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Bm93's Film Diary for 2015: January & February

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People who added this item 934 Average listal rating (694 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
@ Blu-ray

The plot and premise of John Wick is very simple and ridiculous, but it's still so perfectly suited for this film. John Wick is not only an outstanding film because of the perfectly shot, stylized and choreographed action scenes, but because the silly plot serves as an exceptional catalyst for the action. It also causes Keanu Reeves to be a very likeable badass.

Which he truly is. Keanu Reeves is great. He's not a good actor for the most time, but this is a film that's built around his limited abilities. But the pure confidence he displays as John Wick is truly delightful. An almost unstoppable killing machine. It's also great to see that everyone in this film recognizes him as a badass. Action film of the year.
9/10


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People who added this item 322 Average listal rating (205 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.1
@ Netflix

It's not great cinema, but it's exciting and entertaining cinema. Particularly if you're fond of simple crime drama, or serial killer films. It's fun to see Elijah Wood and John Hurt wandering around while arguing and being clever guys. It's fun.

It's definitely not as clever as it possibly could have been, but for what it was, I enjoyed it quite a bit.
6/10

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People who added this item 1033 Average listal rating (630 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
@ Blu-ray

So, I defended the universally hated Fifty Shades of Grey on my last note, and now I'm going to bash the universally loved Boyhood. Film is a funny thing, eh? Or thank God there's smarter people than me out there.

What we have here is a film that features a concept that is much more interesting than the final result itself. Richard Linklater, and everyone involved, deserves a lot of credit for carrying the project through. But honestly, I think it's a gimmick that causes people to appreciate this film much more than what they would have done otherwise. I'm just having a hard time seeing that people would salute this film if it were shot on a time period of six months, instead of 12 years.

There's not really anything in Boyhood that sticks out to me. There's nothing memorable or interesting in it. Surely, it does have some sweet scenes in it, particularly those with Ethan Hawke, but I don't feel that anything leads anywhere. You could say that it's a film that delivers you small slices of life, but for that to work you'll have to resonate with the viewer and I didn't feel any connection. The film jumps around too much, it never explores any of the situations that the characters are in, or could be in. It never let them grow naturally, instead it feels forced because they're growing in real life. But it doesn't translate that well to film, because it'll just randomly skip ahead a few months or years because the real life situation demands so. And how am I supposed to care about a person that have suddenly grown without me taking a part of it?

The film is essentially two parts. The first part is when he's a little kid, and the second part is when he's a teenager. I've got problems with both part, not including what I mentioned above. Some of my issues with the first part is that they I feel that they've thrown in some very cheap, generic and unnecessary melodrama. The arguing between the mother and father and the sudden out-of-nowhere alcoholism from the step dad for instance. It just feels cheap, and what's worse is that none of it leads anywhere. It just ends because it has to end. The film is so full of potential story arcs, but there's no resolution to anything. And yes, I get that life doesn't always come with a resolution, but Boyhood just drops things because... Just because. The second half is horrible. Horrible film-school philosophy nonsense. They go on talking about how "words are stupid" and such, yet they keep on talking and pushing the horrible dialogue at us.

This is a film with a fine concept, some good stand-alone scenes and fine performances (particularly from Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette), but there's nothing in it that strikes me as being too memorable. This is a very forgettable experience.
5/10

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@ Cinema

I wrote a review for it. Check it out.
Worst Thing Ever? Absolutely Not

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@ Blu-ray

Despite being somewhat predictable, I really enjoyed this Woody Allen film. I thought it was cute, funny, charming and delightful. A little gem of a film. The script is witty, it's beautiful to look at and Colin Firth and Emma Stone got great chemistry between each other.

I will say that it's not a film with a lot of substance to it, but that's not necessarily always needed to really enjoy a film. This is a film I would gladly watch again.
8/10

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People who added this item 523 Average listal rating (337 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
@ Blu-ray

The premise itself of The Equalizer may not be wholly original, but it's executed with such style and gravitas that it makes it stand out among the rest. The action scenes are gloriously constructed with a killer musical score.

