Ocean Waves (1993)

Ocean Waves Movie Review

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Ocean Waves Movie Review

Ocean Waves is a 1993 teen anime film. It is the only TV movie from Studio Ghibli and admittedly one of their weakest efforts.

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And that’s when I knew…

I’d always been crazy for her

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Ocean Waves Movie Review

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The film has a very standard teen story which is basically a triangle between two male friends and a girl whom they both get infatuated with. I do not get triangles, I find them annoying and this movie is no exception. That entire conflict between the three felt overly familiar, typical and pretty boring.

The film does get teenagers meaning that it portrays them somewhat realistically and especially their messy relationships and interactions within the school. The highlight for me was the ending as it explored and showcased nostalgia superbly and I just loved both that dock scene which is so well shot and the final scene which is very powerful.

The movie did succeed cinematically in its third act, but the rest of it was pretty uninspired and I could see that it was made for television as it was both technically uninspired and pretty average in terms of story and characterization.

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Ocean Waves Movie Review

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Speaking of the characters, they are a nuisance and a big problem the film just never overcame. All of these characters are somewhat unlikable and thus I could not care for them. Taku and Yutaka are somewhat unlikable at times and mostly just boring, but Rikako herself is very annoying and bitchy. She is especially unsympathetic toward everyone in the film and it is thus difficult to get behind her and the boys’ infatuation with her.

Ocean Waves was made by younger creators at Studio Ghibli and is the first film from the studio with no involvement from either Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata. And it shows unfortunately as Tomomi Mochizuki just could never compete with those two genius directors. His direction here is pretty pedestrian and he does nothing inspired or interesting with this average material.

The anime is very well acted, on the other hand. Everyone did a good job in their roles. The film is also very well scored and I really liked some of the symphonic pieces here and there, especially in the third moving act. I wish the rest of the film was as emotional or as memorable as that last third. The film is short, but still somewhat prolonged for its very thin plot.

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Ocean Waves Movie Review

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The animation is actually pretty solid. Now obviously this is the weakest animated Studio Ghibli film but it is not fair to compare it to the rest of their pantheon as it is the only TV movie and thus it lacked in terms of budget. But I have to congratulate them for making an above average TV film as the animation is very strong for television standards and at times even quite beautiful.

It is difficult comparing Ocean Waves to the theatrical Ghibli releases and that is why I did not include this film in my ranking of all their films. If I had to rank it, it would be somewhere near the bottom of the list as it is pretty much the same in terms of flaws and strengths as ‘From Up on Poppy Hill’. But then again I do not wish to compare it as it doesn’t belong in the theatrical category.

Ocean Waves has a pretty strong third act with some moving scenes and a memorable take on nostalgia. It is also very well scored and animated as it looks especially strong for television standards. However, the plot is your standard teen story with a boring love triangle and somewhat unlikable characters. It’s not a bad film, but it’s definitely one of Ghibli’s weakest efforts.

My Rating – 3

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Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story Movie Review

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Toy Story Movie Review

Toy Story is a 1995 animated adventure film directed by John Lasseter. It is Pixar’s very first feature length film which is a good, but highly overrated one.

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To infinity and beyond!

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Toy Story Movie Review

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Its plot is undeniably very original as it follows toys who come to life after the kid is not playing with them. Woody the cowboy toy is jealous of a new toy who has to realize that he is not really a space ranger. In their relationship, the film is basically a buddy comedy, but mostly an adventure flick with a fantasy setup.

The themes are well explored. Jealousy is very well touched upon and I love that the protagonist has those negative feelings and isn’t perfect. And of course Buzz’s story is the highlight as it is a deep, powerful look at disappointment of who you are as a person and a realization that you are not who you thought you were. That identity crisis is superbly explored, but the film is also about friendship, the community and the roles within it as well as about change as Woody has to adapt to his new friend and status quo in the house.

Let’s talk about the characters. I actually find its two protagonists to be iconic, but the rest are honestly far from great. Woody is fantastic and such a complex, realistic character who has to learn to be a better person and naturally progresses during the film. Buzz Lightyear is also phenomenal and such a wonderful, highly endearing character. Watching his identity crisis was tough as you’d come to care for him by that point.

