What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

What We Do in the Shadows Movie Review

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What We Do in the Shadows Movie Review

What We Do in the Shadows is a 2014 New Zealand mockumentary horror comedy film directed by Taika Waititi. It is an original, but admittedly not great film.

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He was an 18th century dandy, so he can be very fussy

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What We Do in the Shadows Movie Review

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This film is a very interesting mix of genres. It is above all a vampire comedy, but with some horror elements and filmed in a mockumentary style. The mockumentary worked to its full advantage as it added a modern, fun touch to it and I really enjoyed it. The horror elements are rare, but solid and as for comedy, the movie can be really funny at times, but not often enough.

The plot with these three centuries old vampires sharing a flat together in today’s world is comedy gold in itself and such an original, creative premise with a particularly authentic approach. But the execution is not as great owing to its uneven quality.

The film takes its time to get there as the first act is not as engaging and it take time to adapt to its offbeat weirdness, at least that was the case with me. The second act is then phenomenal and so energetic, fun and frequently hilarious. That’s certainly the highlight of the film. But then the third act is definitely not as fun and the movie loses its steam there.

What We Do in the Shadows is weirdly paced and for such a short runtime, the filmmakers still did not know how to fulfill that time and thus I agree with some that this was an ingenious idea for a short film and never a feature.

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What We Do in the Shadows Movie Review

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Taika Waititi is excellent here, not so much in the acting role (and no actor is really particularly great here), but as a director, he shines here as this is his vision and his direction and style are phenomenal. The score is actually very good and effective in creating its vampire atmosphere. The same can be said for special effects and sets, both excellent for such a small budget. The film is technically pretty terrific.

What We Do in the Shadows is a highly original, but uneven experiment. Its mix of genres and approaches is very intriguing as it is a mockumentary vampire horror comedy with a pretty good premise. Taika Waititi’s direction and style are great. But only the second act is very strong and quite funny as it takes time to get used to its weirdness in the first act and the film loses its steam in the third act. It would have been much more effective as a short than it is as a feature film.

My Rating – 3.5

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Frozen (2013)

Frozen Movie Review

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Frozen Movie Review

Frozen is a 2013 animated musical film which is Disney’s 53rd animated feature. It is a pretty good, competent, but still very flawed and ultimately somewhat overrated movie.

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He’s crazy.

I’ll distract them while you run

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Frozen Movie Review

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The story follow the fairy tale The Snow Queen but just barely and is basically so different from it that it might be considered to be an original film. I liked the story though it definitely felt rushed and undercooked in some places. It is adventurous, heartwarming and magical just like most real Disney classics are, but it is just never as great as it could have been.

The beginning is overly drawn out but definitely very intriguing and seeing the two girls separated was heartbreaking. I loved the magical elements and the first act is long, but sets up the rest of the movie pretty well. The coronation day was great, Elsa and Anna’s argument is memorable and Hans being portrayed as so good and innocent at first is a big plus.

I will later talk about the ice palace creation sequence when I talk about the song itself and in detail. As for the first scenes with Kristoff, they are all very charming and some of the best here. I loved the scene at the Wandering Oaken’s shop and the scene with the wolves. This is the most adventurous part of the film and it should have lasted longer.

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Frozen Movie Review

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The scene with the two sisters arguing is the second best of the film and actually pretty amazing in its own right. I loved that it involved singing for storytelling and dialogue and the intense build up to the eventual tragedy is superbly done. Marshmallow got a pretty fun scene, but the troll sequence is somewhat of a detour. The capturing of Elsa is excellent and the film needed more action and more usage of her powers such as in that scene.

Hans revealing his villainous side was done wonderfully and the entire third act is pretty good and exciting. The twist with the true love being that of two sisters instead of between a man and a woman is interesting and ultimately quite memorable and groundbreaking in a way. The ending with the ice skating was sweet.

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Frozen Movie Review

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Frozen has many plot holes unfortunately. It is a good, wonderful story, but so undercooked and you can see that it was reworked extensively for many years up to its release. How Elsa got her powers and why only she has them is never answered. And do not get me started on the parents. They were horrible to their children by separating them and I guess that in that day and age, they might be much worse in real life but the film tried to make them sympathetic and it failed and thus their death was not all that felt and of course as obvious and as expected as any Disney parent death. And what Elsa ate in that ice palace and how she intended to survive there remains a mystery to me. And who ruled the kingdom when they were little and parentless. And why doesn’t Kristoff recognize Anna as an adult? The film is sloppy in terms of storytelling.