But what really makes The Equalizer so great is Denzel Washington. He's incredibly cool, calculated and awesome when he kicks ass. Which he does a lot off in this film. He's also extremely sympathetic in this film. You really want him to succeed. The villain is also great.
8/10

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People who added this item 936 Average listal rating (591 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.6
Re-watched

@ DVD

Seeing as it was Friday the 13th now, I guess I had to see one of these films, and I ended up watching the remake as I actually think that's the best one. There's a lot of Jason in it, many great kills, some more predictable than other of course and a whole lot of nudity. Basically everything you want from a film like this (realistically at least).

So with all of that going for it, it's actually quite easy to forgive it for falling short of everything else. It succeeds where it needs to.
6/10

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@ Blu-ray

This is a film that's more about the journey than the destination. There's absolutely no doubt about how this is eventually going to end. So what the film basically has to do is to get you emotionally connected enough to the characters, so that you'll shed a tear or two at the end. And while the film certainly have plenty of fine and sweet moments in it, I'm actually going to say that I find The Fault in Our Stars to be a bit overrated.

It's not a particularly depressing film, despite the inevitable ending. Instead it feels more like an uplifting film that will make you a little bit sad. There's no real drama to be found here. The film is mostly just about two people being happy with each other, despite their conditions. Almost every scene consist of happy moments, and while I can appreciate that they didn't add too much "overly sentimental Hollywood drama" into it, I would have liked some just to spice it up a bit. As it is now, the dramatic curve is rather flat.

The overall sweetness and humour in those scenes are fine though. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort got great chemistry and are equally cute in their roles. The film set their characters up great, but seeing as I never really get to feel their struggle, I'm not as moved as I should be by it.
6/10

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@ Netflix

The first Sharknado was terrible, and Sharknado 2 is just the worst thing ever. I honestly fail to see what the hype surrounding these films are about. It's like people are not aware of The Asylum, and that they've put out these quickly made, horrible excuses for quick cash for a very long time. There's no difference between Sharknado 2 and the other films that The Asylum have dumped on us previously.

There's basically nothing to like here. Nothing to laugh about. The title is amusing, but that's it. And quite honestly, that's probably the only reason for why people fool themselves into thinking that they enjoy these films. It's just cringe-worthy, and not "so bad it's good".
1/10

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People who added this item 2418 Average listal rating (1590 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
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@ Blu-ray

Very often when I come across people talking about Die Hard 4, it seems to get a pretty bad rep. And after revisiting it now, that is something I don't quite get. Sure, it's PG-13. Sure, the villain and much of the plot revolves around hacking. And this may certainly remove away a bit from the core that is Die Hard. But to say that this is a bad action film is just ludicrous and extremely silly, and butthurt fanboys need to get over themselves. It's good. Even if it isn't rated R.

Bruce Willis is in solid form here. This is probably just before he died on the inside and started phoning in everything. Here he's consistently funny and like the John McClane we got in the first three films. The film offers plenty of explosions, car chases, shootouts and fight scenes whom are all nicely handled. Now, the film could have done with less Justin Long and developed the villain more, but this is a solid action film nonetheless.
6/10

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@ Netflix

More or less a Suicide Squad film, as the main plot of this film is centred around that gang of criminals, while Batman is only popping up here and then. It's a very mature and adult-themed film, almost pushing the boundaries of its PG-13 rating. It's violent. Heads are exploding and blood is all over the place. Then there's some skin shown, and some language as well. This feels very unusual for a DC animated film, but it's very much a welcome addition.

Besides that, Assault on Arkham is quite entertaining. The different personalities of the Suicide Squad makes for some fun banter and arguing. Not every piece of dialogue manages to hit, but my overall impression is that this was a very good film.
7/10

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@ Cinema

I consider Birdman to be much more of a technical achievement than anything else. What Alejandro González Iñárritu have done with Birdman is something that should be celebrated, as he has gone into this film with huge ambitions and managed to land perfectly on his feet. At least when it comes to the technical aspects of this film. As well as the acting, which is tremendous. But when it comes to some of the other major elements that forms a really great film, I think that Iñárritu doesn't always fully strike home.

