Wonder (2017)

Wonder Movie Review

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Wonder Movie Review

Wonder is a 2017 drama film directed by Stephen Chbosky and starring Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts. It is a very good, but overly sentimental film.

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Auggie can’t change how he looks.

Maybe we should change how we see

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Wonder Movie Review

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It follows a child who has Treacher Collins Syndrome and is trying to fit in school. In my opinion, this film is at first great and then it becomes very standard. The first half is fantastic and the second one is so typical. So let’s first talk about the first half.

I absolutely loved the first half of this film and for many reasons. One is that it was subtle and not too sentimental while always being very realistic and filled with a great attention to detail in its character interactions and their problems. But I particularly loved the choice to give us different points of view and the film goes from Auggie to his sister and best friend’s point of view as well. I loved that as it made the film very unique and different.

However, the second half ruined all that owing to its sudden shift into predictable, typical melodrama and sentimental drivel even. The death of a dog was too melodramatic and it did not need to happen as we already had a lot of drama in the family. But the biggest problem is that ridiculous ending which is overly inspirational, so clichéd and the entire film suffered from it which is unfortunate.

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Wonder Movie Review

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Some people with the same condition criticized it for being inspiration porn and I entirely agree with that. Basically the kid is being rewarded for just being himself and being different when he didn’t do anything worthy of an award. If they gave the award to his two friends, it would have been a different story, but in this manner the film became unfortunately clichéd and annoying.

Auggie is likable and well developed with Jacob Tremblay once again giving an excellent performance. Of course his performance in ‘Room’ is so much better, but here he is very good too and further proof that he is a major talent to be watched. I liked seeing Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson for a change as I haven’t seen them in a long time and they are great parents with Roberts in particular giving a strong performance.

The bullying angle is well explored although somewhat mild. Via is very well realized and I appreciated the film for giving us an insight into her problems. She is a neglected child for obvious reasons as they shifted almost their whole focus to Auggie and she suffered because of that. Very interesting and truthful. I also really liked her friend’s story. And Jack Will is such a wonderful soul and a great friend. The Minecraft scene is so fantastic, moving and utilizing on modern technology superbly that it’s one of 2017’s finest movie scenes.

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Wonder Movie Review

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Wonder is well directed, well paced and well structured. As I said, I loved its approach with different points of view and character spotlights. The acting is strong, the film is well shot and of course the make-up is terrific and deservedly Oscar-nominated. In the end, I liked Wonder quite a bit, but I do wish that it was subtler in execution and more sophisticated. It was too commercialized as evidenced by its incredibly large box office results.

Wonder features an outstanding first half and an unfortunate second one. The first half is so well acted, directed and structured with an original approach with more points of view and character spotlights. It features subtle filmmaking and heartwarming moments. However, the second half is the opposite – it becomes very unsubtle, too melodramatic and overly inspirational and sentimental in its ending. It’s a good film, but it could have been much better had it been less commercialized.

My Rating – 4

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The Florida Project (2017)

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The Florida Project Movie Review

The Florida Project is a 2017 indie drama film directed by Sean Baker and starring Brooklynn Prince. It is a very strong, deeply affecting movie.

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I can always tell when adults are about to cry

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The Florida Project Movie Review

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The film follows a 6-year-old girl named Moonee who is living in a motel with her problematic mother near Walt Disney World as they are trying to make ends meet. Finally America made a film about poverty as they quite rarely do that subject matter. The movie showcases so well the hypocrisy of modern America – as rich people with their rich children enjoy their time in Walt Disney World, struggling Latinos, single mothers etc. live in a motel nearby in great poverty.

The Florida Project is not in my top ten movies for 2017. It is close, but not in the top ten for one reason alone and that is its overly detailed approach. Sean Baker did not need to show us everything the kids and their parents do and certainly the middle parts can be a bit boring. The film did not need to have a two-hour runtime as an hour and a half was just enough. That was a big mistake and thus the pacing suffered a bit.