The characterization is very good on the other hand. Elsa is underdeveloped when compared to Anna, but it works in the context of the story that she is somewhat of a mystery and I liked that Anna is basically a protagonist here. Elsa is mysterious, elegant, powerful and I loved her ice powers and it was convenient and quite ingenious how her problems can relate to basically any minorities/special needs persons.

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Frozen Movie Review

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But Anna is actually the better character. I love Anna honestly. She is your wonderful Disney Princess but different than most as she had to learn what true love is and how you cannot fall in love in the first day of meeting the prince. The deconstruction of Disney’s true love concept is modern and although too on-the-nose, it still worked and was clever. The film is sometimes overly feminist in an aggressive way, but it is still very nice that we got a Disney movie that centers on sisterhood.

Anna’s spunky behavior is great and she has some wonderful, funny lines in the film. Her journey and character progression is excellent and her interactions with everybody, especially Elsa and Kristoff are superb. The relationship between the two sisters is problematic yet very sweet just like in real life which is why it resonated with so many women out there.

Kristoff is very likable and it was interesting that talking to animals was portrayed as somewhat crazy here. Honestly, the movie felt so anti-Disney at times for better and for worse. But Sven is endearing and Kristoff is a great Disney love interest and he and Anna share a fantastic relationship.

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Frozen Movie Review

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Olaf is honestly pretty annoying at times, but also quite funny in a couple of scene with some hilarious lines. He is your typical overly modern and aggressively funny Disney sidekick, but I didn’t hate him surprisingly enough and I ended up mostly liking him. Duke of Weselton is annoying and basically just a decoy so we wouldn’t suspect Hans who is honestly very good as a villain. I really enjoyed the villain twist here. It was overdone in the next movies such as ‘Big Hero 6’ and ‘Zootopia’, but here it fully worked and I loved it. But I still think that men in this film are either villainous or crazy which remains a problem.

Frozen has very good, though not amazing animation. Some of the backgrounds and interiors were not as detailed as you would expect from Disney and the character design is mostly typical. But the CGI is excellent and the ice palace creation is the biggest feat of animation wizardry accomplished here. The ice looks amazing and the film was one of a few animated films that was ripe for computer animation as the ice needs the CGI and every icy scene was beautiful here.

Frozen is a musical and a very problematic one. Basically the structure of the film is all wrong. It makes the fatal mistake of putting most of the songs in the first act and the rest of the film is mostly devoid of songs. That made it seem very uneven. And I still do think that only one song here is great.

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Frozen Movie Review

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Frozen Heart is your typical opening work/local people Disney number that serves its purpose, but is forgettable. Do You Want to Build a Snowman? is actually quite sweet and the most childlike song here. It is a great plot point, but overly short.

Love Is an Open Door is so mediocre. I do not like it at all and it has a pretty weak, annoying chorus and it sounds way too modern. Definitely it serves its purpose in terms of storytelling, but as the actual piece of music it is rather weak.

Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People is extremely short and unnecessary. Fixer Upper is so annoying and possibly the worst scene in the film. The song itself is quite weak and uninspired. The same can be said for In Summer which is basically a detour as we already know that Olaf wants warm hugs and yearns for summer and we did not need a whole number for it, especially such a weak one.

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Frozen Movie Review

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For the First Time in Forever is the second best song in the film and I really like it. It isn’t the catchiest song, but it does accompany a great early scene, it has very good and at times even funny lyrics and a pretty fine chorus. I loved the grand ending to it. Also, the reprise is beautiful and, as I said before, it is the second greatest scene in the film.

And of course Let It Go is the greatest song in the entire film and one of the best Disney songs of all time. Words cannot describe how great this number is, but let me try. First off, the lyrics are absolutely amazing and it is probably the deepest Disney song ever, the one with which everyone can relate to. The singing by Idina Menzel is amazing and it is the kind of grand Broadway number that was mostly absent from Disney in recent decades.

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Frozen Movie Review

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The chorus is amazing and the finale is absolutely spectacular! It serves as a powerful vehicle for Elsa; it is the moment where the film just stops and your breath is simply taken as the overall sequence is spectacular in terms of characterization, music and storytelling. That beautiful gown was created here, the classic song was created here and one of the best Disney scenes too. History was certainly made here.