Despite the fact that the technicality of Birdman is flawlessly executed, I do believe that it turns into a minor gimmick eventually that drags away some of the emotion from the characters. There are some great characters that are established here, with some wonderful acting bringing them to life, but I do think that the characters in this film eventually end up playing second fiddle to the long tracking shots.

I do like the progression of the story, and that it toys with what's actually real or just a figment of the character's imagination. I also like that it doesn't bother with explaining too much, leaving much of the film open for interpretation. It's also very funny. Which I dug.
7/10

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@ DVD

A roughly 50 minute documentary about the making of Gorilla Interrupted. It features the main people from Red Letter Media that was involved with that film, and they go on about what a dreadful film it is, as well as what a horrible experience it was. It's a fun watch, but nothing truly insightful.
6/10

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@ DVD

It's pure shlock and it's self-aware of that. Would have been better, and more enjoyable as a very short film, but as a 70 minute long feature, it quickly got annoying and repetitive. This is despite me loving Red Letter Media, and their humour.
3/10

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@ Netflix

It's too long, and I think it clearly shows that. After about 100 minutes it starts to lose steam, and about 2/3 of the final hour is actually quite bad, in my opinion. It feels stale and aimless. The realism from the first half is thrown out the window, and every scene feels forced. The characters motivations no longer feels real and understandable, and despite real life not always being understandable, I did not believe what was going throughout huge parts of the second half of this film. Which is a problem when the first half is very believable.

The first half is absolutely beautiful in its depiction of falling in love and finding yourself. It's tenderly, yet rawly told. The dialogue, acting and situations feels real and natural. Every scene and character action have a meaning to them that further enhances the themes it brings up. Such a shame that it loses some of its grip.
6/10

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People who added this item 1035 Average listal rating (739 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.9
@ Blu-ray

Jake Gyllenhaal's brilliant portrayal of a deranged sociopath is reason enough to see Nightcrawler. A film that could be retitled The Jake Gyllenhaal Show. He's quite simply that good. But thankfully, Nightcrawler is more than just a vehicle for Gyllenhaal. It's a damned fine thriller as well, and something wholly original.

A very cleverly structured film that works in several ways. It works as some sort of modern satire over television, and the society's, perhaps unintended, crave for blood and shock value. It does a damned fine job at being a character study of a man without limitations, and it's a film that's genuinely exciting and thrilling. It's also refreshingly surprising, constantly throwing new twists and turns at you.

This is a stellar film, but it's unfortunately a film that's brought down from being a masterpiece to simply excellent because of one annoying thing. The music. I hated the score for this film. It simply didn't fit. In several scenes this film had some sort of typical, uplifting and hopeful Hollywood music, when it instead should have had something similar to what Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross usually does. Something energetic. Not this Forrest Gump wannabe music.
8/10

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@ Cinema

I'm not overly familiar with the story of Chris Kyle, nor have I read his book. So I don't know how different this film is from what actually happened, but to be honest, I don't really care that much if it's 100% accurate or not. But I do care if it's a well-made film or not, which American Sniper definitely is. It's a great, and ultimately sad film with a brilliant performance by Bradley Cooper.

Clint Eastwood skilfully juggles the different aspects of Kyle's life, giving us a nuanced look at who he was. The war scenes are tense and thrilling, while the scenes with his wife are in gripping and slightly devastating. American Sniper's portrayal of an American hero is a fascinating watch, and one that surely will stick with you after it's over. Regardless of what you may think of the subject matter.
8/10

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People who added this item 1185 Average listal rating (773 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.4
@ Blu-ray

The plot of Lucy is of course complete nonsense, but those who expected scientific accuracy in any way in a sci-fi action film about the usage of brain capacity, are acting more nonsensical than the final moments of Lucy. This is a film that's not so much about the plot, but more about putting cool things on the screen. The plot only serves as a vehicle for Luc Besson to show us cool images and visuals. Which he does.