But the movie is still so good that it renders those flaws unimportant. Some scenes in the beginning reminded me of my childhood and I connected with these kids on a personal level. It shows us how poor kids can be just as happy as the rich ones and even happier as without electronics they are bound to go outside, play and explore their surroundings. The film portrayed rebellious, bratty children so well and all of the bad things they did rang true for me as I knew kids like that when I was younger.

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The Florida Project Movie Review

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The characters are very grounded in reality and well developed. Halley is definitely problematic with drugs and her prostitution, but she obviously cares for her child as evidenced by the lovely playtimes that they share. That’s why that ending was so impactful.

Speaking of the ending, of course it stole the show. Moonee arrives to say goodbye to her friend and cries and cries but she takes her hand and the two run and run fast, they come to Walt Disney World and enter for the first time. This kind of ending is perfect. It is deeply emotional and heartbreaking, but also fantastical and unrealistic in a way making it a very cinematic conclusion which I loved.

But back to the characters now. Ashley is memorable and Bobby is very well developed, but I found Willem Dafoe’s performance very overrated. He’s good, but not Oscar-worthy. Moonee is of course terrific and Brooklynn Prince gave one of the year’s finest female performances and she should have been Oscar nominated for this great role. Stacey and Scooty are great and the film is at its best when it shows us the kids playing and sharing ice cream with each other. Those scenes are beyond heartwarming. The film surely does understand children.

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The Florida Project Movie Review

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The Florida Project is weakly paced and edited, but definitely well scored and also very well shot. I found the dialogue believable as well as the characters. The story is in the end too detailed, but highly memorable and very emotionally rewarding. It is such a touching film.

The Florida Project is overly detailed in its characters’ activities and its two-hour runtime was excessive and thus some of the middle parts were a bit boring. However, the film manages to transcend those flaws thanks in large part to its evident understanding of children and their behavior with most of their scenes being heartwarming. The central performance from Brooklynn Prince is outstanding and that ending is so heartbreaking and ultimately wonderfully fantastical and cinematic that it’s one of the best and most unforgettable movie scenes of 2017.

My Rating – 4.5

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God’s Own Country (2017)

God's Own Country Movie Review

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God’s Own Country Movie Review

God’s Own Country is a 2017 British drama film directed by Francis Lee and starring Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu. It is a very strong, effective film.

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I want us to be together

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God's Own Country Movie Review

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It follows a young sheep farmer in Yorkshire who is lonely and thus drinks a lot and has casual meaningless sex. But when a Romanian migrant worker arrives, the two start a relationship and he has to change in order to stay with him. Now apparently this story is familiar and I’ve seen similar films before which is why this one never felt original in most ways.

But it was still effective emotionally speaking because it is so well acted and nuanced in its execution. I definitely craved for more dialogue because I am a dialogue-driven person, but still the calmer, mostly wordless approach worked as the film is meticulous in detail, subtle in its facial expressions and very sophisticated that you do understand everything that is going on between these two without them speaking too much.

Marin and Deidre serve their purpose and are very good, but this is the movie that mostly centers just on its two protagonists. I found both Johnny and Gheorghe to be somewhat typical characters and not all that unique, but their relationship is so well developed, so realistic and even deep that they ended up being very interesting to watch.

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God's Own Country Movie Review

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Alec Secareanu is definitely terrific in his role and very nuanced, but I found Josh O’Connor to be the better of the two and basically the focus of the film is mostly on him. He gave a powerful, very underrated performance that is grounded and complex.

God’s Own Country is a country film and thus it has its gruesome scenes. It’s a very interesting film that manages to be both disgusting and beautiful at the same time. The best example of that is when Gheorghe skins the dead lamb and puts the wool on another live lamb to make it warm. The scene is at first overly disgusting and just horrible to watch but then it quickly becomes sweet and simply beautiful. Very weird and I guess it worked as life can be both wonderful and cruel.

But still those animal birth, skinning etc. scenes were too much for me and they did not need to be that detailed. The same goes for the sex scenes. They are mostly too raw, coarse and unromantic but I guess that was the point – to show us how rednecks have sex. That made the film very realistic. That’s how I would describe it best – a realistic, but sometimes too detailed film.