Frozen features excellent voice acting. Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff are very good, but Idina Menzel and especially Kristen Bell shine here. The film is well directed, but weakly paced. The dialogue is solid, but overly modern at times with too much new jargon in it. The film doesn’t pay much attention to its time period as it does to its setting. Overall, the film remains a phenomenon, but a highly flawed one. A wonderful experience, but when you look at it through the critic’s lens, you can see its many flaws easily. It surely is one of the worst Disney revival entries as it cannot compare at all with ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and ‘Tangled’.

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Frozen Movie Review

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Frozen is a good, but highly problematic movie. The animation is not as detailed, but it is frequently gorgeous. The story is very intriguing and memorable, but full of obvious plot holes. The dialogue is overly modern and, although refreshing, sometimes the film was aggressively feminist (all men in the movie are either crazy or villainous) and deconstructive. The characterization is admittedly excellent with Hans being a very good villain (the twist was great), Kristoff is very likable and of course Anna and Elsa are wonderful characters and their sisterhood is beautiful to witness which is the reason why the film touched so many people. The songs are actually rather weak as only For the First Time in Forever is quite good and of course Let It Go is an amazing, simply fantastic song accompanied by a spectacular, iconic sequence. The film is frequently very adventurous, charming or even funny, but mostly rushed in pacing and problematic in structure owing to it having been extensively reworked on for many years. In the end, Frozen reaches greatness in a couple of truly special scenes, but for the most part it is a very uneven, troublesome film which ranks among the weakest Disney Revival films.

My Rating – 4

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Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away Movie Review

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Spirited Away Movie Review

Spirited Away is a 2001 anime fantasy film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is the best Studio Ghibli film and one of the best films ever made.

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Once you do something, you never forget.

Even if you can’t remember

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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I have seen Spirited Away at least three times by now and upon this fourth viewing I again confirmed its greatness. Rare are films that get better and better upon each subsequent viewing and this is one of those films. It has an amazing replay factor. I have always watched it in a dubbed version as that is how I first saw it so I cannot comment upon the Japanese sub acting, but the dub is actually one of the better anime dubs.

Let’s first talk about the story and the highlight scenes. This film is obviously influenced by ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and it is a much darker, much better crafted version of it. It managed to eclipse that story due to a sheer epicness of it. It feature an amazing use of Japanese mythology and spirits and every creature here looks great and is highly memorable.

The beginning is excellent and very eerie in its atmosphere. Highly mysterious and otherworldly. All of Chihiro’s first sequences in this world are great and a wonderful build-up for the rest of the story. As for the stink spirit scenes, they are slightly extended, but still very memorable and the character is fascinating. So the film sometimes feels like a series of vignettes, but those vignettes are all fascinating and the editing is great so it still ended up being tight and well structured.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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Then the story gets much more intriguing with the introduction of Yubaba’s sister. The second act and mostly the latter half of it features a terrific use of build-up to the action and it rises the tension and stakes superbly.

Of course my favorite act is the third one as it is the culmination of everything we had learned previously about this world. That train is just breathtaking, those travelling scenes are transcendent in quality and the imagery is unforgettable.

Then we have the greatest scene from this film which is of course the goodbye scene between Zeniba and Chihiro and then the marvelous dragon flight which includes a great realization and an excellent, fascinating answer to the mystery of how she and Haku met. The final test was great and of course everything about that ending rings awesome. Beautifully filmed and immensely resonant in terms of emotion. The film reward you for taking this long trip with such a moving, deep final scene.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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Let’s talk about the film’s characters. Chihiro is a one of a kind protagonist and quite possibly the studio’s best creation. She is spoiled, clumsy and childish at first, but upon taking this amazing, fantastical journey, she becomes much more independent, stronger and more responsible and brave. It is an archetypal hero’s journey, but the one done infinitely better than most as it takes its necessary time to develop and thus feels all the more special.

Haku is also excellent despite appearing in not so many scenes. His mystery backstory is intriguing and very well resolved and his dragon form is striking and his job is very well utilized. The relationship between him and Chihiro is never overly emotional and just right.

Yubaba is such a hilarious character. At first menacing and all-powerful, but later deconstructed to a mean old lady. I loved her interactions with each of the characters. Her giant baby is so funny and her story with Zeniba is realistic and a lot of fun. Her sister is the polar opposite of her and a good witch. Loved her and her heartwarming relationship with Chihiro.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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No-Face is fascinating. He is a famous Japanese spirit, but he can be interpreted as being the metaphor for loneliness which many of us deal with and people are struggling much more these days and thus he is very relatable and endearing. I loved his many forms and how his backstory remained a mystery. I also loved that he stayed with Zeniba in the end as both need some company. Certainly the film resolved each of the characters’ stories successfully.