It's short and fast-paced. There's never one boring moment in it. It doesn't bother with explaining too much of what's going on (as the similar, horrible Transcendence), but instead focuses on keeping the energy up. And whenever some explaining is needed, it's mostly done in a visually pleasing way. It's not a great film by any means, but it entertained.
7/10

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@ Cinema

I'm not really sure what to think about Foxcatcher. It's a very cold, distant and slow film. It's a film that's based upon real events that I had absolutely no knowledge of, and without that knowledge, the final moments of Foxcatcher does in some way overshadow everything that came before it.

In many ways this is a solid drama about the eccentric character of John du Pont and his relationship between Mark and David Schultz. It's also a film about power and obsession. And wrestling. Lot's of wrestling, in which some of that could have been cut out in order to trim this film down a bit. It's a very long and slow film film, and it's very often on the edge of tipping into becoming boring. But it's also about the seemingly random murder of David Schultz by John du Pont. At least, that's what the conclusion to this film is about. Seeing as I had no knowledge about the real story, when du Pont fired those deadly shots I admittedly jumped in my seat. It came out of nowhere. Now, you do sit the whole film just waiting for du Pont to snap or go crazy, as he's portrayed with some sort of underlying madness to him, but when he finally does so it's sort of anti-climatic and more of an afterthought than an actual major event. It's treated as a very weird punctuation to a film that ends up feeling empty. And because of that, I'm not sure if I liked Foxcatcher. Therefore the 'safe' rating.

The acting is naturally brilliant. Steve Carell is absolutely brilliant, and he completely vanishes into the role. Of course with the help of some great make-up, but his voice and mannerisms completes the transformation. While Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum are great as well, with Ruffalo being the stand out in his lesser showy role.
6/10

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@ Blu-ray

Unlike the most other recent Liam Neeson films, A Walk Among the Tombstones is a very slow-burned film. A very hard, adult themed crime thriller with some film-noir tendencies in it. It's a film that features a lot of 'detective' work, as opposed to simple action. There are scenes of just Liam Neeson looking around, or questioning other people. Which are all great. It's a film you get immersed into, and once some action kicks inn, it's very intense and well-done.

Liam Neeson is absolutely terrific in this role. he plays a character with some minor clichés regarding his backstory, but he never makes any big deal out of any of that, which is very refreshing. He's very sympathetic and it's easy to form an emotional connection with him. It also helps that the villains in this film are the biggest creeps ever, making us engaged into having Neeson taking them down.

If you can handle the slow pace of this film, I can't see why you shouldn't enjoy it.
8/10

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People who added this item 1031 Average listal rating (634 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
@ Blu-ray

I liked the original How to Train Your Dragon, even if I wasn't as overwhelmed by it as everyone else. How to Train Your Dragon 2, on the other hand, I didn't like. Sure, it's a beautifully animated film and there's enough visual spectacle here to entertain kids and adult alike, but I was never invested into this film. I just didn't care.

The problem is that I generally don't like any of the characters here. I think 90% of them are annoying, including the lead character, while the rest of them are just bland and dull (with the exception of the dragon, who is occasionally cute). This causes me to have an emotional disconnect to the film, leaving me cold. It doesn't help that the villain is instantly forgettable either, ensuring that the film has no primary goal to strike towards.
4/10

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People who added this item 373 Average listal rating (244 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 6
@ Cinema

Taken 3 have opened up to a lot of really rotten reviews. After seeing it however, I can safely say that those reviews are overly exaggerated. Taken 3 is mediocre. It's not horrible, nor is it the worst thing ever. It's just your average fugitive plot, that just happens to have Liam Neeson in it.

The premise we're presented with here, does take the Taken franchise into new directions, but unfortunately, everything is rather predictable. The action is decent enough, all though it could have really used a better director. Liam Neeson is naturally awesome, and is undoubtedly the saving grace of this film. taken 3 is not a good film. But that doesn't mean it's bloody awful either. People need to stop exaggerating. It's not like things are either brilliant or terrible. Taken 3 is mostly just meh, but serviceable for what it is.
5/10

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People who added this item 22 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 4.7
Torment (2013)
@ Blu-ray

There's enough premise and stuff in here for a decent 20 minute short film. Because even if it's stretched out to barely 80 minutes, which is an extremely short length for a feature film, it still feels way to long. I did like the masks of the villains, but besides that, most of whatever they did just felt laughable and very little of it made any sense whatsoever.

