all of it was beautiful to me. It brought a smile to my face and I was even on the verge of happy tears as that’s how gorgeous this film is.

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Marty Movie Review

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Mary’s mother is such a great character too. Again grounded in reality and quite funny at times. Angie is very annoying, but again a realistic character and I loved how Marty eventually came to realize that his friends were holding him back. A great arc. Catherine is so funny and she made me laugh quite a bit and the scenes between the two old women were very heartwarming.

The acting is fabulous here. Ernest Borgnine gave his career best performance for sure and he absolutely excelled in a role that was seemingly not suited for him. His performance is subtle and the reason why Marty seemed like a real person lies in his incredible performance. Truly one of the greats in movie history. Betsy Blair is also excellent in a very charming role and I just loved her smile. She was so wonderful here. The fact that they cast people that look like their roles instead of the usual great looking actors pretending to play ugly people is admirable. And all of the others did a great job, but these two were the film’s soul.

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Marty Movie Review

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Let’s talk about the humor. Marty is a romance above all and certainly not a romantic comedy as it is too serious in tone for that classification. However, the film is still incredibly funny. Whenever they asked him when he was going to get married, those moments were both funny and frustratingly relatable. I loved the two old women and both were quite humorous and they made me laugh the most. And of course that line about marrying a girl that is half your age cracked me up as it was such a hilarious, stupid line of dialogue and the funniest and most memorable quote here.

So Marty has it all. The film is so well directed by Delbert Mann and even though some find it to be TV quality when it comes to cinematography, I thought it looked fine and some scenes were quite cinematic and it felt like a movie to me. It is a great example of an indie film as it surely was for its time and that is what makes it more realistic, applicable and ultimately better than most 50s films. The pacing is excellent and the film flies by how fun it is. It is incredibly emotional and sometimes I wanted to cry honestly. Its dialogue is top-notch and the character development is, as I said, stupendous.

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Marty Movie Review

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Marty was nominated for eight Oscars and it won four. Betsy Blair should have won for Supporting Actress, but I am so glad that the film won in four major categories. Director and screenplay are much deserved and Ernest Borgnine was thankfully rewarded for one of the best male performances ever. It won Best Picture as the shortest and sweetest film to ever win that award and one of the best. It is one of my top twenty favorite films of all time and a film that I am going to watch for decades to come.

With very relatable and important issues explored, such a great humor with many hilarious lines and one of the best romantic pairs ever in a film, Marty is truly the best romance film of all time. Ernest Borgnine gave one of the best male performances ever and Betsy Blair is also great. They are wonderful together and the film is so sweet, so indescribably beautiful that it almost moved me to tears. The dialogue is top-notch, the characterization is very strong and the film is very realistic and heartwarming leading to one of the best films of all time and one of my personal favorites. A classic for the ages.

My Rating – 5

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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is the genre’s best film and in my opinion one of the best films ever made.

