Remember (2015)

Remember Movie Review

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Remember Movie Review

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

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The man he killed was named Kunibert Sturm.

And Zev’s name was Otto Wallisch.

They were the men who… murdered my family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating – 3

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Signs (2002)

Sings Movie Review

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Signs Movie Review

Signs is a 2002 science fiction thriller film directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. It is a polarizing film with a great first half and an annoying second half.

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Everything has a weakness

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Signs Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………….

The film follows a former priest who discovers a series of crop circles in his cornfield and starts to suspect that it is the work of extraterrestrials. Now, the plot itself is pretty good and I liked that it deals with the phenomena of crop circles as that hasn’t really been done before and is perfect for a sci-fi film. I also liked some of its themes and religious overtones. And the film is very engaging, even riveting from time to time.

But the problem here is that it is very uneven. The first half is absolutely magnificent with such a fantastic, creepy atmosphere, some very intense moments and a great build up. Unfortunately, the second half ruined it for me as they never really did anything with this story and the twist at the end is just ridiculous. Why would aliens come to water-rich Earth when the water is acidic to them? That was just stupid and of course that it ruined the movie. But above all that, it was just disappointing for the fact that it became a basic home invasion flick when it could have been much more interesting.

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Signs Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………….

I liked the characters in Signs. Father Graham is pretty good and very well realized. Merrill is also solid and I liked their sibling relationship quite a bit. The kids are fine as well. As for the aliens, I thought that their design is pretty familiar, but their height is different as they are higher than humans here and that is authentic. But overall, their look is clichéd.

The acting is pretty good. I have never been a big fan of Mel Gibson‘s acting as he is a much better director than actor in my opinion, but here he is quite good and this is the best I’ve seen from him thus far. And of course Joaquin Phoenix is pretty good too.

Signs is well directed with it being one of Shyamalan’s few worthy movies. It is also solidly paced and always pretty involving. I liked its serious tone and I liked some of its themes with the dialogue being pretty good. It is also well filmed with the action sequences being very well executed. I also liked its mix of genres with sci-fi elements being wonderfully accompanied by thriller ones. But I wasn’t such a big fan of horror elements here.

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Signs Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………….

The movie has a disappointing ending, but I liked some of its more complex themes and the flashback in which we learn what happened to the protagonist’s wife is very well done. The score and the sound effects are also solid. Signs works wonderfully as a suspense film because the first half is wonderfully intense and creepy. Some of the scenes there are so atmospheric that I just loved them. And the fact that the movie did not use all of that build up to create a great ending is just unfortunate as it could have led to a great film. But this way, we are left with the film that is just solid. It has a great first part and a disappointing second one. But it is still a solid work, especially for this director and I overall found the experience to be satisfying.

Signs is a polarizing experience. Its first half is absolutely magnificent with a great premise, superb cinematography and just fantastic atmosphere with many intense and creepy moments, but the second half ruined it for me as it never used that great build up to its fullest extent, leaving us with a disappointing ending with an annoying home invasion approach and a ridiculous twist.

My Rating – 3.5

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All the President’s Men (1976)

All the President's Men Review

All the President’s Men Movie Review

All the President’s Men is a 1976 political thriller film directed by Alan J. Pakula and starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. It is considered to be a classic, but to me it is very overrated.

It follows the two journalists investigating the Watergate scandal. This movie doesn’t work in my opinion because it just never made me interested in its story. It is only for the people interested in politics and because I am not one of those people, I found the film to be incredibly boring. And even worse than its dull approach has to be its tendency to assume that the audience already knows a lot about this scandal. I did not know and it was very difficult to follow because the movie never took the time to explain anything.

The characters are also very boring and underdeveloped with the two journalists being okay and their relationship is solid, but even those two are dull and weakly realized. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are solid, but because the roles themselves are weak, neither of the actors manages to become memorable.

