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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Platoon (1986)

Platoon Movie Review

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Platoon Movie Review

Platoon is a 1986 Vietnam war film directed by Oliver Stone. The movie is one of the most famous of the type and it got Best Picture.

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Excuses are like assholes, Taylor, everybody got one

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Platoon Movie Review

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It follows one platoon in the Vietnam war and as the story, it is very weak. The film is obsessed with action, there is action sequence after action sequence and it quickly gets annoying. It should have gone into some war themes instead of that.

Also the realism of the film in terms of violence is excellent because it shows the truth, but is nonetheless very appalling and impossible to watch at times. And as for the characters, they are so-so and pretty underdeveloped and it definitely is a flaw. The film should have had good characterization and some themes and dialogue in order to be successful.

The scenes with all the characters just relaxing and having fun, while too long and even serving as a detour, are the highlight here bringing some necessary character development and heart which the rest of the film fails to bring. And one thing I noticed is how both whites and blacks get along well and the scenes with them hugging not only show the friendship but also serve as a powerful message against racism which is subtle and that is great. Hollywood should take notes from this film and they should make more films like this, just showing the races interacting together in a positive manner instead of making biographical and historical films about racism. This is way more powerful, subtle and professional. That is the biggest praise I can give to this movie.

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Platoon Movie Review

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As for the acting, it is solid, but nothing quite remarkable as is the direction. The editing is okay as is the cinematography, but nothing from the technical aspects screams excellent and nothing stands out which is problematic.

It got Best Picture but it did not deserve it because as this type of film goes, ‘The Deer Hunter’ and ‘Full Metal Jacket’ are a lot better films that are superior in almost everything.

Platoon has some nice character interactions and it is realistic and grounded in its approach, but it lacks character development, it lacks any plot and themes and message whatsoever, it is not that well made and it is all around a very disappointing, overrated and lackluster films that is also immensely inferior to some other great Vietnam war movies.

My Rating – 3

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American Sniper (2014)

American Sniper Movie Review

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American Sniper Movie Review

American Sniper is a 2014 biographical war film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper in the title role. The film was nominated for Best Picture and it is another one of those political, propaganda American films that are so overrated and unwatchable even.

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I need you… to be human again. I need you here

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American Sniper Movie Review

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The story follows Chris Kyle played by Cooper who is a sniper in the Iraq war and everything about the plot feels overly familiar and rehashed thousands and thousands of times. The story is also incredibly boring and not only overly patriotic and of course a propaganda piece, but it can literally make you fall asleep how boring and incredibly uninspired it is.

The characters are, along with the plot, forgettable. All of them are underdeveloped and pretty bland and typical. As for the acting, it is nothing to write home about and Cooper’s performance, while good, is very overrated to say the least. I do not see a point in nominating him three years in a row which is exactly what the Academy did in the period from 2012 to 2014 where in reality, all those three performances from this film, ‘American Hustle’ and ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ are not that worthy of any nominations and especially awards. He is definitely a good actor, but not one of the greatest, that’s for sure.

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American Sniper Movie Review

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The direction here is also pretty uninspired as are the technical aspects. The editing is of course problematic because the movie lasts for too long and the movie never showcases any excitement, entertainment factor or originality and professionalism to it which is why I do not understand the praise it got. Well, I guess I do understand because Eastwood made it and Cooper is in it and it is patriotic so of course Americans were going to see it in droves regardless of its quality which just goes to show what an incredibly and even to the point of a sickness that nation’s patriotism level is. It really is disturbing.

American Sniper has a boring story that is uninspired and typical, forgettable characters and bland technical aspects, but it is also incredibly patriotic, way too tedious and clichéd and of course overrated in the worst way possible leading to a film that did not deserve any of its nominations and that is one of the most overrated films of the entire year.

My Rating – 2

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Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman Movie Review

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman is a 2017 superhero film directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. It is such a good, unexpectedly competent movie.

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I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

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This movie is so good because it succeeds in various areas. It has a good backstory and fun action and thus succeeding as a pretty remarkable superhero flick which is wonderfully old-fashioned and traditional which I adored. It also surprisingly enough succeeds as an exceptionally strong romance film as the relationship between these two is simply fantastic. And in my opinion it is a pretty competent World War I picture in its own right. So you have three movies in here and all are very good.