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God's Own Country Movie Review

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The film definitely showcases what’s it like being a gay person in a small village and it did that in a very subtle manner which I appreciated. The highlights are the romantic moments between the two and the final conversation which is moving. The script is sophisticated and the pacing is very good. The direction from Francis Lee is absolutely superb and for a debut he did a remarkable job and is probably the most promising new director of 2017.

God’s Own Country is too crude and raw at times with some of the animal scenes being too disgusting, but that definitely made the film very realistic. I like more dialogue in a film, but still this calmer, mostly wordless approach worked very well here as the performances from both actors are terrific and their interactions are nuanced and thus you understand everything that is going on without them speaking too much. The film is very well scripted but so superbly directed by Francis Lee in one terrific directorial debut.

My Rating – 4

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The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

The Castle of Cagliostro Movie Review

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The Castle of Cagliostro Movie Review

The Castle of Cagliostro is a 1979 anime heist film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is pretty solid and admirable as the director’s feature debut.

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Lupin! Don’t you dare die before I get to arrest you!

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The Castle of Cagliostro Movie Review

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It follows a gentleman thief named Arsene Lupin III who heads to the small country of Cagliostro and there he attempts to save the princess from forced marriage. This is a very classical, old-fashioned heist flick with comedy, romance and mystery overtones to it. I definitely liked its charming, old-fashioned approach, but I also disliked its overwhelming action.

The film is the best at being a mystery as the exploration of the castle and such scenes are very interesting. The romantic scenes are also fine and the heist action scenes are mostly really well done. But still the chases and fights went on for too long and the movie surely needed a more sophisticated, calmer approach.

The characterization is solid albeit far from great. Arsene Lupin III is a pretty good protagonist. He is fun and amusing, but not particularly likable and overly cocky for my liking. Lady Clarisse is a typical love interest meaning that she is just there to be Lupin’s girlfriend. She’s charming, but a weak female character nonetheless. Others are solid and the villains are competent, but none of them stand out from the crowd in any particular fashion. The voice acting is terrific though.

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The Castle of Cagliostro Movie Review

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The Castle of Cagliostro features animation that most would deem dated nowadays, but for its time it was terrific. This 1979 animation is not as polished and is sometimes too crude, but the character design is solid and some of the backgrounds are very nice. The interiors and the castle are particularly beautiful and some of the film’s imagery truly is arresting. That intriguing imagery definitely helps the plot and mystery a lot in the process.

I found the pacing weak as the film is overly quick and rushed in pace with way too many action sequences. Most of the action is solid and fun, but some of it is overlong and also goofy. The humor definitely is not the strongest and the film is too comedic in my opinion and a more dramatic approach would have been more fitting for this type of film.

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The Castle of Cagliostro Movie Review

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The dialogue is pretty good and the film has its memorable scenes such as that moving ending and all of the scenes in the castle which are the most memorable parts of the flick. The film lacks any themes or message and is thus far from Miyazaki’s later efforts when it comes to sophistication, emotion and also world building. This film does explore and execute its charming setting superbly, but is definitely confined in space. Overall, I liked the film, but it is just solid and never great. For a debut, it is nonetheless very strong and it proved promising.

The Castle of Cagliostro lacks thematically speaking, the characterization is solid but not great and the film has overwhelming action in it, but it is overall a pretty solid feature debut for Hayao Miyazaki with memorable imagery and an interesting story with a fun heist angle to it with comedic, romantic and mystery elements also thrown into the mix.

My Rating – 3.5

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Black Water (2007)

Black Water Movie Review

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Black Water Movie Review

Black Water is a 2007 horror film set in Australia. It’s a very solid crocodile horror film which is definitely worth seeing for horror enthusiasts.

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I’ll be back.

That’s what he said

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Black Water Movie Review

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It is set in the mangrove swamps of northern Australia where Grace, her sister and husband are going on a swamp tour. Suddenly, a crocodile attacks them, kills their guide and it is up to the three of them to survive. The story is of course slight, but it works as everything we need is the crocodile and this awesome swamp setting which I absolutely loved.

The characterization is of course the problem as I did not care for either of them and I found them uninteresting and poorly developed. Adam is forgettable and Lee is heroic and likable, but in terms of acting Diana Glenn as Grace easily gave the finest performance with the other two being weak.