All the President’s Men is well filmed, solidly directed and well shot with some really good moments well executed. However, this is not a thriller, it just isn’t. And I am really baffled at why people classify it as such because this is a drama from beginning to end. It has a couple of atmospheric scenes, but nothing thrilling or intense ever happens here. The dialogue is also annoying because, as I said, it assumes that you already know everything about it in advance which is so wrong on so many levels. It is also too long and dreadfully boring.

All the President’s Men is an okay movie, certainly not bad, but definitely far from great. It is important to see and has its moments, but is mostly a dull, annoying experience and such an overrated movie that did not deserve any of its Oscar nominations and not to mention that it doesn’t deserve its classic status that it has today. Such a disappointing film.

All the President’s Men is an immense disappointment. It has its moments, it is well filmed and well acted, but it is also incredibly boring from beginning to end, it is difficult to follow because it assumes that you already know this story and it is never a thriller because it never has anything intense or exciting in it whatsoever. It is such an overrated film.

My Rating – 3

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Sicario (2015)

Sicario

Sicario Review

Sicario is a 2015 crime thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin. It is such a weak, overrated movie.

The plot is one of the reasons why it fails in my opinion. Everything about it is either familiar or completely underdeveloped. All of the conflicts and the action was typical and pretty boring. The movie is also very slow to the point of being boring. And it never help my attention particularly well.

But the characterization is so problematic. Each and every character here is underdeveloped and unlikable with the main character being so badly realized. You never really feel like you met here as she is so undefined. And her goals and actions are also troublesome. The movie is at times even sexist as it handles her character rather poorly. She is never a strong, capable woman she was supposed to be. I never got that here and that is disappointing because she is the center of the entire flick.

The acting is certainly good. Josh Brolin did a good job and Benicio del Toro is also good. Emily Blunt is really good and even though her role is weak, she is good in it as she always is. Sicario is a technically solid work and the cinematography in particular is its biggest strength with many memorable and unique shots. The film is very well shot and mostly well edited and acted.

But the directing is not that good and Denis Villeneuve continues to be a weak director. I don’t get the appeal of his movies whatsoever. But Sicario still benefits from some solid score, great cinematography and some memorable imagery. And the script has its strengths and interesting points to it, but it is unfortunate that they never did anything with it. It had a lot of evident potential to be a good film, but ended up being not only boring, but also forgettable and familiar. There isn’t anything unique about it and it is undoubtedly one of the most overrated movies of the year.

Sicario is one of the most overrated movies of the year with some very good cinematography, solid score and good acting, but the plot is quite typical, the characters are so undefined and the whole film is not only quite boring, but also extremely forgettable and there isn’t anything unique, interesting or sophisticated about it whatsoever.

My Rating – 3

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The Gift (2015)

The Gift

The Gift Review Review

The Gift is a 2015 thriller film directed by Joel Edgerton and starring himself and Jason Bateman. It is a flawed, albeit very intriguing thriller.

The couple is intimidated by a husband’s schoolmate. He did something to him which destroyed his whole life and now he is up for revenge. I really liked this story because it is not usual the thriller stuff, but is instead very clever with a thought-provoking subject matter. And even though it wasn’t as explored as I wanted it to have been due to genre limitations, I still liked those questions of whether a teenage bully remains a bully decades later and if teenage cruelty is truly justified. I really liked that aspect, but above all I loved its slow tension and the first half in particular is really good because it is intense, but realistically so.

But The Gift does have its major flaws. One is that their agreeing to meet this guy for so many times is somewhat unrealistic as that would never happen in real life in my opinion. But the ending ruined it for me. It is not only too unpleasant, but it is just unnecessary and really disappointing. It ended in a typical thriller fashion and although the movie strayed from that approach for the most time earlier, it ended in such a stupid and highly exaggerated thriller manner that I really disliked. I would have liked the more realistic and heartbreaking approach where Gordo never does anything truly despicable, but they ruined it and that is why this movie had a lot of potential for greatness, but unfortunately fell apart.