The "heroes" of the film are dumb and not believable. Every horror element in it is incredibly generic, so the film is very predictable. Unfortunately, it's not visually interesting (or 'cool') enough to make up for that. It's boring.
2/10

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People who added this item 838 Average listal rating (531 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.3
Taken 2 (2012)
Re-watched | Third time.

@ Blu-ray

Taken 2 ain't as good as Taken. So, if you wasn't impressed by Liam Neeson's ass kicking in the first film, you're likely to be less impressed this time. Because it's basically the same film when you come to think of it, only a bit more sloppier.

But Taken 2 features a very interesting premise that's been used a shocking few times. The idea of the family of the killed brutes in the first film, coming back for revenge. But the premise ain't explored enough and what we're left with is simply an action film that manages to entertain, but that doesn't manage to reach the same peak as the first film when it comes to thrills and emotion. Still, it's Liam Neeson.
6/10

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People who added this item 2431 Average listal rating (1583 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
Re-watched | Millionth time. Or something.

@ Blu-ray

Not many films hold up so good, even after a millionth re-watch, as Taken does. Watching Liam Neeson, the most bad-ass active actor today, search and destroy Paris in order to find his daughter is very high entertainment value. Which cinema is all about.

Certainly, this is a film that's more likely to succeed amongst Neeson fans, which I am. But for anyone who manages to occasionally appreciate a straightforward, simple, yet thrilling action film with an emotional core that should hit most people, I can't see why you shouldn't have a good time here. An action masterpiece and a personal favourite.
10/10

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@ Blu-ray

People keep raving about Guardians of the Galaxy, and while that films certainly was good, I believe it's Captain America: The Winter Soldier that ought to earn the title of being the best superhero film of 2014. Despite it perhaps being the most non-superhero film that Marvel has outed so far. Instead it feels like very old-fashioned spy thriller instead, sprinkled with some excellent action.

One thing that I really like with it is that I can really feel the stakes here. Unlike most Marvel films, there's actually a proper threat present, and there are enough twists and turns to keep the plot interesting.
Still 8/10, but a bit closer to 9 now.

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@ Blu-ray

I think that every Expendables film are guilty, old-fashioned, pleasures that can be enjoyed for their massive casts, self-referential humour and solid action. That being said, The Expendables 3 is the weakest instalment in the franchise so far.

It's loses a few points for not playing on its major strength during a huge chunk of the running time. For a while it focuses a lot on the younger actors, and not on the regular cast. Which is a major mistake as that's not the point of these films. That's not why we watch them. We don't care about Kellan Lutz and those other nobodies. We want old action stars. And when we get that, even The Expendables 3 manages to be fun.
Still at 5/10.

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People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.2
@ Blu-ray

Norway's attempt at The Fast and the Furious. Even the tagline of Børning is a word play on that. Naturally, as this is an independent Norwegian film, the budget is way smaller than any of The Fast and the Furious films, or even the most recently Need for Speed. So you're not going to see any insane stunts that you haven't seen before. The film is mostly just dedicated to fast driving, without massive stunts.

But there are many fun moments in it, and there are some humorous characters at display. It's naturally fast-paced, and as a Norwegian, it's kind of fun to see these kind of films produced here. If you're not Norwegian, however, I can see that this film would lack the extra spice to make it truly entertaining.
6/10

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Re-watched | Second time.

@ Blu-ray

The first time I saw it, I didn't care for it at all. After having seen it again now, I find myself appreciating it a lot more, even if I'm not too convinced of it. It's a film that I like more for what it did to horror as a genre, rather than as its own film.

It does have some great moments of horror, though. Like the first encounter with Leatherface and the chase scene towards the end. Those are two genuinely frightening scenes. And I do like the really gritty feel of the film, much thanks to some documentary style camera-work.