The film isn’t scary enough and it’s somewhat slow. However, it benefits from a couple of definitely fantastic scenes such as the entire ending which is so well done and hugely entertaining. The highlight for me was the scene in which the crocodile jumped from the water which was unexpected and a great jump scare so well executed.

They made use of this setting so well and I really liked how the film was shot. Some of the low shots are very effective in building the tension. I wanted more action and much more exploration of the swamp, but still the more grounded approach paid off in terms of realism.

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Black Water Movie Review

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Black Water is admirable for using so little CGI in it which I respected a lot. The crocodile is real and the dead bodies are practical effects. That’s why the film felt realistic and the crocodile is in particular very memorable and such a great, menacing villain.

It’s a shame we did not see more of him, but that approach with less instead of more is classic horror which is interesting. The shots of the croc emerging from the water all stole the show here. And of course the scene where you can hear him eating and crushing the human bones was so creepy.

Black Water needed more scares and the characterization is poor with the acting also being weak. But it’s still a pretty solid croc attack film with a couple of very creepy, so well executed sequences, a great use of its interesting setting and an admirable approach with less action, more realistic scenarios and no use of CGI whatsoever.

My Rating – 3.5

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Billy Elliot (2000)

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Billy Elliot Movie Review

Billy Elliot is a 2000 British drama film directed by Stephen Daldry and starring Jamie Bell, Gary Lewis and Julie Walters. It is a wonderful film.

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What does it feel like when you’re dancing?

Don’t know. Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going…

then I like, forget everything. And… sorta disappear. Sorta disappear.

Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I’ve got this fire in my body. I’m just there.

Flyin’ like a bird. Like electricity. Yeah, like electricity

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Billy Elliot Movie Review

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It is about a titular boy who starts to attend ballet classes much to the disapproval of his family. Eventually his father accepts that and even makes sure that he gets to go to the ballet school. I definitely do think that the film is somewhat familiar in its storyline and certainly overly happy in its ending, but still it is such an investing, wonderful tale populated with lovely characters that I just couldn’t resist and I loved its inspirational angle nonetheless.

Billy is such a great central character who is a realistic and well developed, very likable boy. Jamie Bell gave such a stupendous performance here. Gary Lewis is also very good as his father and although Jackie changes too fast, I still loved the relationship between the two as it was wonderful to witness and in my opinion a great lesson to learn for all fathers out there.

His brother is not as important in the story, but still all his scenes are quite memorable. Michael is an interesting character as we learn in the end that he is gay but the friendship between the two still remained so strong which was again inspirational. Julie Walters is the highlight in my opinion as she gave such a wonderful performance in the role of Sandra Wilkinson. I loved her and it’s a shame that she did not get a better ending and closure.

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Billy Elliot Movie Review

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Billy Elliot features a bunch of memorable sequences with one of the highlights being that ending which takes place years later as we see father, brother and Michael all come to see Billy’s performance. It was a perfect ending in my opinion. So powerful and emotional. I also found the departure scenes very heartbreaking and I was even on the verge of crying during those moments which is truly rare for me. And every scene between Billy and Jackie is wonderful as are his scenes with Sandra and Michael.

The movie truly is moving and I was definitely touched and I even felt inspired, but not in a cheap way which I respected a lot. The film never felt cheap in any way and although it is on the surface very familiar and simple, the beauty of it is that it’s simple but still powerful and perfectly executed in most of its aspects. Some scenes I wanted to be a bit different, but most are excellent and very sophisticated with the dance scenes being energetic and passionate.

I got why dancing was so important to him and I got why ballet is great and beautiful to many people. That is the power of this film – it showed me something I wasn’t quite acquainted with or in love with and I ended up wanting to dance myself. It truly has that power to inspire you.

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Billy Elliot Movie Review

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Billy Elliot is superbly edited and paced with never a dull or rushed scene. I did think that the mining scenes were much less interesting than the rest of the film, but still I didn’t mind them. The direction from Stephen Daldry is terrific, the score is of course excellent and the film is very well shot and with great choreography as well.