Boiler Man is very sweet and caring and I just loved everything about his working steampunk environment and those employees of his are so incredibly cute and feisty. Chihiro’s parents serve their purpose and to me Lin is wonderful as this on surface calculated, yet ultimately very caring and good friend to Chihiro. Every character here is great and every spirit and creature is memorable even if they are not too present.

Spirited Away features absolutely breathtaking animation. What is there yet to say that hasn’t already been said? This film utilizes on the power and pure imagination and art of hand-drawn animation superbly and rare are animated films with better animation than this one. Only Walt Disney’s earliest films can compare honestly.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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The film is colorful in just the right amount, it is both dark and light in equal amount both in terms of animation and atmosphere and it has absolutely terrific character designs with each spirit being fascinating, different and unique. The humans also look great. The various sets are amazing, each one of its locations is beautifully explored and mesmerizing and the action is so well executed.

It has some of the best world building that I have ever witnessed. I felt as if I really went into this spirit world and I felt as if I also learned something and became more adult just like Chihiro. The movie gives the child in all of us the opportunity to dream again and because it is so dark and serious at times while being funny and lightweight at other times, it manages to be perfect for both children and adults. A perfect mix of everything that the best of animation can offer.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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In terms of the humor, it succeeds. It is rarely used, but quite enjoyable and endearing when it happens. I loved the cutesy factor here, but I also admired the inherent darkness of this world as well as it reach themes which span from growing up to greed (best exhibited in those bathhouses) to environmentalism (refreshingly subdued here for Ghibli) to Japanese folklore. The film truly is very smart and consistently deep and transcendent.

The action is never overwhelming and is excellent and sparingly used. The runtime of two hours is perfect for this film and it never feels long despite for animation long runtime. That is because this world and this story are so rich that they needed more time. And the pacing is excellent.

The tone is diverse and the score is phenomenal! I loved this score and in my opinion the dragon flight scene is the best scene in the movie not in small amount thank to that gorgeous, moving and highly transcendent score which is honestly magical in its quality.

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Spirited Away Movie Review

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The attention to detail is magnificent, the dialogue is terrific and the film is unforgettable in its every aspect. Hayao Miyazaki directed Spirited Away marvelously and it clearly is a work of art and magnum opus from this famous director who was clearly making a masterpiece here. It thankfully got its Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and it is critically acclaimed for all the obvious reasons I stated above. It is the best that both Studio Ghibli and anime have to offer and one of the best overall film of all time.

With breathtaking, absolutely wondrous animation, stellar direction, meticulous world-building with an overwhelming attention to detail, terrific character development and extremely powerful score which is honestly one of the best in film history, Spirited Away is an undisputed masterpiece and one of the rare films that can easily be called art. The story is well crafted with great influences, a diverse tone which ranges from cute and endearing to dark and atmospheric, high emotional resonance and a great character journey for the protagonist. The film manages to be magical, sometimes serious, at times funny, but always engaging and simply fascinating. The entire, wonderful new world is created here with an impeccable attention to detail which is a reason why it has such a lasting appeal and endless replay factor. Consequently, it is a pure masterpiece and undoubtedly one of the best film ever produced.

My Rating – 5

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Beatriz at Dinner (2017)

Beatriz at Dinner Movie Review

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Beatriz at Dinner Movie Review

Beatriz at Dinner is a 2017 indie drama film directed by Miguel Arteta and starring Salma Hayek and John Lithgow. It is one of the best indies of the year.

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All tears flow from the same source

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Beatriz at Dinner Movie Review

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I love movies that are self-contained in time and place and that are simplistic, but deep in themes. Beatriz at Dinner is that movie. We follow a Mexican woman who winds up at a dinner organized by her boss. There she gets into an argument with a cold businessman and is just so different from each person there.

I thoroughly empathized with her and she is such a relatable person to me and a wonderful soul. Certainly I am not as great of a person a she is, but I also have trouble accepting the death of animals which most do easily. I am also a highly emotional person and I do think that most people in this world are cold, selfish and just bad human beings and thus her troubles felt all the more real for me.