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Toy Story Movie Review

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The friendship between these two drives the whole film and it’s surely fantastic and so well developed. Their interactions are superb and the two actors have great chemistry together. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen both gave iconic voice performances in what has to be two of the best in the history of animation. A truly inspired work, even though I have always heard and recognized Hanks’ signature voice which was distracting at times.

But the others are not great. Andy is not that present in this first film, Bo Peep is the only female character here and she’s forgettable, Slinky Dog is also forgettable and Rex as this nervous dinosaur is one of the more memorable characters along with Hamm the piggy bank. But the highlight is easily Mr. Potato Head with his amusing awaiting of his love interest. As for Sid, he is definitely a dangerous villain for the toys, but over-the-top and a Pixar film is at its best when it does not have a villain in my opinion.

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Toy Story Movie Review

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Toy Story has a very overrated soundtrack. Strange Things is forgettable and I Will Go Sailing No More is a too on-the-nose song that distracted from the actually powerful Buzz realization scene. I really do not like when songs are that unsubtle and this one (similar to ‘Brother Bear’) is ridiculous in that regard. You’ve Got a Friend in Me is naturally the best song here and it has fine lyrics and is a catchy tune, but is in my opinion quite overrated and never on the same quality level of Disney’s great songs. Randy Newman’s work here is not his best one nor were the songs even needed here.

Toy Story is a short film, but it doesn’t feel short as it can be pretty boring at times. I am of course talking about its action which is highly excessive, especially in its third act which has its fine moments, but is overall your typical 90s kids’ triumphant finale. Most of the film is an adventure, but that high-spirited, authentic adventure is seriously offset by the constant urge for very fast pace and high action. That is the problem I have with this whole franchise and it is clearly evident here.

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Toy Story Movie Review

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So Toy Story of course proved to be a groundbreaking film when it comes to animation. It is the first ever computer animated film and thus it influenced all of the others in its wake which is unfortunate and this film is the best example of how computer animation is very timely and never at all timeless as its hand-drawn counterpart.

‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ is the first ever hand-drawn film and it looks miles better than the first CGI film. That is because this technology changes and improves constantly and at this point they were just beginning to use it and it shows unfortunately as the backgrounds are very poor and dated and the overall designs are very simplistic. The film is respectable and admirable for its time, but now it doesn’t look good. But I did find the overall toy designs very well done as there is a plethora of different toys in the film and they are very well utilized into the action with the highlight being those soldiers.

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Toy Story Movie Review

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The film is well directed by John Lasseter and although fast paced, it is engaging and especially entertaining in its first half which is my favorite one. I do admire the film’s authenticity and simplicity as it is simple at its surface, but actually complex thematically speaking. It is good as the first CGI and Pixar film, but far from the best works of the studio and I personally do not share most people’s and critics’ high praises.

Toy Story has two iconic characters in Woody and Buzz Lightyear so wonderfully voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. The other characters are mostly forgettable, but these two are very well developed and highly memorable. Its story is very authentic, it deals with some powerful themes and is a fun adventure to follow. However, the soundtrack is weak and the film proved to be incredibly influential on the world of animation for better and for worse as it introduced computer animation to the world which looks far from timeless here and the action is simply too overwhelming. As Pixar’s first film, it is admirable and quite good, but far from the studio’s best works and it’s an overrated movie in my opinion.

My Rating – 4

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Ranking DCEU Films

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Ranking DCEU Films List

DCEU is not at all comparable to the MCU as it is much weaker in quality. However, most of these films are pretty solid and not bad at all and I do think that the critics have been harsh to this universe from the beginning. The films have their obvious flaws such as too much seriousness and weak VFX, but they also feature some solid action, characters and interesting approaches. So without further ado, here is my ranking of all DCEU films.

 

5. Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad easily takes the last spot for me and pretty much everyone else. This film was a giant disappointment and lost potential. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn steals the show with a bunch of memorable and funny one-liners and Amanda Waller and Deadshot are also memorable characters. But the rest are underdeveloped and very forgettable, the plot is slight and the ending is mediocre with a particularly horrible villain in Enchantress.

Suicide Squad Movie Review

 

4. Justice League

Now Justice League takes the fourth spot because it is a very short, rushed affair with too many underdeveloped characters and its plot and approach are way too simplistic. Aquaman and Cyborg are quite forgettable, but the Flash is a lot of fun thanks to a solid Ezra Miller performance. Of course Superman and especially Wonder Woman and Batman are the highlights. The film is hugely entertaining, but is undone by pretty terrible, baffling CGI.