With highly likable and so well developed characters, superb performances from Julie Walters and Jamie Bell, excellent direction from Stephen Daldry and many fantastic, moving scenes, Billy Elliot is undoubtedly a very inspirational (never in a cheap way), emotional film which is powerful in its message, simplicity and many heartwarming character interactions. It truly is a wonderful film.

My Rating – 4.5

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Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad Movie Review

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Suicide Squad Movie Review

Suicide Squad is a 2016 superhero film directed by David Ayer and starring Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Jared Leto among others. It is a frustratingly weak, though entertaining flick.

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Huh? What was that?

I should kill everyone and escape?

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Suicide Squad Movie Review

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Amanda Waller recruits a bunch of villains to save the world from a giant supernatural threat. And the constant use of the word “villain” meant that the film sounded childish and unsubtle. The overall story is of course just an excuse to feature major fights with all these famous characters, but it is serviceable as a superhero movie plot.

The bigger problem here are the characters. The characterization is so thin and actually rather poor for the most part and that was frustrating to witness. They had all these characters at their disposal and they couldn’t properly adapt them to the big screen. The film is rushed, it has too much action and not enough calmer moments and thus the characters struggled.

The only excellent characters here are Amanda Waller, Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Amanda Waller is a terrific, very serious and capable character and I loved that Viola Davis played her and she did give a very strong performance per usual. Deadshot is also excellent, well developed and very well acted by Will Smith.

Harley Quinn, however, is the standout one and the biggest reason to see this film as she is simply fantastic. She is faithfully adapted to the big screen from the source material and becomes a memorable movie character in her own right. Everybody loves her and for many obvious reasons.

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Suicide Squad Movie Review

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Margot Robbie killed it in the role and basically became Harley. Such a phenomenal, charismatic performance. Harley here is funny, sexy, childlike and unforgettable. Whenever she appeared on the screen, she stole the show with so many hilarious quirks and lines.

Joker is frustratingly underused which is a shame as Jared Leto’s Joker could have been the best live-action film version so far as he really excelled playing him and he is very memorable, creepy and crazy.

Rick Flag is entirely forgettable, the same goes for Captain Boomerang, El Diablo is somewhat better developed but with a weak, typical backstory, Killer Croc is memorable in looks but ultimately pointless, Slipknot is so forgettable and Katana is cool, but entirely underdeveloped. Enchantress is actually the worst character here as Cara Delevigne gave her worst performance yet in this role and the villain is just disposable, so annoying, not menacing at all and ultimately awful.

Suicide Squad is definitely very well scored and with many finely integrated musical cues. It is well acted for the most part and the action is most certainly good, though far from great. Some of the action scenes are highly memorable, but some took too much runtime.

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Suicide Squad Movie Review

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The direction from David Ayer is so bad that he ruined this material in my eye. They should have hired a different director and the movie would have been much better. Some of the humor and the dialogue are great, but then again some of the lines are overly unsubtle.

The film also features a typical DCEU problem which is of course the third act which is again a giant CGI mess with too bombastic fights and a bad villain. They continue to do this and it is really getting frustrating.

Suicide Squad is such a missed opportunity for a cool, fun film. The film is still mostly entertaining, the score is very good, some of the action is memorable and the humor is solid. Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller is excellent, Will Smith’s Deadshot is very good and of course Margot Robbie steals the show in the role of Harley Quinn as the character is so fantastic that the film is worth seeing just for her alone. Jared Leto’s Joker is very interesting and memorable, but ridiculously underused. All of the other characters are unfortunately entirely disposable and underdeveloped owing to very poor characterization, the script is weak and once again DCEU has a problem delivering a strong third act: the action is bombastic, the CGI is messy and Enchantress simply is a horrible villain.

My Rating – 3

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Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

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Sleepless in Seattle Movie Review

Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 romantic comedy film directed by Nora Ephron and starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. It’s a solid chick flick.