Simon is such a well realized and such an unlikable character. Gordo is quite menacing and Robyn was at first a typical weak female character, then she changed to a more well developed person and then she still ended up being weak. Such a problematic character. But the relationship between Simon and Gordo and that exploration of their characters is really well done and I liked the mystery element here quite a bit as well.

The acting is definitely good, but still lacking as none of these actors did anything truly remarkable in their roles. Rebecca Hall is good and so is Joel Edgerton, but Jason Bateman, although certainly fine, is still disappointing as he did not bring it enough for me as his role is the most important one here.

The Gift is very well made and solidly directed by Joel Edgerton. The screenplay does work for the most part and is quite an authentic one for this genre. The dialogue I also found to be quite good and realistic. The emotion is there and the film is very smart, despite its disappointing conclusion. The story is so sophisticated and so intriguing that it is the best reason to see this film. I loved its approach with slow tension and that tension is very well executed. The film is also really well paced and its running time is just right for this material. It is a memorable and unpredictable movie that also has some pretty good character development. The score is disappointing and sometimes annoying plus the movie has overly dark photography. But overall, The Gift is quite a good film and although it somewhat disappointed me, it is still a very original and interesting experience.

The Gift is disappointing because of its very weak ending, but it is for the most part a very interesting and original thriller with a thought-provoking and intriguing premise, good characterization, great slow tension and mostly realistic approach. It is flawed, but mostly smart and engaging.

My Rating – 4

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Suspicion (1941)

Suspicion

Suspicion Review

Suspicion is a 1941 romantic thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant. While not one of his best films, this is still such a great and very well crafted picture.

A woman marries a charming playboy, but quickly learns that he has no money and is a liar and a gambler. She eventually starts suspecting that he is a murdered and that he wants to kill her. Storywise, the film works wonderfully as all the acts are superb. And yes, I loved that ending. I don’t understand why everyone hates it, including the director himself, but I surely did not mind it at all and I even loved it as it was tonally consistent to the rest of the picture that came before it and it is also, without spoiling anything, really satisfying on an emotional level and I found it to be realistic. It is also such a great twist that, although not as shocking, is still well executed.

But it also starts well and is instantly intriguing and the middle parts are naturally the finest. I loved this film for various reasons. The major reason why I loved it so much is also the most unexpected one and that is its humor. Yes, this just might be the funniest Hitchcock film there is and that was so surprising to me. It really does feel like a screwball comedy in most of its first half. And that is great and the tone was mostly well handled and isn’t jarring when it shifts to suspense. But the suspense also works and there are a couple of really intense moments to be had here, moments executed in a typical Hitchockian style which is visually impeccable and instantly memorable.

The characters are excellent. Lina is a good protagonist, but too good-hearted in my opinion. But Johnnie is great and such a realistically depicted person. The relationship between the two is also very well established. I also liked Isobel’s role in the story and Beaky was so incredibly endearing and such a likable person. The relationship between the two friends is fantastic and produces many great laughs.

The acting is fabulous. Cary Grant, some say, is hard to buy in these types of roles, but I strongly disagree as I find his talent to be immense and he can play both light and dark roles. He gave a great performance with an expected dose of charisma and humor. Nigel Bruce is also very good as is everyone else here, but this is of course a great vehicle for Joan Fontaine who is amazing in this role. She was believable in both dramatic, intense scenes and the more emotional ones and I have to say that she deserved her Oscar. Yes, that was the year in which Bette Davis gave a powerhouse performance in ‘The Little Foxes, but this is also a spectacular performance and she is excellent from beginning to end and impressed me quite a bit.

There are a couple of minor flaws here. The movie is never as memorable or as intense as some of the other works from the director. It is also far from his best work and ‘Notorious’ remains his best effort from the forties. Some of the parts are also a bit too theatrical and the movie may seem uneventful to some, but it was to me incredibly entertaining and involving and those flaws are all small and do not impact the movie much.