The movie showcases brutally how a great, emotional person cannot really live in this world and cannot cope with so much pain and sadness surrounding them. And in that manner it is one of the most brutally dark and unfortunately realistic films that I have ever seen. For some it may be too pessimistic, especially that dark ending, but to me this is real as I feel like her too and the ending was deep to me and very satisfactory.

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Beatriz at Dinner Movie Review

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The only problem Beatriz at Dinner has is that it is just way too heavy-handed at times and overly simplistic and black-and-white in the portrayal of Beatriz and especially Doug. Beatriz at least has her dark urge near the end, but Doug is overly villainous which was a problem.

But I still really liked these characters. I liked all of the others as they had minor roles, but they did make an impact and were all very realistic. Its cringe comedy elements fully worked and the awkward dinner felt painful but necessary to sit through. This is how people talk and especially rich people. I found the movie’s willingness to attack businessmen, small talk and Americans highly refreshing. Loved it.

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Beatriz at Dinner Movie Review

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The actors and actresses all did a great job, but of course the highlights are John Lithgow and Salma Hayek. He proved how great of an actor he is and how brutally underrated too. He is an indie darling and here he portrayed one of his darkest characters. His subtle facial expressions, especially of smugness and disbelief, were amazingly grounded in reality and just phenomenal.

But Salma Hayek is even better. Here she gave one of the year’s very best female performances in such an amazing, career defining role. Her facial expressions also drive her performance as anger, shyness and especially pain are very much felt in her every scene. Amazing work that should be honored.

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Beatriz at Dinner Movie Review

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Beatriz at Dinner is the definition of a phenomenal indie drama. The themes are rich, the film is deep how smart and especially emotional it is. Sometimes the pain is overwhelming and the ending is definitely heartfelt. The dialogue is mostly fantastic and only the film’s sometimes bombastic instead of subtle approach felt subpar. And of course I loved the score and especially editing as the film is deftly, brilliantly edited and structured into a coherent, tight whole. It is a seventy minute long movie and it did not need any more minutes. It is perfect this way and it is a shame that most filmmakers do not realize this.

Beatriz at Dinner is an amazing indie drama. Sometimes the themes are heavy-handed, but for the most part the dialogue is clever, the film is deep in themes and especially in emotion as it is heartfelt and overwhelming to witness. John Lithgow is absolutely phenomenal as he always is and Salma Hayek gave one of the year’s finest performances in a tour de force performance. This movie is tightly edited, darkly humorous, brutally realistic and very relatable to me personally leading to one of the best films of 2017.

My Rating – 4.5

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Movie Review

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a 2011 fantasy swashbuckler film directed by Rob Marshall and starring Johnny Depp. It is a pretty disappointing entry.

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You know the feeling you get when standing in a high place,

the sudden urge to jump…

I Don’t have it

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Movie Review

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This is by far the weakest entry in the series so far. It is much weaker than the original trilogy as it has many unfortunate choices in the production and story. Now I liked that it was shorter in its runtime and thus much better paced than the previous films, but the story is weaker this time around and not particularly exciting.

I liked that Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are disposed of here as they have always been dull to me, but I have to say that Penelope Cruz is a very poor substitute. She has never been a great actress and especially in American films such as this one she is quite weak. Her performance is mediocre and the character herself is not as well defined and is quite annoying.

Captain Barbossa is also pretty repetitive here and not as great as in previous entries. As for Blackbeard, Ian McShane did a good job in a fun role, but the character was underutilized. Gibbs is great and I loved that beginning as the court scene was hilarious and seeing the fun, strong friendship between Jack and Gibbs is awesome. Jack saves the film as he is still entertaining and memorable in the role. Also, that mermaid and her boyfriend are so boring and both should have been cut off from this film.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Movie Review

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So On Stranger Tides has a solid ending, a great beginning and some action scenes are particularly entertaining and well executed, although again overwhelmingly present. The story is okay, but nothing remarkable and the humor and characterization should have been stronger.

I also found the film surprisingly lacking in terms of fantasy elements which was odd and it made the movie less exciting. I loved the various locations used here, all gorgeous to look at. The film sounds and looks great, but I wouldn’t say that the enormous budget of over 300 million was needed here. That is insane. So in the end, the film is infinitely inferior to the first and second one and even the third messy movie is much more interesting than this entry.