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Destiny is something we’ve invented because we can’t stand

the fact that everything that happens is accidental

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Sleepless in Seattle Movie Review

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Full disclosure – I do not like romantic comedies and chick flicks. They just do not appeal to me and I have a big problem with their clichéd storylines and stereotypical characters. And although this one also has those problems, it is still better than most romantic comedies and I liked it overall more than I disliked it.

So the story is definitely implausible, unrealistic and sometimes even ridiculous (a kid going on a plane alone and being allowed to do that took me out of it completely). Still, there is no denying the charm that this film possesses as it’s a very charming flick with a couple of irresistibly endearing sequences.

Tom Hanks is reliably good in the role of Sam Baldwin. He is a bit too good-natured, but then again this actor is best suited for such roles and here he excelled at playing him. Meg Ryan as Annie actually stole the show here from Hanks. I’m not the biggest fan of hers, but I could not deny how endlessly charming, quirky and lovable she is in this film. She definitely helped the film a lot with her sweet presence.

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Sleepless in Seattle Movie Review

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Walter is a typical character and I really disliked that subplot as it was so cliched. They should have gotten rid of him and the movie would have been much better. Jonah is okay, but somewhat annoying at times. I liked the father-son relationship and it was very well realized. Rosie O’Donell is often quite amusing as her funny friend.

Sleepless in Seattle has a very good, but too on-the-nose soundtrack. I liked most of the songs they used with the highlights being Back in the Saddle Again and As Time Goes By. However, they literally accompanied the action on screen in the most unsubtle manner possible that it got very distracting pretty quickly.

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Sleepless in Seattle Movie Review

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The movie is definitely well paced and quite entertaining to watch. Nora Ephron’s direction is weak, but the acting is very strong across the board and actually some of the dialogue is stupendous. The humor is very strong and some lines are admittedly very funny. I just found its plot overly implausible and the genders are so stereotyped here with the women crying over romantic films being very annoying. ‘An Affair to Remember’ is used really well in the context of this film and both movies are of similar quality when I think about it.

Sleepless in Seattle is a typical 90s romantic comedy, but a solid one which is actually better than most others. Tom Hanks is reliably good, but it is Meg Ryan who stole the show here as she’s very charming and incredibly endearing. The film definitely has its charm, some scenes are quite sweet and the humor is solid. However, the soundtrack, though fine, is distractingly on-the-nose, some scenes are quite ridiculous, the ending is typically contrived, the overall storyline is very implausible and most of the characters are stereotypical.

My Rating – 3.5

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Yeelen (1987)

Yeelen Movie Review

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Yeelen Movie Review

Yeelen is a 1987 Malian historical adventure film directed by Souleymane Cisse. It truly is a very interesting, fascinating film.

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Only a cursed son talks of his parents’ ties

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Yeelen Movie Review

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Yeelen gave me a look at the culture that I hadn’t been acquainted with before and I am grateful for that. It is a great geographical/historical lesson without a doubt. But it is also a strong adventure film above everything else as it a calm and slow, but involving adventure that transports you to its setting and time period so well.

It is set in the 13th century and it follows a young man with magical powers who goes on a quest to search for his uncle who can help him defeat his father who’s a sorcerer. The premise itself makes it sound like a Hollywood fantasy blockbuster, but the execution is exactly the opposite. It is deliberately paced and non-climactic for better and for worse.

Certainly it needed more fantasy elements and a bigger punch plus it is in some segments not as engaging, but I still liked quite a bit its more grounded and realistic approach as that only made its magical ending all the more powerful. Despite being slow, Yeelen is constantly involving and intriguing owing to its strong atmosphere and attention to detail.

Its weakest point is the characterization. The characters are solid but definitely underdeveloped and far from full developed entities. I wanted more scenes with his father, but the mother is memorable and the protagonist is very likable and handsome. The girlfriend is unfortunately disposable. The acting is very strong for amateur actors and actually quite impressive.

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Yeelen Movie Review

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Yeelen is beautifully made. The direction from Souleymane Cisse is superb and both the script and the dialogue are very strong, but I wanted more dialogue for sure. The film acquainted me with its culture so well and although I did not understand everything, most of the magical items and the people’s traditions, rituals and beliefs are so well put to screen.