Justice League Movie Review

 

3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I really liked Batman v Superman which I honestly did not expect. Certainly the film is overlong, very dark and its third act ruined the whole film with a tendency to focus on boring, prolonged action spectacle. But the remainder of the film is actually pleasantly slow paced, more sophisticated in approach and with a particularly well established, morally complex conflict at its core. It is a very polarizing movie and I myself am more on the positive side of its reception.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie Review

 

2. Man of Steel

Man of Steel started it all – both the bad and the good when it comes to the DCEU. The first two acts feature a very interesting, cool and highly modern alien arrival science fiction approach to telling the Superman mythos and origin story, but the third act ruined everything with a giant bore of a spectacle with repetitive action after action scene. It proved to be influential on the rest of the film here for better and for worse, but it remains the second best DCEU film.

Man of Steel Movie Review

 

1. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman isn’t a great film, not by a long shot. It is terribly undone by its third act once again which rendered its powerful and realistic anti-war statement useless by adding a typical monster fight at the end and that was unfortunate. The CGI is also not great. But the character herself is very well developed thanks to Gal Gadot’s charismatic turn, the film is quite funny and charming at times and it’s overall a very well told, engaging origin story. This is an obvious, but deserved number one choice.

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Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel Movie Review

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Man of Steel Movie Review

Man of Steel is a 2013 superhero film directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill and Michael Shannon. It is a very solid first installment in the DCEU.

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You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards.

They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall.

But in time, they will join you in the sun, Kal.

In time, you will help them accomplish wonders

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Man of Steel Movie Review

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I like this film quite a bit, but I don’t love it. It’s perfectly solid, but it has the same problems that plague literally all DCEU films and that is its third act which is typically bombastic with a lot of special effects and needless, very repetitive action after action. It ruined an otherwise strong film for me and it was an unfortunate influence on the rest of the DCEU.

But the first two acts are actually pretty good. The film certainly lacks humor and is too dark. The romance between Lois and Superman is also lacking and almost non-existent which was frustrating to witness. But still the film is interesting for exploring its themes quite well and for presenting the origins of the character in a more realistic, alien arrival kind of way which was super cool, interesting and modern. I liked their approach here and it worked for me.

This Superman is okay, but Henry Cavill’s performance is very unappealing, flat and just weak thus ruining the character. He would be much better in ‘Batman v Superman’ and ‘Justice League’ later on, but here his performance is pretty disappointing. Amy Adams gives us a more modern, solid Lois Lane, but she was underutilized in my opinion way too much.

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Man of Steel Movie Review

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His parents are very likable and some of the moments between them are heartwarming. Russell Crowe is pretty good as Jor-El and Perry White is definitely quite memorable. As for the villains, Faora is actually a very competent, strong female villain. Underdeveloped, but definitely cool and badass. The same goes for General Zod who is very powerful and menacing. Michael Shannon has rarely been as memorable as in this film.

Man of Steel features pretty weak action sequences and, as critics have pinpointed, a thorough lack of wonder and excitement. It basically succeeds as a sci-fi film as the first half is very strong, but it fails as a superhero film as the third act is very weak, dull, overlong and with forgettable action sequences. Some fights are fine, but most are repetitive.

The direction and pacing are also problematic, but I have to say that the film’s special effects are easily the best of the entire DCEU. The film looks very good and especially the designs of the space suits, space ships and especially Krypton are excellent. I absolutely loved that first scene.

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Man of Steel Movie Review

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I also loved those calmer scenes, flashbacks and the film stated really well how humans would react to an alien coming to visit them and those reactions are all very grounded in reality. The film thus gave us a more serious take on the Superman mythos and it’s a shame that the whole movie was not like that and that we did not get awesome action as well.

This is where it all started and it is a good first film. It is actually the best DCEU film after ‘Wonder Woman’ in my opinion as all of the rest are not close to its quality. The film has a solid repeat value as well and I think the critics were a bit too harsh to it.

Man of Steel is undone by its disappointing, messy and typically bombastic third act that unfortunately influenced all of the future DCEU films in its wake. It has weak, repetitive action and too much spectacle. The romance is also non-existent. But the rest of the film is actually very competent as this more serious, interesting take on the Superman mythos and origin story with a cool sci-fi, modern angle to it, quite strong villains and an excellent beginning.