Diana Prince is simply great. I finally realized why so many people love this character as this movie showcases that brilliantly. She succeeds in large part thanks to Gal Gadot whose performance, although far from great, is actually pretty solid for an amateur actress. But her charm and evident charisma carries this entire movie through and she is so wonderful and with such an infectious smile. I loved her here, but the character development is superb for her. She learns throughout the movie the true nature of humans and how complex they are and thus becomes much more mature instead of idealistic and naive which she was before.

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

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Chris Pine is excellent, though obviously typecast, as Steve Trevor and is very funny and energetic in the role. Their romance develops naturally, it is sweet and playful and his eventual death is impactful and proves to be essential for her winning the battle against Ares. The power of love is here repeated in a similar fashion from Harry Potter, but it still works.

Robin Wright’s Antiope is tough and memorable, Doctor Poison is also pretty interesting and of the comic reliefs, all of them are typical, but solid nonetheless. I honestly thought that Ares was a solid villain in that old-fashioned sense and he was pretty competent and tough to beat which was great. But I do think that her realization that there was no Ares and that humans are responsible for the war was so fantastic that the movie would have been better had it stayed in that more realistic and character-driven territory. But that realization sequence still remains the best of the entire movie.

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

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So Wonder Woman is very well acted and superbly directed by Patty Jenkins who deserves everything she gets after this movie. Her direction is the reason why it is so good as she took the cues from previous superhero movies of the last century such as ‘Superman’ and made the movie feel old-fashioned, yet modern at its core.

Another problem besides the last bombastic act is the action. It would have been terrific had it not been for the extensive use of slow-motion which really got on my nerves. I guess some of it was cool, but it became overly abundant and annoying quickly and the action is otherwise so well executed that the choice to slow it down and make it “cool” hurt it in the long run.

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

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The score is absolutely amazing and her theme is brilliant. I thought the humor was excellent and the film made me laugh quite a number of times. I loved some of its hilarious lines and the playful, more innocent tone made it a winner in my book as most superhero films today are way too dark and serious. Its anti-war message is very strong, it makes use of a less popular war superbly and I just loved how emotional, human and ultimately powerful it was. It truly is the only worthy DCEU flick thus far that can for sure rival the best of the MCU.

Wonder Woman has more than a typical bombastic ending and the extensive use of annoying slow-motion really hurt the action in the long run, but other than that, this is such a great, stupendous superhero flick which I adored and which was hugely entertaining. Its playful, comedic tone is refreshing, it has a wonderfully old-fashioned approach to the genre, it is emotional and with a very strong anti-war statement, the music is simply fantastic with her theme being instantly recognizable, Gal Gadot is so charismatic and wonderful in the role and the movie succeeds as a superhero, World War I and even a strong romance film.

My Rating – 4

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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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Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

Ivan's Childhood Movie Review

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Ivan’s Childhood Movie Review

Ivan’s Childhood is a 1962 Russian war drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a very good directorial debut for Tarkovsky.

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If a well is really deep,

you can see a star down there

even in the middle of a sunny day

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Ivan's Childhood Movie Review

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The story isn’t particularly original as contrasting the innocence of childhood with the horrors of war has been done before. ‘Forbidden Games’ has already done that exactly a decade ago from this film. But why this film is better than the aforementioned French film lies in its approach and execution which is as good as it could have been.

The story is well told, the film is dramatic and also quite atmospheric at times. The ending is striking and quite tragic and the use of flashbacks is put to some pretty good use here and isn’t as annoying as usual as I dislike that approach for the most part. But here that structure is solidly organized and the film flows really well apart from a couple of more boring sequences.

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Ivan's Childhood Movie Review

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Where the film fails is in the titular protagonist. Ivan is an unlikable brat, at least that’s how I saw him. If he was more likable, his eventual death would have been much more tragic to me. And all of the other characters aren’t all that well developed expect for Galtsev who is solid. But Masha’s role isn’t clear here. Maybe he wanted to portray how difficult it must have been for women in the army back then, but that entire sequence with her in the woods was well realized and interesting, but not that important in the context of the overall story.