The score is also quite strong and fitting for its story and time period. And of course the cinematography is one of the strongest aspects of the film as the desert, the various landscapes and water are all wonderfully photographed and captured on camera. The attention to detail is definitely admirable.

Yeelen is deliberately paced for better and for worse and the characterization is not particularly strong. However, the film is a terrific look at Malian culture and history owing to a very interesting, magical storyline, an adventurous tone, excellent direction, fantastic cinematography and a phenomenal attention to detail. Its beginning and ending are particularly memorable.

My Rating – 4

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Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte Movie Review

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Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte Movie Review

Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte is a 1964 psychological thriller horror film directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten and Olivia de Havilland. It’s a superb movie.

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You’re a vile, sorry little bitch!

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Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte Movie Review

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The film is a spiritual successor to ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane’ in plot and characters. Although very similar at first, it is very different in the end with a much more horror infused, menacing approach to it which I loved. Both movies are great, but this one surprised me so much as I did not expect it would be this great and this creepy.

The first half is somewhat slow and the buildup lasts for too long, but the beginning is marvelous as it introduces you to the story in an immediate manner and I was hooked. The murder scene was pretty graphic for its time.

But the second half is simply fantastic. The twist is absolutely spectacular and I actually did not see it coming as the actors are so well cast against type in villainous roles. It truly is one of the best twists of its time. The story suddenly became much more urgent and dangerous in tone and actually very modern as today’s audiences would appreciate it much more than the 1964 audiences.

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Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte Movie Review

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It’s a great story with a bunch of memorable thrills and scares. I would classify it as a psychological thriller, but definitely as a strong horror too because some of the scenes in the third act are very much horrific and pretty scary even today.

So the highlights include the beautiful ending, the way the protagonist got away from the situation, the murder at the stairs which is striking, the plastic head sequence is amazing and unexpected, the imaginary wedding sequence is very creepy and the muddy man scene is very scary and effective. As you can see, the film has a lot of unforgettable scenes which make it a true genre classic and a very underrated one at that.

Bette Davis is very good in the role. Sometimes she overacted, but in the end she gave a very strong performance which isn’t one of her best, but is admirable given that it is one of her last. Agnes Moorehead is the weakest link here as she overacted quite a bit and I do not understand why she of all people in this film got an Oscar nomination. Very underserved.

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Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte Movie Review

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Joseph Cotten is very good here, but Olivia de Havilland entirely steals the show in my opinion, even from Davis. I did not expect her in this role and thus I was surprised and really thrilled to see that she pulled it off beautifully. She created a very menacing, villainous and creepy character and she should have been nominated for her work in the film, not Agnes.

Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte is sometimes overacted and certainly over-the-top, but it’s great because it puts you in the shoes of Charlotte and makes you root for her how terrible she is treated. That made the film thrilling and very effective. I constantly felt danger lurking owing to a fantastic, truly menacing atmosphere that the film creates and a terrific score and sound effects.

The titular song is simply beautiful. When heard singularly, it is a wonderful song. But when heard in the context of the film, it actually becomes quite scary and frankly even disturbing which was the goal of the filmmakers and they should be congratulated for managing to make use of the song so stupendously.

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Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte Movie Review

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The film was nominated for editing, costumes, production design and cinematography. All these nominations are very much deserved as the film looks gorgeous. The house looked magnificent and is so well utilized and explored. The black and white photography is either beautiful or atmospheric here. The direction from Robert Aldrich is also very strong and the film is mostly really well paced and incredibly entertaining to watch. I loved it.

Beautifully shot and scored with a fantastic titular song, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte is somewhat overacted and certainly over-the-top, but an effective, very modern and highly underrated psychological thriller horror flick that’s a classic in my opinion. This spiritual successor to ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’ is slow at first, but later becomes very entertaining and quite unnerving. Bette Davis is very good, but Olivia de Havilland actually steals the show here in an unexpected, truly terrific role. The movie is fueled with a palpable sense of danger and is thus a very unsettling experience. The twist is great plus the film is packed with a high number of simply unforgettable sequences from the ending to the immediately intriguing opening to three striking staircase sequences – each one creepier than the last.

My Rating – 4.5

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