My Rating – 3.5

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Darkest Hour (2017)

Darkest Hour Movie Review

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Darkest Hour Movie Review

Darkest Hour is a 2017 British biopic directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman. It is one of the weakest 2017 films I’ve seen.

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Those who never change their mind never change anything

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Darkest Hour Movie Review

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The film follows Winston Churchill’s early years as Prime Minister as Nazi Germany is sweeping Western Europe. The film is basically a clichéd biopic with not a single unique idea or interestingly executed scene in it. It basically follows the historical events word by word, scene by scene as they happened leading to one very dull, uncinematic historical lesson.

Gary Oldman is good in the role of Winston Churchill but this is still one of those Oscar bait roles which I thoroughly dislike. He is covered in make-up which is at times frankly noticeable and his overall performance, though good, is far from great as it wasn’t believable or inspired enough. The rest of the actors are entirely forgettable and the same goes for their characters as this is pretty much a one-man show which was a very annoying approach.

Darkest Hour is technically very uninspired. Yes, its costumes, attention to detail and makeup are solid. However, the score is entirely forgettable and the cinematography is horrible as the film has a very grainy, dark and boring look to it which really made it frustrating to sit through.

Joe Wright has never been a great director and certainly his direction here is not great. In fact, it is pretty bad and standard. The same goes for pacing which is horrible as the film is consistently not involving and was a chore to sit through.

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Darkest Hour Movie Review

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Despite makeup and costumes and maybe actor, I cannot possibly fathom the other nominations this film received. None of those are at all deserved and the film is quite possibly the weakest Best Picture nominee of 2017.

It is such a shameless, manipulative Oscar bait of a movie that I was shocked to see it. This is in fact the most extreme case of that bait in recent years as the dialogue is very “inspirational” with his speeches and monologues and the film was basically just made to bring Oldman his first Oscar and it is again pretty obvious in that goal. I am looking forward to the day when they finally stop making these dull WWII movies.

Darkest Hour is an embodiment of a shameless Oscar bait which was pretty much made with one purpose alone – to get Gary Oldman his first Oscar. The film is well acted and it has some fine scenes, but it is mostly a giant chore to sit through as this very grainy looking, boring and entirely clichéd historical lesson with not a single ounce of creativity in it.

My Rating – 2.5

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Call Me by Your Name (2017)

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

Call Me by Your Name is a 2017 coming-of-age romance film directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer. It’s a very overrated movie.

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We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things

faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty

and have less to offer each time we start with someone new.

But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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So the film is about a 17-year-old boy named Elio who enters a romantic relationship with Oliver who is much older than him. This all happens during the eighties in Northern Italy. Basically the film is your regular, old-fashioned romance but just with added gay characters. And by regular and traditional, I mean that it is very much an Oscar bait movie and an extreme case of it.

The film relies so much on its beautiful scenery for one. Another point is that it is sprawling, overlong and very deliberately paced. And of course you get those typical “artistic” and “weird” scenes such as the last scene as well as the peach scene which is more ridiculous than anything else. And also the titular scene annoyed me. Whenever it tried to be deep, the film failed miserably and was actually more funny than sophisticated.

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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That is not to say that Call Me by Your Name is a bad film. It is perfectly solid but I expected greater things from it given all the hype that it received. It is in no way better than all the famous gay movies that came before it and even in 2017 we got a better gay film in ‘God’s Own Country’ in particular.

What I liked here is its first half which was deliberately paced but not boring, it was filled with good attention to detail and it chronicled their growing feelings and sexual confusion and repression so well. But the second half ruined all of that for me as it became very slow and boring plus it was never as romantic as it promised us.

So the two characters aren’t particularly likable to me personally, but the acting is undeniably phenomenal and the biggest reason to see the film. Armie Hammer is excellent here and very sensual and charismatic in the role. He was superbly cast here. Timothee Chalamet is also very strong in his first major role. He killed it and gave a very nuanced, complex and powerful performance which was deservedly Oscar nominated.

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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Michael Stuhlbarg is also terrific and should have been nominated as well. He was superb and wonderful in that major scene where the father has a talk with his son about romance and life. That scene is honestly fantastic and the only truly deep, sophisticated part of this entire film. It stole the show for me and was perfect in every way.