Suspicion looks wonderful. The cinematography is just gorgeous with a couple of really unforgettable scenes executed with such great care and attention to detail which is a trademark aspect of the director’s works. The imagery during the car driving scenes and those moments in the bedroom is so atmospheric and those are my favorite scenes here. The score is good and the tone is well handled. I liked how they presented marriage and the clash between these two persons is really well realized. The characters are also realistic and the whole movie is like that. The dialogue is excellent, the emotion is evident and some scenes are really dramatic and warm.

But the humor in Suspicion is absolutely terrific. I adored it!  The exchange of dialogue is quick and brisk, but always clever and funny. The characters and their conversations can be so funny that the film reminded me of screwball comedies at times and I would even classify the first half in that genre without a doubt. Cary Grant in particular is fantastic in his role and so comedic. He made me laugh the most and I couldn’t believe that I was laughing watching an Alfred Hitchock film. But that did happen and it is not only funny, but always charming and sophisticated. Suspicion may not be near the top of the director’s list of works, but it surely is one of his better films. It did not disappoint me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Suspicion isn’t one of Hitchcock’s best films, but it surely is one of his better ones as the dialogue is superb, the acting is great with Joan Fontaine delivering a fantastic performance and the movie is filled with the director’s trademark great atmosphere and memorable imagery. But it is, most importantly, incredibly funny and charming which surprised me and it is always well crafted, well directed, really well acted and immensely engaging.

My Rating – 4.5

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      Interior & Exterior Stills from Suspicion

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Run Lola Run (1998)

Run Lola Run

Run Lola Run Review

Run Lola Run is a 1998 German thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Franka Potente and Moritz Bleibtreu. It is regarded as a modern classic of German cinema and it is a very good and authentic movie.

It follows a woman who needs to obtain 100,000 Deutsche Mark in twenty minutes in order to save her boyfriend’s life. That is a very basic and even too simplistic premise, but the cleverness of this movies lies in its approach and execution, not in the premise. It tells its story in real time and lasts for twenty minutes. However, that scenario is then repeated two more times, but with different outcomes. And that is such a unique and genius concept that is just phenomenally original and powerful to follow. You get that scenario repeated twice and thus it shows you how small details and little consequences can change someone’s life to a large degree and that is why I found the movie to be so smart and so riveting to watch. It is a perfect example of an original execution of a simple premise and it wonderfully revitalized the thriller genre.

The characters are good and even excellent for the genre, but still lacking. Both characters of Lola and Manni are very well realized and are so grounded and their relationship drives the movie. But even those two aren’t that well developed and the rest of the characters are not particularly well used. But I did like the approach of telling us the stories and lives of different characters she passes by on the street while running. It is achieved by a flash of photographs and that is such an authentic storytelling device and I wished that there was more of that in the end product.

Run Lola Run is phenomenally directed by Tom Tykwer and Mathilde Bonnefoy in particular did a stupendous job in the editing department as the movie is just perfectly edited with a fast pace that is thrilling rather than tiring and it is just always wonderfully energetic and riveting with very smooth transitions between the repeated scenarios. It also is really well shot with some excellent action sequences and the running of the main character never gets boring despite being repeated twice. The film is extremely smart and it is touching, but I wanted more emotional resonance as the script needed it. It has some memorable imagery, the dialogue is good. The characters do yell too much, but are still realistically depicted. And this is one of the most original and interesting films of the nineties without a doubt.

The only significant issue I’ve had with the film is definitely its score which is just so annoying. I get its appeal to some, but I strongly dislike violent music like that and although it does fit the genre and is intense, I wished for some more sophisticated and more pleasant intense music and that would have helped the movie a lot.

But the acting is simply fantastic. Moritz Bleibtreu did a really good job in his role, but it is Franka Potente who is absolutely phenomenal. She gave a wonderful performance in a difficult role and she stole every scene she was in and she executed both the action and the more emotional and dramatic sequences rather well. The whole movie is so professional, both in its storytelling department and visually, but especially in its directing, acting and editing. I just wanted more on the emotional and character side and I wanted better music. If it had that, it would have been a classic, but it just ended up being a really good movie with a lost potential for greatness.