On Stranger Tides is such a disappointing entry in the series and so much weaker than the original trilogy. I loved its locations, score and some scenes were quite fun. Jack is also reliably good and memorable. But unfortunately the other characters are boring and the addition of Penelope Cruz hurt the film tremendously. She was never a great actress and here she gave a mediocre performance in a very annoying role. It is a shorter film, but owing to its odd lack of fantasy elements, it is mostly not as exciting as the previous entries.

My Rating – 3

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Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Annabelle: Creation Movie Review

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Annabelle: Creation Movie Review

Annabelle: Creation is a 2017 horror film directed by David F. Sandberg. It is one of the best installments of the Conjuring universe.

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Who cares? Run!

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Annabelle: Creation Movie Review

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This is one of the most surprising films I’ve seen recently. Absolutely stupendous. I expected it to be much better than ‘Annabelle’ as that movie is so incredibly mediocre, but I didn’t expect the greatness that I got here as the film at times rivals ‘The Conjuring’ and that is a huge accomplishment.

It is basically an origin story of the doll and a prequel to the original film. In terms of being a prequel, it works stupendously as that final scene ties it up with the original so well. But it is a competent horror story in its own right which stands on its own as its very own beast.

Annabelle: Creation is quite scary. Just like with ‘It’, the movie follows children and thus I felt the danger much more and I do hope that the filmmakers realize this and start making more child-oriented horror films as I am infinitely more disturbed seeing a child than a woman in horrific peril.

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Annabelle: Creation Movie Review

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The film is scary, but it takes its time to get there and that build-up is excellent and the atmosphere is phenomenal. I love historical horror films and this particular period coupled with the orphanage setting led to such a unique, highly interesting horror flick both in time period and in setting. The attention to detail in recreating both is quite stellar.

Let’s talk about the highlights. The best scene is the wheelchair sequence. It happens during the day which is highly admirable and it is all the more scary for it and for the fact that it happens so suddenly. It was inventively filmed with great camera angles and that entire scene is an important plot point while being a genuine shocker in its own right. Another great scene is the well scene and I loved the staircase scene too. The scarecrow is creepy as well. All of these feature outstanding camera work and highly memorable imagery.

Sister Charlotte is a fine character and I really liked the married couple and their backstory was excellent. But the kids are the highlights and mostly just Janice and Linda. I felt sorry for Janice because she had to go through so many horrific things and Linda was such a cute, yet very brave kid. The two shared a wonderful friendship and it was a shame that they had to separate.

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Annabelle: Creation Movie Review

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The performances from the actors are very good and all of the kids did a very good job and they were even quite realistic. The film is very well scored and superbly shot. Definitely some scenes were pretty formulaic and also unfortunately bordered on implausible behavior from the characters, but most of the scenes made sense and were much more realistic or believable than most of the other horror pictures. It is technically a very competent, rich and far from cheap movie that led to it being one of the best horror sequels of all time and another phenomenal horror film from 2017. David F. Sandberg outdid himself as this movie is much better than ‘Lights Out’.

In a year full of great horror films, Annabelle: Creation is another success, but this time it is also one of the biggest pleasant surprises recently. It features excellent camera work, memorable imagery and effective creepy atmosphere and thus the scary scenes fully worked and some were even inventive. The highlights are the staircase scene and especially the wheelchair flight sequence which was unbelievably effective and quite disturbing. The child characters and actors are pretty good, the story is also competent and the film has a very good ending that ties it well with a much inferior original film. It is undoubtedly one of the best horror sequels ever.

My Rating – 4.5

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Annabelle (2014)

Annabelle Movie Review

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Annabelle Movie Review

Annabelle is a 2014 horror film which is the spin-off from ‘The Conjuring’. It is the weakest entry in this cinematic universe by far.

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May God have mercy on your soul!

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Annabelle Movie Review

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I really did not like this film. It isn’t horrible, but it is a giant mediocrity on almost every level. In terms of storytelling and characterization, it is tired and uninspired. The doll herself is truly terrifying in look, but unfortunately they never really utilized her as she only got a couple of scenes which was simply ridiculous. It was a giant missed opportunity.

Mia and John are your basic, boring white couple and there is nothing about them that is even remotely interesting. They are just there. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is so ridiculously bad and stupid. Father Perez is much more memorable with ‘Once Upon a Time’s Tony Amendola giving a fine performance. Ward Horton was simply horrible, but at least Annabelle Wallis is quite competent in the main role.