Call Me by Your Name doesn’t state clearly enough that this is the eighties and that is why they are hiding their feelings. Some of the scenes here are very unrealistic and highly cliched for this type of film. The filmmakers made it seem too universal when in fact it is a very specific film. By that I mean that it is a film about two gay men living in 80s Northern Italy who are rich, artists and scientists and who have had very specific life experiences. Nothing about this film spoke to me as relatable or universal and that’s why I was distanced from it emotionally.

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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There is no denying that the film is gorgeous to look at as the Italian scenery is lovely and some of the scenes are beautiful to behold and very well shot and constructed. The direction from Luca Guadagnino is also solid and the score is definitely very strong. I also really liked the tone of the film and some scenes are undeniably effective in what they are trying to accomplish. But some are silly and pretentious or even preposterous. The film is too slow to be enjoyed more and too much of an Oscar-bait made for gay people and especially women alone with no universality to it whatsoever. And it needed much more dialogue in it. These are smart people so why do we not hear them talk more??

Call Me by Your Name has undeniably gorgeous scenery, a strong first half, one very powerful scene and terrific performances from Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg. It’s a solid film. However, it’s far from great as it’s basically an extremely overrated and incredibly obvious Oscar-bait with too many silly, pretentious and even preposterous scenes, an extremely slow pace and a tendency to focus on scenery and sensuality instead of dialogue and true romance. Watching this film felt like watching a three-hour 80s Oscar bait and it is just a very specific film with a very limited appeal.

My Rating – 3.5

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Three Billboards (2017)

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Three Billboards Movie Review

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a 2017 crime drama black-comedy film directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. It’s fantastic.

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Well, who the hell else would it be?

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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I expected great things from this film judging by the premise and those terrific trailers and for once I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, the film exceeded my expectations and is in my opinion the best film of the year! It is that great and that important so let’s talk about it in length.

The plot is fantastic. This screenplay is very original and very well thought out with no flaws to the story whatsoever. The film is famous for having a lot of twists and turns and although none caught me by surprise too much as I know my movies, they were still phenomenally executed and made the film very exciting and entertaining. I rarely like crime films, but this one is so amazing that I ended up loving it. It is also a strong, moving drama and a terrific black comedy.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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The character development is superb across the board as is the acting. Mildred is such a great character and one example why this film is so brilliant – I rooted for her at first and actually got her as I think I would react the same, but as the film went by, I started to question her actions and thought that she was going too far. That goes for the whole movie – you never know whether or not the actions are justified and that grey area presented here is like real life so the film is as real as they come.

Red Welby serves his purpose and Willoughby of course is the most likable person here and I really liked his character. Robbie is also quite realistic and likable. And of course Dixon is phenomenal as this racist, redneck, abusive policeman and one of the film’s highlights. Many accused the film for being racist when it comes to his character as he did not get his proper due, but that is a stupid argument and the film is just very realistic. It portrayed policemen as they are and most get away with their hatred. But I really liked his character growth or the beginning thereof.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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Three Billboards is undoubtedly the best acted film of the entire year. There is just no question about it. It’s the ‘Fences’ of 2017. Everyone did a terrific job with Woody Harrelson stealing the show when it comes to supporting roles. He got a couple of moving moments and he sold them so well with a powerful, nuanced and believable performance.

But its two leads are the big reason why the film is amazing in the first place. Frances McDormand is simply superb. Always believable and nuanced and consistently enthralling, her character is fascinating because she acted the hell out of her. Whether scary and dangerous or heartbroken and confused, she sold all of it and gave what is arguably the best female performance of the year.

Sam Rockwell is just as strong and I did not expect that at all. At first I thought he was miscast and he definitely was miscast as he rarely plays this type of pig character, but his performance is so real and powerful that I ended up believing him in the end. And that is a testament of a great performance. He particularly sold those emotional scenes as well as the humorous one-liners.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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Three Billboards is brilliantly edited and paced with never a single rushed or prolonged moment. The film is honestly incredibly engaging to watch and for me it just flew by. That’s how involved and invested in this story I was. And I have to congratulate Martin McDonagh who shamefully did not get his Oscar nomination. His direction is amazing. He not only directed all these phenomenal actors to give spectacular performances, but he also directed the whole movie to flow really well and to send its open questions and confusion to the audience successfully.