Run Lola Run truly is an authentic movie. It has absolutely amazing storytelling which is so creative and unique, it wonderfully executes a simple premise with an original approach, but it is the best in its directing, acting and especially editing as it is so beautifully fast paced and just riveting and always fascinating to follow. It has its flaws mainly in its character development which should have been better, the emotional resonance which should have been bigger and the score which is annoying, but it is above all an authentic take on the thriller genre with a style to spare and it is one of the most unique movies of the nineties.

My Rating – 4

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      Interior & Exterior Stills from Run Lola Run

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WarGames (1983)

WarGames

WarGames Review

WarGames is a 1983 sci-fi thriller film directed by John Badham and starring young Matthew Broderick. It is one of the more well crafted blockbusters of the decade.

It follows a young hacker who accidentally accesses a US military supercomputer and must prevent the start of the nuclear war. This story is of course hugely entertaining and simply fun from beginning to end. Yes, it is childish, but it is more childlike than childish to be exact and it is just fun to watch and very likable. There is only one big problem I’ve had with the plot and overall film and that is that it’s way too predictable with many plot points being incredibly easy to predict. And its happy ending, although sweet and even clever, is still too triumphant in a typical blockbuster manner.

The characters here are really good. David is an archetype, but he’s never a bother. Jennifer is really fun and likable and all of the military men were somewhat memorable and some even funny. Dr. Falken is also a good character but the one which should have been more fascinating because he was obviously written to be so. Overall the characters are not too remarkable, but solid for blockbuster expectations.

The acting is really good. Matthew Broderick is stupendous in his early role and Ally Sheedy was really sympathetic. And as for the adults, all did a great job with Dabney Coleman being the best.

It is technically a pretty good movie. It is quite well directed and of course well acted. The script is really good and I liked its sophistication near the end and its great message. The pacing is excellent with never a boring or too extended scene and although the movie lasts a bit too long, it is still a memorable and fun experience. I liked its dialogue as well and the whole mix of genres is terrific. The science fiction elements are great and the thriller elements are also good, but the best are weirdly enough the teen elements thanks to excellent pairing of the two.

The story is overall really memorable and so entertaining. I liked its incorporation of video games and it was to me especially interesting watching this movie after reading so much about it in ‘Ready Player One‘. The attention to detail is great and the score is also well done. It is predictable, but never too lazy or too childish. I liked that there wasn’t much action in WarGames and that I highly appreciate in blockbusters. The movie is also admittedly quite original and imaginative and it uses its premise and setting wonderfully. I also liked the humor very much. It was present only from time to time, but was really well done. And it is definitely worthy of its excellent critical reception as it is in my opinion one of the rare blockbusters from the eighties that are not only good, but likable and clever as well. And also exquisitely well crafted.

WarGames is such a well crafted and endlessly entertaining movie filled good acting, nice characters, entertaining story and excellent incorporation of different genres ranging from teen to sci-fi to thriller. It is also a smart and very well scripted film with fine dialogue, good message and excellent pacing. It is too predictable at times, but it is wonderfully childlike and hugely entertaining nonetheless and is one of the best blockbusters of the eighties for sure.

My Rating – 4.5

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      Interior & Exterior Stills from WarGames

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Everest (2015)

Everest

Everest Review

Everest is a 2015 disaster drama thriller film directed by Baltasar Kormakur and having the great cast consisting of Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley and Jake Gyllenhaal. It is a really good film and a nice tribute to the real-life people that paid their lives here.

The film is based on a true story which means that it is also a biopic along with being an adventure, thriller and disaster drama. That genre mix does not work particularly well here with the dramatic elements lacking and the thrilling sequences are few and far between. The thrilling moments are there and once there are pretty good, but I expected it to be a lot more intense than it was. It works the best as an adventure as the technical aspects are absolutely gorgeous, but more on that later.