As for Evelyn, I have to say that I was furious how they killed her off in the ending. Her choice to sacrifice herself instead of Mia was just ridiculous to me and beyond stupid. The fact that they killed her and made it seem okay was atrocious enough, but the fact that that led to such a bad message or a lack of any was even more troublesome.

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Annabelle Movie Review

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Annabelle is competently acted for the most part and most of the scares are fine, if not great. But the problem with it is that it is surprisingly restrained and tame in its approach with basically only a couple of action/scare sequences and that’s it.

They went with the more restrained, elegant approach but because the film was so typical in plot and execution and because it lacked in atmosphere, it thus ended up being incredibly boring to sit through. It is funny how they managed to screw up this simple and ripe for scares concept and thus Annabelle ended up being such a weak, mediocre spin-off of an infinitely better movie.

Annabelle is a giant mediocrity. It has some fine performances, but the characters are so incredibly boring and the film is uninspired in execution and with a particularly odd choice of being restrained. It is a very dull, tired spin-off which should have had much more action in it. The ending is also infuriating how stupid and just wrong it is.

My Rating – 2.5

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Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men Movie Review

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Children of Men Movie Review

Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction thriller film directed by Alfonso Cuaron and starring Clive Owen. It is one of the best genre films of the 2000s.

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Your baby is the miracle the whole world has been waiting for

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Children of Men Movie Review

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It is set in 2027 Britain. In the future, humans are infertile and for the last eighteen years there has not been a single birth. To me this concept is highly original and ripe for solid thrills which it does have a lot to offer. But there is one problem here and that is the ambiguity of it. I do realize that most may prefer this, but I wanted at least bits of information when it comes to infertility and why it came to be in this bleak future world and the movie did not give me any answers whatsoever which was pretty lazy.

I liked the mix of science fiction concept, drama and intense thriller. This is one of those dystopian films that are very dark, but not overly dark as I loved the theme of hope which was well explored. So the film is bleak, but still hopeful and ending on such a wonderfully ambiguous, but still hopeful note. And I really liked its religious parallels. My favorite scenes are the ending, the death of Caine’s character which was beyond tragic and that famous car chase which was brilliantly and so realistically executed.

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Children of Men Movie Review

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Clive Owen is excellent in what is arguably one of his best performances. Julianne Moore is surprisingly underutilized here, but she still made an impression. Both of their characters are great and Kee is also very likable, but it is Michael Caine who surprised me the most here as he played a very different character than usual. He portrays a hippy and a highly endearing one and never has he been more likable in a role, at least for me.

Children of Men is technically terrific. Certainly the film is a cop-out in terms of special effects and I disliked that this future was way too restrained technologically speaking, but it was believable having in mind that infertility happened. The despair and also hope was felt as the film conveyed its atmosphere so well.

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Children of Men Movie Review

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The direction from Alfonso Cuaron is terrific and this surely is one of his best works. His deft hand behind all of this project is definitely felt. The score is also very good, especially the use of religious score to accompany its religious imagery. I loved the atmosphere and I really liked the cinematography which is particularly accomplished here along with the editing. It is deft and the film is never at all boring or rushed. It works as a pretty great chase thriller above all else and it is one of a few dystopian films that never overstays its welcome.

Children of Men has a very strong concept despite not giving any answers when it comes to it. It is a phenomenal chase thriller and a dystopian film that earns its bleakness and darkness as the atmosphere is so strong and the sense of despair and also hope is felt in almost every scene. It has a bunch of unforgettable sequences such as that wonderfully ambiguous ending and that highly memorable, perfectly executed car chase sequence. The performances are great, Cuaron’s direction is superb and the film has memorable imagery leading to a highly competent sci-fi thriller.

My Rating – 4.5

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Three Colors: Blue (1993)

Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

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Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

Three Colors: Blue is a 1993 Polish-French drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski and starring Juliette Binoche. It is a solid, but boring film.

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Now I have only one thing left to do: nothing.

I don’t want any belongings, any memories.

No friends, no love. Those are all traps

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Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

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It is about a woman who loses her husband and child in a car accident and tries to live a normal life afterwards. She tries to get rid of all their things and forget but the past still haunts her and her husband’s past ties catch up with her and she has to deal with them.

The plot itself is quite good and the film is thematically very solid. It deals with grief in a very solid and realistic manner and it portrays a broken woman in a very honest way. However, it isn’t as deep as it thinks it is and it doesn’t have anything deeper and new to say about grief and loss and it just sort of presents its story without diving deeper into it.