Speaking of the Oscars, the film received seven nominations but it honestly deserved more. The acting nods are all very much deserved as are the screenplay, editing and picture nods. Just the director nod is lacking unfortunately. As for its score nomination, it is earned of course but I have mixed feelings about the score. On the one hand, it doesn’t quite fit this film and the genre, but on the other hand, it is undeniably memorable and wonderfully old-fashioned in its feel. I also really liked the songs they used in the film.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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One of the scene highlights is the ending which is one of the best film scenes of the entire year: it is moving, ambiguous and also very funny and emotionally rewarding. It’s a perfect conclusion to a great film. But I also loved the letters scenes as well as the hospital scene which is very emotional and simply beautiful.

Three Billboards is a very funny film which most people have also pointed out. It is mostly a crime drama, but sometimes the humor is pretty evident and the film uses its humorous tone to counteract the more serious scenes so well. It is tonally a very diverse film and thus is like real life – it can be tragic, sad, heartwarming, brutal, hilarious and serious. Its black comedy worked for me stupendously as it made me laugh more than a couple of times with the highlight being that Dixon’s line in the final scene. It’s a very smart, observational humor which I love.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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The dialogue is stupendous as well. It is very much grounded in reality as is the whole film and it’s believable and sophisticated. The film is not only moving, but also thematically rich and it doesn’t give easy answers to its difficult questions. Life is messy and unforgiving and so is this film which has its many twists and crazy turns which to some may be off-putting but to me felt fresh and they gave edge to the film. I can see how some may dislike the film as it isn’t for everyone but for me it’s the year’s finest achievement.

Dark and violent yet also heartbreaking and sweet, dramatic and serious yet also very funny at times, Three Billboards is such a tonally diverse film which fires on all cylinders and succeeds both as a terrific crime drama as well as an effective black comedy. It is undoubtedly the best acted film of the year with the performances from Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell being the powerhouse standouts. It has a number of memorable scenes, it deals with complicated issues in a sophisticated manner and it’s superbly directed by Martin McDonagh while also being very well scored and brilliantly paced. Consequently, Three Billboards is the very best film of 2017.

My Rating – 5

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Justice League (2017)

Justice League Movie Review

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Justice League Movie Review

Justice League is a 2017 superhero film directed by Zack Snyder and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot among others. It is a very flawed, but pretty solid team movie.

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What are your superpowers again?

I’m rich

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Justice League Movie Review

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As DCEU’s fifth film and the culmination of all previous ones, Justice League obviously still came out too early and once again it would have been a better choice to see most of these characters in their own solo films first as this way they are pretty underdeveloped.

The film is extremely simplistic for better and for worse. On the one hand, it is so simple that it doesn’t have any surprises to it which is quite troublesome and it plays too much like a regular comic-book or a simple video game storyline. But on the other hand, that led to a much better crafted and much more entertaining film than usual for the DCEU.

Let’s talk about the characters. I liked seeing the Amazons once again and especially seeing the Atlanteans was a lot of fun and those underwater sequences stole the show. Alfred is still boring, Martha serves her purpose and Lois Lane is somewhat dull here. Amy Adams is underutilized way too much.

As for Steppenwolf, he is a pretty bad villain. He was competent and menacing enough, but he looked ridiculous with bad CGI on his face and no motion to the face whatsoever. The lips also did not move too well. The character is your typical superhero bad guy who wants to conquer the world.

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Justice League Movie Review

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Batman is pretty good once again and I like Ben Affleck in the role even though I did not expect it. He had too many comedic moments here which doesn’t suit the character, but otherwise he was quite good. Superman obviously came back from the dead which was typical, but at least he was memorable and him unleashing power and beating up the rest of the team was one of the action highlights.

Wonder Woman is not as good as she was in her own movie, but she still did get a lot to do here and Gal Gadot is still quite charming in the role. As for the new characters, the highlight is Flash who is quite funny at times and should have been used much more. Ezra Miller was so well cast in this role. Cyborg has an interesting backstory, but is very underutilized unfortunately and overall forgettable. And Aquaman is your typical Jason Momoa character with some fun moments, but overall he’s forgettable.