As for the dramatic and biopic parts, it does a good job, but could have been better nonetheless. It is about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. It follows two expedition groups and their later survival struggles when the storm hits. Now, the movie is way too melodramatic for my taste. Some sequences tend to just go into maudlin territory with too much emotional intensity, too much crying and drama. However, on the other hand, this tragedy really happened so I cannot be too hard on the filmmakers for wanting to have a more emotional approach. Also, the ending is absolutely magnificent and simply beautiful. Showing the pictures of real people and then their families and children made sense, it was a nice touch and a wonderful tribute for them and their families, but above all the emotion at the end was really earned because the relationships before were properly explored and accentuated. And the whole ending with the last shot of the picture of the main character’s child is just so moving and heartbreaking. And I also adore the ending because I realized what a terrific job the casting director mostly did here as most of the actors look like the people they play which was a great touch.

The characters are okay, but just the ones that are explored. Rob Hall is excellent as the protagonist and the moments with his wife are moving. Scott Fischer I also found to be good and an interesting character whereas Beck, while annoying, is nicely realized as well. The female characters are pretty annoying with their overly dramatic attitude with Helen being the most notorious at that. But Yasuko is great and her moment on the top of the mountain is easily one of the finest and most memorable moments in the movie. But Doug is of course the finest character here as he is the only one to give a proper explanation for why he is doing this which is great for his character but is eventually a shame as none of the others get that treatment unfortunately. And I expected more on the intellectual side of things.

The acting is superb. Jason Clarke once again is stupendous and surprised me how good he is whereas Josh Brolin is also excellent and of course Jake Gyllenhaal is always great and this is no exception. Emily Watson did an okay job in an annoying role, Sam Worthington is surprisingly good as well and Keira Knightley is also quite good although not particularly fitting for the role. But all of the others do fit as I mentioned before and this is an excellent cast and all of the actors and actresses are fine across the board.

Now, this is a weirdly and badly edited film. It achieves the impossible task for a disaster film and that is being more interesting in the first than in the second half and that is because the second half tends to have too many overly manipulative and melodramatic moments and it just drags at times whereas the first half never drags and is genuinely better executed.  But Everest has not only a great conclusion, but also some incredible sequences that are triumphant but also moving and memorable. Speaking of triumphant, it is interesting that they never went for that approach which I appreciated as this mission and the people that go there should know that it just does not mean much and is too much danger to begin with. And they explored how dangerous it is and they showed it with stunning cinematography and arresting scenery. Yes, Everest is technically marvelous and is best to be seen in the theatres for its wide scope and just breathtaking imagery and some great camera movements. The score is also quite solid as is the dialogue and the acting. The directing is okay, but could have been better and the pacing is troublesome once again. But it is realistic, it is moving and it is important to see and the movie works quite good as a biopic, but not so much on other grounds. And while emotional, and too emotional at times, Everest is rarely smart and thought-provoking which is the reason why is fails on the intellectual side and why it disappointed me nonetheless.

Everest is a pretty good film that although too melodramatic at times, is still moving at the end with a perfect conclusion, it is visually stunning with arresting cinematography and scenery, it has a great cast with every actor and actress delivering a good performance and it is overall a nice tribute for the people who gave their lives in this disaster. It works well as a biopic and as an adventure, but not so much as a drama and thriller because it doesn’t have enough intense moments, it eventually goes into maudlin territory and it is not particularly smart and doesn’t delve deeper into the psychology of the characters. It is a really good film, but I expected more from it nevertheless.

My Rating – 4

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The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects Movie Review

The Usual Suspects is a 1995 famous crime thriller directed by Bryan Singer and starring Kevin Spacey. It is one of the most popular thriller films with one of the most memorable twist endings and villains in film history. And besides all those distinctions, it really is a great film.