But the acting is very good and everyone did a really nice job in their roles. Nikolai Burlyaev did such a good job at such a young age, he delivered a very strong performance in a pretty demanding role. As for Tarkovsky himself, this is one competent debut, there is no denying that. What I liked about Ivan’s Childhood is that it is less pretentious and artistic than his later films and that was good. It is much more straightforward and engaging than usual for the director.

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Ivan's Childhood Movie Review

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Ivan’s Childhood’s biggest strength has to be the cinematography which is amazing. The film is so beautifully shot that it is one of the finest looking black and white films of the sixties for sure. The sets are intriguing and well utilized and the black and white photography is stark and artistic. Some of the imagery such as the woods and especially the boat sequence near the end were striking and unforgettable. The camera movements and shots here are so polished. So the film is mostly style over substance, but it has a well told story and some great dramatic sequences so it succeeds as a pretty good debut for Tarkovsky.

Ivan’s Childhood has a couple of unnecessary sequences and the titular protagonist isn’t as likable as he should have been, but this is a very good debut for Tarkovsky as Nikolai Burlyaev delivered a very strong performance, the story is well told and pleasantly straightforward and the film is so beautifully shot with some striking imagery and its exquisite visual quality is surely its standout aspect.

My Rating – 4

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War and Peace (1966)

War and Peace Movie Review………………………………………………………..

War and Peace Movie Review

War and Peace is a 1966 Soviet war drama film directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. It truly is an epic, but also wildly uneven work.

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Uncertainty, that’s what one fears most

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War and Peace Movie Review………………………………………………………..

It is based on one of the most famous and acclaimed novels ever written and it succeeds as a pretty admirable adaptation of it. It is famous for being the Soviet movie with the biggest budget and that money definitely paid off as the movie is gorgeous to behold. The cinematography in particular is phenomenal and every shot is great and some are even stunning. The camera movements are polished and the imagery, of the battles in particular, is frequently impressive.

I also loved that it was both a war picture and a costume drama. The costumes are exquisite and I found the interiors to be terrific. The dance sequences were some of my favourites here. I also really liked the score and the film is all around technically impressive and ambitious in scope and certainly epic in its tone.

But where War and Peace struggles is in its storytelling and characterization which is why it is definitely a respectable, but still somewhat forgettable and uneven work. Because it is divided in four parts and because of its staggering running time of seven hours, it is naturally uneven, weakly paced and edited. Some segments are better than the others.

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War and Peace Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Andrei Bolkonsky is the first and best part for sure and all of the others failed in comparison to it. Natasha Rostova was just overly melodramatic in my opinion. The entire movie suffered from many typical plot points and plot progressions and an overall feeling that it is at its core a style over substance. The characters are also unimpressive. Some are very well developed, but none of them left a bigger impression on me and I have to say that all of them are immensely forgettable, at least to me personally. It received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and although not particularly deserved, it is still one of the better films to win that award during the sixties.

War and Peace is a pretty good film that is style over substance and naturally wildly uneven both in pacing and in storytelling, but it is epic in tone and scope, visually arresting and filled with great imagery, well scored and mostly such an admirable war and period piece that it managed to transcend its many obvious flaws.

My Rating – 4

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The Shop on Main Street (1965)

The Shop on Main Street Movie Reeview…………………………………………………….

The Shop on Main Street Movie Review

The Shop on Main Street is a 1965 Czechoslovak war drama film directed by Elmar Klos and starring Ida Kaminska and Jozef Kroner. It is such a good Oscar winning film.

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I’m your Aryan and you’re my Jewess… understand?

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The Shop on Main Street Movie Review…………………………………………………….

It is about the Aryanization program during World War Ii in Slovakia. The plot is in my opinion very strong, but not as well told. Let me explain. It has way too many characters and a clear lack of focus as it shifts from one supporting character to the other and only around the half of the movie starts the real story and the most important one.

I really liked the scenes between the protagonist and his wife, but of course the major strength of the film lies in its third act where he is conflicted whether or not to hide or expose an old Jew lady to the authorities because he would otherwise be proclaimed a Jew-lover. Those last moments were so dramatic, so difficult to watch and heartbreaking that they stay with you after you’ve seen it.