Justice League has a very short runtime and it definitely needed more build up, but still we got here a couple of calmer moments and not every scene was an action scene which I appreciated. The scenes with the team members talking were the funniest and most impactful with some great lines of dialogue.

The film is definitely very comedic and too much like a Marvel film, but because it was at times quite funny, it worked and it brought a lot of charm and playfulness to the whole affair. The acting is mostly very good and I have to say that most of the action scenes are excellent and a lot of fun.

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Justice League Movie Review

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However, some are pretty bad and they reminded me too much of games. Couple that with very unfortunately visuals and you get a video game look here which is ridiculous for such a high budget. They poured so much money into this film and what we got is a video game movie with too many saturated colors in its third act (which is again bombastic and annoying in typical DCEU fashion) and too much use of CGI and a bad one at that. It truly was baffling to witness.

Justice League is baffling when it comes to its special effects. They poured enormous money into this production and the end result looks like a video game with too many saturated colors and an over-reliance on (bad) CGI. But it’s still a pretty solid team movie which is overly simplistic, but that also led to a much more entertaining than usual film. The villain is poor, but most of the action is a lot of fun, the humor is quite solid and in terms of characters Wonder Woman, Batman and especially Ezra Miller’s Flash stole the show.

My Rating – 3.5

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Lady Bird (2017)

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Lady Bird Movie Review

Lady Bird is a 2017 coming-of-age film directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. It is a hugely overrated film.

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The only thing exciting about 2002 is that it’s a palindrome

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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The film basically follows the life of a 17-year-old girl and especially focuses on her turbulent relationship with her mother. Now I liked that relationship and it was very well done, but it was obviously the highlight of the film so they should have focused entirely on it as the rest could just never compete.

The rest of Lady Bird is your typical coming-of-age flick – she experiences her first sex, she is hanging out with her best friend, she is attending a theatre production and she is getting ready for university. All of those things are everyday things that most of us get through meaning that the film should be universal but it just wasn’t in my opinion.

It was meant just for teenage girls and those girls like Lady Bird herself which is why someone like me couldn’t possibly love this film. Its limited appeal hurt it in the long run. It was too detailed and it focused on all the uninteresting things such as theatre and complicated relationships with her friends and school life. The film just wasn’t deep enough, it was rushed and it never explored any of its themes properly.

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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The protagonist could be annoying at times, but overall she is a very well developed and utilized character. Kyle is quite boring and Danny’s problems are well explored but somehow his story felt like a detour and it wasn’t really needed here. Of course Marion is excellent and very realistic as this tough, complicated mother. As I said, their relationship steals the show and I wished that the film relied more on the two of them and it would have been much better.

I am not a fan of Saiorse Ronan if I am to be honest. However, I couldn’t deny that here she gave such a strong performance that she entirely deserved her Oscar nomination. Her performance in ‘Brooklyn’ is much inferior to this one. Some of her scenes are just wonderful to witness. And of course Laurie Metcalf also stole the show with her terrific, nuanced performance in an interesting role and she also deserved her nod.

Nonetheless, apart from those two nominations, the rest of its three nominations are ridiculous to me. Of course the Best Picture nomination is ludicrous as the film is just solid and so far from great that I do wonder why it got 99 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes when it is such a standard teen flick. But the screenplay nod is even worse as the film is quite weakly scripted and Greta Gerwig shouldn’t have been nominated as well.

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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I am a big fan of her as an actress, but as a director I’m not. Unfortunately she did not make a smooth transition and this film is quite clearly a work from the debut director. Her direction is very problematic as the film felt rushed and oddly paced and structured and her only strength is that she got two excellent performances from these two ladies, but other than that, the film is very weakly directed and when it was over, I asked for more as what I got was just not enough to deem it very good, let alone great.

Lady Bird features two terrific, deservedly Oscar nominated performances from Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf and the relationship between the two is so well realized and it steals the show here, but the rest of the film is uninteresting and your regular coming-of-age flick with nothing new to offer. The film is rushed and it thus doesn’t explore its themes to the fullest extent plus Greta Gerwig’s direction is not great. It’s a solid, but incredibly overrated film which is immensely inferior to much better and criminally underrated ‘The Edge of Seventeen’.

My Rating – 3.5

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Coco (2017)

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Coco Movie Review

Coco is a 2017 animated fantasy musical film directed by Lee Unkrich. It is a strong film from Pixar, but far from their best works.