I found Juliette Binoche’s performance to be superb here and it truly is one of her career best works. She had to play a devastated woman and she did bring it emotionally. She gave a magnetic performance in her movie as this entire story relies basically only on her as we got to see a couple of more minor characters and that’s it.

Three Colors: Blue definitely is a slow movie. But it is not a slow-burn in a positive sense. It is mostly a very boring, tedious experience that is slowly paced for the sake of it and mostly pretentious and not truly artistic.

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Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

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I found the direction solid and the cinematography is excellent. Some choices are great such as the use of the color blue (liberty) as well as that interesting editing technique with interesting cuts that – when over – bring you to the exact same scene. The film is definitely very well crafted overall technically and it is powerful in its emotion at times, but it is too depressing, too slow and ultimately an overrated movie that gets too much credit. I do hope that the rest of the trilogy is more interesting.

Three Colors: Blue is a very boring and depressing movie that is solid but far from great. The film is technically accomplished with excellent cinematography, editing and direction and the performance from Juliette Binoche is terrific. It also has its emotional scenes. But it is way too slow and tedious and it doesn’t delve deep enough into its themes.

My Rating – 3.5

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Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Dennis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling. I prefer it over the original.

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Pain reminds you the joy you felt was real

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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The storyline here is very difficult to comprehend at times which was mostly a good thing. The film features a very complex and detailed narrative and it flows really well. For an almost three-hour long project, it never felt like it and it honestly was never at all boring which I did not expect at all and was thus very pleasantly surprised. It is a slow movie, but a positive slow-burn experience with great build-up and a very intriguing mystery to it.

The problem with Blade Runner 2049 is that it just never has any scene that is astounding and awe-inspiring as that ending from ‘Blade Runner’. That scene was better than any scene in this film. Another thing that the original gets better is the emotional investment. This film is emotional, but never as moving as the original.

And of course thematically speaking, it also fails in comparison as it is much less deep and thematically rich and complex. Plus the first movie’s message about individuality fares much better than this film’s anti-individuality, nihilist approach. Thematically, the two movies are so different which was weird to witness.

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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But in terms of technical aspects, characterization and story, Blade Runner 2049 is better than the original and thus a better film, but not by far and it is definitely slightly overrated as it’s far from a great film. As for the story, I liked most of it, but the highlight was the twist near the end which literally deconstructed one of the biggest clichés of any genre film and I admired the heck out of it.

I really liked K as he is such a well developed, very likable hero whom you like to root for. Deckard is also quite memorable here and Luv is definitely such a badass female villain who stole the show in her every scene. I really disliked Jared Leto and his character here, totally not needed. Harrison Ford actually gave one of his finest and most emotionally charged performances here and the same can be said for Ryan Gosling who is the star and soul of the entire movie.

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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Blade Runner 2049 truly is a cinematic achievement in every sense of that word and I am so glad that I saw it on the big screen. The direction from Dennis Villeneuve is absolutely terrific and after this film and terrific ‘Arrival’, he truly emerges as a talent to follow when it comes to serious, hard science fiction.

The acting is strong across the board as is the directing and the script is stellar, but the visuals are simply mesmerizing. The score is very good although not great and the sound design is particularly effective, loud and it builds the atmosphere so well. But the highlight is the cinematography from Roger Deakins which is stunning and couple that with high-tech gadgetry and cars, timeless special effects and such outstanding, artistic sets and high fashion and you’ve got a positive assault on the senses.

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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It has such awesome atmosphere which is felt from the beginning and it transports you to its world so beautifully. Truly the film felt like a work of art and in that department it trumped the hard science fiction and noir elements to it which again led to a more visually and audio driven than truly clever or deep film.

Blade Runner 2049 is much inferior to the original when it comes to deep emotion and rich themes, but when it comes to storytelling, characterization and especially technical aspects it is much better than the first film. What it lacks in truly memorable scenes and thought-provoking ideas, it more than compensates with superb performances from Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, very strong characters with a kickass female villain and great atmosphere and sound design. It also has such an admirable twist that basically deconstructed one of the biggest genre clichés. It is not a science fiction classic, but it is a work of art as evidenced by amazing cinematography, such competent direction, high fashion, fun technology and absolutely outstanding set design. In the end, I prefer it over the original, but it is still an overly praised film which is consistently good and engaging despite its long runtime, but rarely truly great.

My Rating – 4

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