The Shop on Main Street is of course stupendously well acted. It was nice seeing that Ida Kaminska was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards for a Slovak film as that would never happen these days. And she deserved it as she was magnificent here. But Jozef Kroner is very good as well in a very difficult main role. I liked his character a lot as he was sympathetic and I liked his wife, some of the scenes between the two were very charming. But other characters are all forgettable and not well used in the story unfortunately.

The Shop on Main Street is very well directed and very well scored. The score is repetitive, but definitely memorable. Some of the shots are marvelous and I really liked the fantastical sequences too. Those were quite memorable with their white coloring. The same goes for the romantic scenes which are wonderful.

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The Shop on Main Street Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The editing is not good as some scenes are prolonged and the film doesn’t run smoothly. But even though it could have been much better executed as a whole, it is still a very good, respectable film that deserved its Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for sure. It is also one of the better films of a very weak year for film.

The Shop on Main Street isn’t well paced and it lacks focus as there are too many characters and subplots in it, but the film is otherwise very strong not only in score which is good, acting which is terrific and cinematography which is quite polished, but also in its main characters, some very charming scenes and the third act which is very dramatic, unforgettable and quite heartbreaking leading to one of the better war dramas.

My Rating – 4

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Rogue One (2016)

Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

Rogue One Movie Review

Rogue One is a 2016 science fiction action film directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Donnie Yen among others. It is the first film in the Star Wars anthology series and is overall very disappointing.

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I’m one with the Force, and the Force is with me.

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Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

It follows Jyn Erso, the daughter of a man who designed the Death Star, and her quest to retrieve his plans for destroying it. Now, the story itself is the problem here as it is overly simplistic and of course it demanded so much action which we unfortunately got in abundance. The story is not only overly simplistic, but sometimes even quite weakly crafted and not to mention very slim as a whole. The action comes first in this movie and that was a big disappointment.

Now I really liked the first half of Rogue One. Actually, I loved it and I’ve had such a fun time watching it. It was not only entertaining, but also very well made, sometimes even funny and genuinely adventurous and involving. But that all changed in the second half which became everything but. Suddenly the story was sidetracked for action and it was non-stop action after action to the point that I became honestly very bored with the whole affair. It was overloud, overly bombastic and almost seeming like a video game. There is way too much war in it.

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Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

Let’s talk about the characters. As a team, I really liked them and in fact, they served great as a team and the dynamic was excellent. However, each of them fails individually as none of them feels like a well developed, real individual, but rather as shallow figure that serves to the story instead of the other way around.

Jyn Erso isn’t as annoying as she was in the trailer, but she was still quite weakly developed and forgettable. Her becoming a leader of the rebellion really wasn’t well handled and it felt rushed. Cassian had his moments, but was overall not memorable. Bodhi and Baze are both very underutilized and Saw Gerrera was very problematic. His relationship with Erso was important here as it was accentuated a lot, but here you have a great example of Hollywood failing at emotion. You have a scene with the two of them reuniting and crying and it was all supposed to be very emotional, but I was just never moved at all because I don’t know these people as the film failed to establish them as proper human beings and not just as toys that serve the story.

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Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

The villains I found to be really good and some were quite menacing and strong. Vader was very well used in his two sequences and Erso’s father had some excellent moments too. But I was so disappointed with their treatment of Chirrut. Here they got a really cool, badass character and they just used his action skills in a couple of scenes and that’s it. Tremendously disappointing. Really the characterization is super weak here which is my major gripe with the movie and the reason why ‘The Force Awakens’ was a better film.

The acting is, on the other hand, very strong. This was obviously Political Correctness 101 as there isn’t a single white man in the team, but that didn’t bother me, it only bothered me that they were weak as characters. But the actors did a really good job. Felicity Jones is quite good, although her American accent isn’t the greatest and is sometimes noticeable. Mads Mikkelsen and Forest Whitaker sold their emotional scenes with very good performances and of course the presence of Donnie Yen is always welcome.

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Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

Donnie Yen is actually quite funny in this movie as is K-2SO. He is a very solid robot who is actually one of the series’ best – very funny and very likable. But unfortunately, only those two provided the humor and just rarely. The film was otherwise too serious. Now the action is overwhelming, but is actually very well executed undoubtedly. And of course the special effects are terrific. This is one of the year’s best looking movies and everything looks great from the scenery to the weapons to even the CGI of some of the characters. It was crazy to me that Tarkin was a giant effect and not a real person as the actor had died a long time ago. Really groundbreaking effects right there. The sound effects are too loud, but the score is really good and its theme that was repeated throughout was actually great.