But I do feel that it drags on to long in many scenes, causing those scenes to feel more comedic than terrifying. For a film that's as short as this, that's a major flaw.
6/10

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People who added this item 98 Average listal rating (74 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
@ Netflix

Hulk Vs. consists of two short films, both of them ticking in at around the same length. Despite them being short, they feel very long though. This is because they're suite simply just two very long action sequences, merely strung together by the thinnest piece of plot possible. This causes the film to feel repetitive, and not as enjoyable as it could have been.

The one with Wolverine is definitely the better of them, because it has slightly more things going on in it other than Hulk smashing around. But it's basically just that. Hulk smashing either Wolverine or Thor. It's well-animated and voiced, but with so much rich Marvel story to explore, one should expect more than two overlong video game cutscenes.
4/10

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People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.3
@ Netflix

With Big Ass Spider! you get... A big ass spider. The thing with Big Ass Spider!, however, is that it's surprisingly good. A low-budget B-movie that doesn't try to be anything more than that, nor is it just a film that's quickly mashed together for a quick buck. No, it's a well-put together little film that manages to be what so many other low-budget B-movies fails to do. To be simple fun.

It embraces what it is by putting in a lot of effort, heart and wit. The lack of budget is compensated by a sense of humor that works really well for what it is, and the obviously weak special effects are therefore not that much of an issue. It's not a particularly memorable film, but it's short, quickly paced and fun.
6/10

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@ Blu-ray

The sequel to the Norwegian horror/comedy Dead Snow is like an opera of gore and over-the-top violence. It's incredibly silly and stupid, yet its brutality and gallons of blood and intestines makes it glorious. Nazi zombies fighting Russian zombies is just great guilty pleasure material.

It pretty much ditches the horror elements that were present in the original, and goes all out for mayhem, comedy, awkwardness and silliness. It's the kind of film that takes Norway's arguably biggest and most well-know actor, just to have him play a goofy zombie throughout the entire film. It's brilliant.
It remains at 7/10.

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Had absolutely no idea what this was, and now after seeing it, I find out that this is some kind of Disney Chanel crap. Ugh, that explains why it was so horrid and cringe-worthy. Not to mention painfully unfunny.

I can't honestly see who's going to enjoy this. No one above a certain age should find this amusing, when you take into account how much other similar and better stuff we've gotten over the years. And I can't see children below that age "getting" this vampire craze. Crap made for no one.
2/10

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People who added this item 1806 Average listal rating (1216 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watched | Third time.

@ Blu-ray

Nowadays it's easy to frown upon Frozen due to its massive hype and popularity amongst many people, and then automatically dislike it because of that. But set aside the "outside stuff" that surrounds Frozen and it's hard to not be charmed and engaged into it. It's a delightfully charming, clever, witty and emotional piece of filmmaking, and ranks amongst Disney's absolute finest films.

The film may lack a proper threat, as I feel that there's not really that much at stake here. But the relationship between the two sisters are greatly explored, and when the film is sprinkled with several memorable supporting characters and some great (almost annoyingly) songs, Frozen is a great watch.
It remains a solid 8/10

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People who added this item 658 Average listal rating (393 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
@ Blu-ray

The golden rule of cinema is quite simple: never bore your audience. First time director Wally Pfister seems to have forgotten that, as Transcendence is arguably the dullest film I've ever seen. That it took me two tries to get trough this mess says a lot, because after about 50 minutes I was so incredibly bored that I wanted to go and clean the house instead. Now, I didn't do that, but I turned off this pile of garbage, and gave it another go later. But oh my, it's so boring.

It's actually quite an achievement how they managed to take an intriguing premise and a stellar cast, and then make the film so awfully bad. The cast looks uninspired, and Johnny Depp seems to hate to be an actor during the entire film. The film is way too long, poorly edited, and there are few things in it that makes any sense whatsoever.
1/10

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Listing what I see in 2015 during January and February.

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Bml93's Film Journals (34 lists)
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