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Open the pod bay doors, HAL

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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In this movie review I am not going to talk about the story in-depth as I have already done that analysis in my review of the book. But let’s compare the two works. I guess I am in vast minority, but I think I actually prefer the book. The movie is absolutely fantastic, but some elements, especially the main character and the plot itself, were slightly better in the novel.
But Clarke and Kubrick are both geniuses and this movie is the quintessential example of how to properly adapt novel into visual medium such as film, it is actually a better example than ‘The Shining’ which is another Kubrick movie which was perfectly adapted from the Stephen King book. Whereas the novel is much better explained and detailed, the film is just the opposite – it doesn’t give many explanations and it leaves many things unanswered and to the viewers to analyze themselves. That is why this film is such an admirable work of art, wonderfully ambiguous, timeless and always fascinating to behold. The book and the film are the same at their core, but are so different in approach and that is why I loved what Kubrick did here.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I thought that Bowman, Poole and Floyd were all better in the book, but here they aren’t particularly important and that is why they aren’t as much developed. In the ambitious scope and context of this epic story, characters are almost irrelevant which is why I liked that approach even though I would usually criticize it. The performances from its far from famous cast are pretty good too.
HAL 9000 is absolutely magnificent. It is interesting how the only non-human character in the movie is better developed, more flawed and in the end more human than the humans themselves which is an interesting conversation point. But whatever you take away from it, you just cannot deny the power of this character who is in my opinion one of the best villains ever in a film and probably even the very best. Calculated, yet so human, he is also very creepy and all of the scenes with him are so powerful with the lip-reading sequence being the most memorable. Complex and fascinating, HAL truly is an unforgettable creation.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most cinematic films in film history. And that is in and of itself a pure miracle because the book seems so unfilmable and the story seems that it could only exist in the literary form. That is why Kubrick’s direction here is probably the best of all time, it is that great! Without any doubt, this is his magnum opus and that says a lot as his filmography is truly phenomenal. His direction here is always consistent, artistic and epic and he is the person most responsible for the existence of this masterpiece. He was such a talented individual.
Naturally the special effects are the most memorable aspect here. Wow, not only is this movie the best looking classic film, but I would go so far as to call these effects the finest ever created in a film. I have actually read how it was made and it is still mind-boggling to me that this film came out in the sixties. The ship, the planets and the overall space is just visually stunning. There are many scenes here that contain such jaw-dropping visceral beauty that it overwhelms your senses entirely. The cinematography and the effects work in line to create one of the best looking movies of all time.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I constantly use those superlatives, but this is just that powerful a movie. And it is another strong proof that some movies have to be watched many times in order to fully understand them. When I watched 2001 the first time, I actually disliked it. When I watched it the second time, I found it to be very good, but kind of boring. But upon third viewing and on the big screen, I was riveted throughout the whole running time, I was fascinated by its sheer magnitude and now I deem it to be one of the best films of all time. It is in fact now in my top ten films list, sitting at the seventh spot for now and it may only move further to the top as I definitely intend to watch it every couple of years for the rest of my life.
This wouldn’t be such a strong artistic achievement hadn’t it been for the score. Using classical compositions, Kubrick again managed to create a timeless masterpiece. I loved how wonderfully the music accompanied the action on screen and that creepy score accompanying the monolith scene was just astonishing to behold and immensely unnerving.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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As I said, it is a timeless film. Mainly because it uses spacesuits, the ship and especially the production design that feel so futuristic and definitely timeless instead of the usually timely portrayals in other science fiction films of this period. The furniture and the sets are just magnificent and couple that with those accomplished effects and you have the movie that looks and sounds great even in this 21st century and do believe that it is going to stand the test of time for many centuries and millennia to come.
Now I have to touch upon my favorite sequences. I adore that opening with the apes. Now I do love ‘Planet of the Apes’ from the same year, but this is how you make apes that look realistic and fantastic to this day. The transition from the bone to the space object is stunning and the next unforgettable scene is of course the monolith scene which is unforgettable in its creepiness. I loved all of the scenes with HAL 9000 and the entire ending is jaw-droppingly beautiful and artistic. I loved the ambiguity about it. I still do think that those who haven’t read the book would have a hard time understanding the film, but I’ve read the book myself and I love both of these works so much.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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The dialogue is sparse, but phenomenal. I loved that this was almost a silent film in many ways and I loved its ambitious approach. The film deals with so many things from artificial intelligence to extraterrestrials to weapons to space exploration, but it is above all one ambitious and timeless look at the never-ending human quest for knowledge. In its plot and scope, it is almost universal and all-encompassing which is why it is a quintessential science fiction film whether you love it or not.

With the best special effects ever created, one of the best villains ever, splendid production design, stunning cinematography, beautiful score and absolutely fantastic direction from Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey truly is a timeless masterpiece and undoubtedly a work of art. It encompasses all of the essential science fiction themes and that is why it is the quintessential genre film. Ambitious in scope and plot, epic in feel and filled with many scenes that are overwhelming in their majesty, 2001 is a marvel to behold and it is indisputably one of the best films of all time.