The special effects are excellent, the score is terrific and the acting is very good in Rogue One as is its first half which is so great, sometimes even funny and genuinely entertaining and well made, but the second half is so weak with non-stop action after action that bored me to death. But the reason why ‘The Force Awakens’ was better lies in the characters as this movie has surprisingly weak character development and here you have a textbook example of where Hollywood usually fails – you have these big emotional scenes and you are supposed to be moved, but I just wasn’t as I don’t know these people as they aren’t developed as genuine human beings but rather as tools in service to the story. So disappointing.

My Rating – 3.5

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Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 war biopic directed by Mel Gibson and starring Andrew Garfield. It is one of the year’s best films and the biggest, most pleasant surprise.

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I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

It follows an American pacifist combat medic who refuses to carry or use weapons of any kind to stay true to his faith and eventually saves more than fifty wounded people by carrying them himself and thus becoming a hero. This is one of those old-fashioned movies that could have come out during the fifties, but that here is a good thing as rarely today do we get great war movies as well as religious pictures.

This one succeeds at both of those fronts. It is such a strongly spiritual movie that I was just blown away at how emotional and powerful it is, yet understated and never sensationalized. This is probably one of the most spiritual movies that I have ever seen. But it succeeds as a war picture too because the action is terrific along with the technical aspects and the film perfectly transports you to the action and helps you realize the suffering as well as the bravery of the soldiers there. So good.

It also succeeds as a biopic as it tells you everything you need to know about Desmond Doss without ever making the whole affair sappy or overly sentimental. He is an important person in history and I am glad that he got the movie treatment and such a great one at that. He is one of the most admirable and purely good men who ever lived and a role model for everyone.

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

The other characters are pretty good as well. I really like Smitty and following their rivalry and eventual friendship was emotionally rewarding, yet realistically portrayed. Sergeant Howell is also pretty good, albeit the character we’ve seen before and done better in ‘Full Metal Jacket’. Vince Vaughn is solid and Luke Bracey is so good in this minor, but important role. Hugo Weaving as the father is also terrific and Teresa Palmer as his girlfriend is quite solid. I wanted more from their relationship in the second half, but the first half, although traditional, was still romantic and well done.

But Andrew Garfield is just fantastic in the main role. He was always believable and not only is his Southern accent strong, but he sold even the most difficult and emotionally exhilarating moments beautifully. It was a difficult role and he got a lot of screen time, but he excelled in it and gave his best performance yet and quite probably the best male performance of the year.

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Now Hacksaw Ridge isn’t perfect. I wanted more of a closure in its third act. I absolutely loved the interviews of real Desmond Doss, that felt authentic and fitting. But I still wanted more of a fitting finale to this story as the film just sort of ended. It was abrupt. And the second problem is the action which felt highly exaggerated in violence at times. I know that is necessary for a war flick, but it still felt overly gory and violent in a couple of disgusting scenes.

But the action is overall very good and again the film transports you well into the battle arena. The film is technically polished and not only well edited, but also stupendously well shot. It is one of the best shot films of the year with some highly memorable and authentic imagery. But the direction from Mel Gibson is also one of the year’s best, so strong and so professional and I am glad that he is back with this movie in a big way as he deserves it. He showed what a knack for traditional storytelling he has one more time.

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

So Hacksaw Ridge definitely deserved all of those nominations that it received and it is one of the year’s best films for sure. It is also one of the better war films that I have seen which says a lot. But what says the most about its quality is that I liked this movie so much despite being bored personally by World War II flicks. But here he found a new, previously not that well explored angle and brought us a fresh WW2 picture which is a huge accomplishment.

Hacksaw Ridge is the most pleasant surprise of 2016. It is overly violent at times and the conclusion needed more closure, but other than that, this is one of the best films of the year and one of the better war films that I have ever seen because Gibson found a new, previously unexplored angle to a regular war picture. His direction is fantastic, the film looks gorgeous, it is emotional and always understated, it is very spiritual and it features one of the best performances of the year from Andrew Garfield who was just phenomenal here.

My Rating – 4.5

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