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I thought I was related to a murderer!

You’re a total upgrade!

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Coco Movie Review

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I was tremendously excited for Coco and I have been looking forward to it for a very long time. It was actually one of my three most anticipated films for 2017. But unfortunately it ended up being a disappointment for me. The film is quite good, don’t get me wrong. But it is just not great and certainly not amazing. My expectations were too high I guess.

So it follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who is transported to the land of the dead where he seeks help from his ancestor to return him back to the living world. The boy wants to be a musician, but his family disapproves. Now basically in that disapproving part I found it to be disappointing as I never really got why they opposed music so much. And I also found the first act somewhat lacking as it was too rushed and lacking in characterization.

The film definitely became much better in the second act and that second act is easily the highlight for me as the third one was overly emotional. I do realize now why so many people are getting frustrated with Pixar’s emotional manipulation. Coco isn’t manipulative, but certainly its last scene is overly sentimental. But I do think they somewhat earned that emotion, but not fully for sure.

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Coco Movie Review

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The second act is where the movie shines because it features wonderful fantasy and adventure elements and very memorable plot points. The twist itself I did see coming. I mean I didn’t predict it fully, but I did expect the darker turn and that obviousness was problematic for me. However, they still did the best they could with it and although somewhat soapy, it made the film very intriguing nonetheless.

Let’s talk about its characters. Miguel is very good and likable. He’s a standard, but still a good protagonist. Ernesto de la Cruz is very memorable and effective. Hector is easily the best character in the entire film as he is very well developed, immensely likable and the relationship between him and Miguel is fantastic. The grandmother is too strict, the parents are boring and of course Coco herself is a fantastic plot device. The film needed more characters and better characterization of the supporting players.

Coco is definitely a musical as it relies on music so much, but I have to say that it does that with mixed results. For a film which literally is about music, you would think that we would get a great soundtrack, but what we got was a pretty weak, forgettable soundtrack which is never, ever on par with Disney’s classics.

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Coco Movie Review

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La Llorona is the only song apart from the main one which is even remotely memorable as Everyone Knows Juanita, Un Poco Loco and all of the others are so forgettable that I already have forgotten them. They really needed stronger songwriters for this film.

Of course Remember Me is the standout song. It isn’t great, but it is pretty good with moving lyrics and I particularly liked how it was used so well in all those different sequences in different contexts. But I still had a problem with that approach as using mostly this one song meant that we got less of the other songs which was a giant problem the movie never overcame.

The animation is the best reason to see Coco in my opinion. It is phenomenal. It isn’t as inventive as ‘Inside Out’ was but it’s still very strong and particularly polished and colorful with a great use of many wonderful colors to accompany its Mexican setting so well. The colors of green, yellow and orange were the highlights. The character design is solid and I loved how the skeletons looked and moved.

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Coco Movie Review

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The world building is amazing and they created this whole world populated with the dead beautifully. That is actually the highlight of the film along with its animation – the mythology. I loved the concept of fading or second death after all living people forget you. That was a very powerful and sophisticated approach and I loved it. The film does deal with the theme of death so well and cleverly which is why its final emotional scene is not manipulative.

The voice acting is especially strong and emotionally evocative. The direction from Lee Unkrich is very good as well and the pacing of the film apart from its beginning is pretty good. The score is also very good, but not as great as the trailers promised me. The whole film is just never as fantastic as the trailers were leading to an eventual disappointment for me.

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Coco Movie Review

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Coco is a very good, but unfortunately disappointing film which is far from Pixar’s best works. The standout aspects are its world building which is amazing, its animation which is beautiful and pleasingly colorful and its mythology which has some very interesting concepts very well explored. The film explores death so well, it is sophisticated in that theme and it is particularly effective in the portrayal of Mexican culture and Día de los Muertos. The characterization is good and I particularly loved the second act with the fantasy adventure angle to it. But even though its emotional ending was somewhat earned, it was still too sentimental. The twist is also quite easy to predict. And its major problem is the soundtrack. Remember Me is definitely a good, well utilized song, but the rest of the songs are very weak and never at all comparable to the works of Disney. And when you have a film that is literally about music, you need to have a killer soundtrack which sadly isn’t the case with Coco.

My Rating – 4

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