My Rating – 5

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King Kong (1933)

King Kong Movie Review…………………………………………………..

King Kong Movie Review

King Kong is a 1933 fantasy adventure film which is one of the finest blockbusters of all time.
This is such a classic movie. I first watched it about six years ago and after seeing it now for the second time, I fully stand by my original 5-star rating as it truly is as flawless as blockbusters can be. A marvelous movie by all accounts.
The story and the overall jungle setting of the film along with the dinosaur creatures is obviously influenced by ‘The Lost World’ which is such a good silent adventure flick. But King Kong managed to make even better, full use of such a premise and I honestly think that it is mostly immaculately executed.

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It was beauty killed the beast

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King Kong Movie Review…………………………………………………..
I loved the first act which is a perfect build up to the action, so well done and engaging. This is a monster movie done right as it introduces you to its characters in a natural manner and those characters are not ridiculously underdeveloped but are quite memorable.
Robert Armstrong is amusing as this highly business-oriented director of exotic movies. He is likable, yet realistic. I respected the movie for showcasing how box office was important even during the 30s and that Hollywood is just one giant business. He got some of the funniest lines as well.
Fay Wray is quite memorable as one of the screen’s first scream queens. She was stereotypical and too hopeless, but this role needed such a weak female character so that wasn’t a big problem for me. Bruce Cabot is immensely funny as this overly misogynistic redneck and I really liked their relationship.
But King Kong is the name of the movie and he is undoubtedly the true star here. That Beauty and the Beast dynamic was quite interesting and I really liked his behavior and that he seemed genuinely clever at times. His death is definitely felt and is the most emotional scene in the film.

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King Kong Movie Review………………………………………….
So I loved that ending and that famous quote is unforgettable to this day. The entire Empire State Building sequence is thrilling, beautifully executed and realistic. That scene is one for the ages. But the second act is probably my favorite as the jungle scenes were a lot of fun and the movie shines the most in the adventure department. It is wrongly classified as horror when in reality it is an adventure film with fantasy elements and what a glorious, old-fashioned adventure it is.
The action is so well executed and quite believable. The reason why I consider it as a full-on blockbuster despite its age is that it has quite a lot of action in it plus it is a giante spectacle that truly needs to be seen on the big screen and I am so glad that I did that.
King Kong features quite possibly the best special effects of any 1930s film. The stop-motion work done by Willis O’Brien truly is one of the finest of all time. The Pteranodon looked real, the Tyrannosaurus and the Brontosaurus both looked phenomenal and of course Kong himself is marvelous. His jerky movements only further brough the necessary realism as that large a creature would be really slow. But his face and fur are absolutely fantastic. This movie looked spectacular for its time, but it still looks pretty good even by today’s VFX standards.

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King Kong Movie Review…………………………………………………..
The film’s humor surprised me as it is pretty good and I laughed a couple of times. The dialogue is simple, yet extremely memorable and the editing is so deft that the movie flies by, but is never rushed too. The score is pretty good and fitting to the action as well. It truly is a wonderful experience.
With simply amazing special effects, memorable characters, excellent humor, highly recognizable dialogue and superb imagery, King Kong truly is an undisputed classic which has aged like fine wine and is phenomenally entertaining to this day. It is such a wonderful adventure which features quite a lot of unforgettable sequences, great action scenes and such a memorable ending leading to one of the best blockbusters of all time.

My Rating – 5

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Lion (2016)

Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Lion Movie Review

Lion is a 2016 drama film directed by Garth Davis and starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar and Nicole Kidman. It is one of the year’s best films.

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Every night I imagine that I’m walking those streets home

and I know every single step of the way, and I whisper in her ear – I’m here

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

It follows a true story of an Indian boy from a small village who, while waiting for his brother on the street, boards a train and accidentally ends up in Calcutta. Eventually, he gets adopted by an Australian couple and he decides to search for his village and his mother with the help of Google Earth.