It follows the interrogation of a cripple con man who is the only survivor of a ship massacre. And the less I say, the better as the movie should not be spoiled to anyone. It is such a riveting and above all intriguing and incredibly well crafted story that unfolds in the most atypical fashion possible. And that is its strongest achievement. It is one of those rare films that uses a different structure of a plot and a very different execution. It tells a story in a very different and unusual way. But unlike the films such as ‘Memento‘, it succeeds in that approach entirely and is used as a genuine plot device rather than a gimmick. The story here is incredibly well imagined and so memorable and smart.

Now, for its twist ending. It is for me the biggest weakness and the biggest strength the film has. First off, it entirely relies upon it. And secondly, I am one of the people who actually got it from early on. I genuinely predicted the outcome from the movie’s early stages and because that twist is the movie’s highlight and most important thing story wise, that is why it kind of disappointed me as I was not genuinely surprised. And that is the only flaw I have with this film along with its unimpressive and somewhat dragged first act.

But what a twist ending it is! Without spoiling anything, there is more to it as well and it should prove genuinely shocking and unexpected to most people. It also seems like a real plot progression or should I say conclusion unlike most twist endings that are just used for the shock value. The movie unfolds and ends in a most impressive and most satisfying way that I couldn’t imagine any other ending. The finale alone is so incredibly powerful and instantly recognizable.

Now, the characters. Dean Keaton has a great story act. Agent Kujan is a very grounded character and a great counteract to Kint. But apart from them, the other characters are not as memorable or as interesting which was a small problem to me. But The Usual Suspects still has one of the best and most awesome villains ever portrayed in a film. He is genuinely frightening, poses real threat and is phenomenally depicted. But it is the other characters’ stories about him and their reactions to his presence that lend to the movie’s dramatic and even horrific feel with some genuinely unnerving moments. The villain is definitely the biggest reason why this movie works so well.

The acting is absolutely superb. Kevin Spacey is of course just amazing and he has such a strong screen presence and gives such a powerful and impressive performance in a very difficult role. Chazz Palminteri is also terrific and Gabriel Byrne did a good job as well. None of the actors here disappoints. The direction from Bryan Singer is excellent and this is his first phenomenal movie and the one that showed off his talents the most. The cinematography is wonderful but it is the deft editing that is its strongest technicality. The score is also really good and tense at times as is the whole movie. The Usual Suspects is not only clever and incredibly sophisticated and well crafted on each and every level, but it is also so realistic and oh so intense and powerful. It is also immensely authentic and memorable, it’s filled with evident originality and excellent dialogue. It is also a perfect mix of thriller and crime with a distinct noir feel to it which is a nice touch.

The film received two Academy Awards, one for Original Screenplay and one for Best Actor for Spacey. Both are so deserved that I couldn’t see any other film taking those awards. But it’s a shame that it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture and that is just an endless testament to the Academy’s obvious clueless abilities in determining the best film of the year. It is not only one of the best films of the nineties but also one of the finest thrillers ever made.

With deft editing, incredibly sophisticated and engaging script, wonderful performances all around and filled with many intense and so memorable moments, The Usual Suspects truly is one of the best thrillers of all time and although I predicted the outcome from early on and that lessened the impact of the twist ending for me, it is still an incredible twist and the movie has one of the most powerful villains of all time. It is instantly recognizable with an authentic plot structure that is used as a genuine plot tool rather than a gimmick, but it is above all a riveting and sometimes even frightening thriller that deserves its iconic status without a doubt.

+ Deft editing and excellent direction and acting.
+ Sophisticated and riveting script.
+ One of the best villains of all time.
+ It has many intense and even scary moments.
+ One of the best endings of all time with a powerful twist.
 
– I predicted the twist and it relies too much on it.
– The beginning is less impressive.
For:
– Pure thriller fans.
– Kevin Spacey fans who gives one of his best performances.
– Crime fans.
Not for:
– Those who don’t follow the movies carefully as it demands your utmost dedication.

My Rating – 4.5

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