The story is so powerful, human and extremely emotional that I was blown away by it. The fact that it is real and that it did in fact happen only bolstered its power to me. Those final images of the real people were so moving to watch. This is one of the rare movies that made me cry and I almost never cry watching movies. That’s how powerful it is. But the reunion scene just made me tear up how wonderful and emotional it was. Truly one of the best scenes of any 2016 film.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

I loved the film’s structure. Some may say it is problematic that the second half is more dramatic and slower than the first one, but I liked that quite a bit. To me the second half is even stronger than the first one as I thought that his journey as a small child maybe could have been trimmed down a bit. But I still was fascinated watching it. He truly had a crazy, difficult life and following him from one city to another, encountering many bad people and terrible poverty and situations on the street was devastating to behold.

But I loved the second half. It featured excellent dialogue and it just phenomenally put into perspective the issue of adoption. When Kidman’s character makes that speech why she chose to adopt, well, that is probably where the movie shines the most in terms of sophistication and message. She tells us that having biological children is actually a very selfish decision as you bring a child to an overly populated planet when you can help a child that is already born and struggles in poverty and is parentless.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The movie showcases how difficult and emotionally exhausting adoption can be which is here best exemplified in their second adopted son Mantosh who is very problematic as he has self-harm and anger issues. As Saroo states – by adopting them, she also adopted their previous, troubled and difficult histories. Yes, the movie truthfully showcases both the pros and cons of adoption, but it still ends it on a positive note, by telling us that it is still a beautiful, human thing to do and I was just inspired by that sentiment.

I loved the characters, so well realized and having read the interviews, it is evident that real Saroo and others are happy with this adaptation which is another proof of its greatness. It is faithful. He was great here, but I liked his girlfriend quite a bit too and their relationship was well developed. Everyone else was excellent, but the highlight is Sue naturally as she is such an inspirational person and a beautiful soul whom I respect a lot.

The acting in Lion is as great as the various accolades have been telling us. Rooney Mara and David Wenham are quite good, but Priyanka Bose was superb in the mother’s role. I dislike Dev Patel personally, but I couldn’t deny how superb he was here, delivering a very good, respectable performance.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

However, Sunny Pawar is so underappreciated here. He gave such an amazing performance for a child actor and he even stole the show from Dev Patel as he was more memorable in the first half. A very underrated child performance once again. But to me Nicole Kidman is easily the standout actress here. Wow, she was fantastic and she definitely delivered the year’s finest supporting performance. She was subtle when needed and emotional when the dialogue and the scene demanded. Her speech sequence is really something special.

Lion is also beautifully made. The cinematography here is absolutely stunning and is the year’s best looking and best shot movie. Whether in India or in Australia, it was beautiful to witness, but also realistic in its sequences. I loved that it didn’t shy away from Indian problems such as child sex trade and slavery, both presented here.

As for the direction, it is very good and especially great given that it is a directorial debut for Garth Davis. The film features a terrific script which is not only moving, but thematically rich and it features realism and a great message regarding adoption. It truly is an inspirational movie, but also a universal one as almost anyone can relate to the search for parents, coming from a poor area etc.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

I found the dialogue to be terrific as well with a couple of excellent lines and many thought-provoking discussions. The film is also very well edited which was quite an accomplishment having in mind its difficult to adapt structure. Lion was always riveting to me and never at all slow. It is almost perfectly made and I rarely say that. Really, there is nothing wrong with this movie, at least nothing comes to my mind right now when writing this review, though that may change upon second viewing. But for now, it is a great movie that deserved much more accolades than it got and it is quite possibly the best 2016 has to offer.

Emotional, smart, realistic and just so powerful, Lion is a masterpiece of a film. It features such terrific performances with Nicole Kidman being particularly outstanding, it is beautifully shot, so well edited and directed and it features excellent, thought-provoking dialogue and a great message. It showcases both the pros and cons of adoption, but that eventually it is a beautiful decision. Everyone can relate to this movie as Saroo’s journey is amazing and heartbreaking and it is all the more powerful having in mind that it really happened. It is one of the rare movies that made me cry and it is in my opinion the very best film of 2016.

My Rating – 5

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