Movie Reviews (1401-1450)
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Traditional action movie with a reasonable good-looking car chase and heist sequence. What is worse is the acting with a lot of thick Eastern Europe accents, the annoying editing and over-use of flashbacks so that even the biggest moron can get all the predictable plot points. The main villain overacts so much I feared he was going to get a seizure. I had to crunch potato chips heavily during the movie so I didn't need to hear the gruesome dialogue.
Realistic drama about screwed-up relationships with a good-looking cast who peppers us with smart observant dialogue and thoughts. The sex chat sequence is a stand-out funny moment. I have no problem seeing Natalie Portman in underwear, but she is a little miscast as a street stripper, especially fun is the scene where she do a personal lap dance for Clive Owen without ever taking off a single shred of clothing - now that is classy but not very believable.
Historic drama blended with Greek tragedy. Gorgeous set design, costumes and beautiful small details make this a very epic film that deserves praise for trying to show this larger-than-life story tainted in myth with a realistic approach. Gruesome, realistic battle sequences. Angelina Jolie act like a witch, Rosario Dawson oozes sex and Christopher Plummer shines in a small cameo. Colin Farrell is an inspired choice as the leading actor and while he may not "click" in every scene he do give the role everything he got and has several moments that works fantastic. The film may be to hard to grasp for people without a slightest historic understanding as it has numerous time jumps and don't tell the story in chronological order. It has also hurt the movie that it has been released in three different edits and the first released was by far the worst one as it jumps through scenes like a student with ADHD who only scans through a book without really reading it. Two false starts also add to the problems. It would also have been more effective if it had shown the effects of Alexander's death at the end too. The quote "Some men's failure towers over others successes" is said in the film and it can also be said for film director Oliver Stone.
Franco Nero has perfect timing and a look that many leading men lacks and is excellent here even if he doesn't look like a half-blood Native American. Woody Strode as the bow-and-arrow alcoholic banjo-player and William Berger as the father of the hero also do noteworthy appearances. Even the villains and thankless romantic damsel in distress are effective. A reason for this could be that the movie was improvised and made as it was seemed fit and this made this film a little unpredictable. What is incredible is that the story fits as well as it do. I also like the unique atmosphere that hint on something supernatural at play. The action is also nicely edited with a lot of Sam Peckinpah-inspired slow-motion shoot-outs and deaths, but the music is completely out of place with singers that not only sings out-of-tune but also can not pronounce a single word of English. They probably hoped to make a beautiful ballad of epic proportions but it is so absurd and strange that it is hard to understand how it made it through the ears of the director.
Overkill in repetitive action scenes (mayhem explosions and human heroes rescued by Autobots). This new sequel also lasts so long that I could not hold my eyes open for the final showdown. Again we follow petty humans in these films when the franchise is called "Transformers" and the entire cartoon series was based upon the robots and had not one single interesting human character - so why do they continue doing this? The only good thing to say about this film is that the Dinobots are finally here and Peter Cullen still have the voice for Optimus Prime.
Almost every frame shot is like a magic dream painting come to life. Tim Curry is effective as Lord of Darkness stealing every scene and the captivating Mia Sara is a delicious princess especially when she is turned to the dark side and the scenes when she is with Darkness turns the movie into "Beauty and the Beast in Hell". The movie also exist in two versions that are both interesting as they have two different soundtracks and with two running times (one around 90 minutes and the other is two hours), but Tom Cruise is too flat and too young for his role as he lacks both experience and the necessary gravitas for this film and the annoying comic reliefs add nothing to the overall story.
Sequel that opens with a title music that is a tiny bit disturbing and the film at least tries to follow up on some plot points from the original movie and there is some good ideas in it. Even if it is regarded one of the worst movies at least it is more fast-paced than numerous other movies I have seen, but I can confirm that Linda Blair can not hold the movie as a leading actress on her own and there is way too much psycho-hypnosis babble. The story is confusing story and the editing is all over the place. Richard Burton also seem to have hard time with his character. A failure for sure, but an intriguing failure none-the-less.
The saga returns to more realistic and dirty colors skipping it's more comic strip style from the prequel movies. The story is simpler and it's setup is actually good (a search for Luke Skywalker). Heroine Daisy Ridley looks like a cute mix of Keira Knightley and Megan Fox and she is hard to take my eyes off. The franchise still deliver excellent effects, sound and sets and we also get the return of franchise friends we haven't seen in thirty years. Giving a Storm Troopers a personality was a good idea too. Action has also never been more "Star Wars-y" where one actually feel there is danger in the battles. Convenient meetings makes the universe feel small though and the film is a touch too nostalgic as if the makers were afraid of making the movie stand alone as it is full with echoes from the original films. I also hate the "surprise" twist at the end which annoys me enormously as it is so simple and badly directed that I thought it was seeing a hologram twist, but no this was the real deal. Hell, I'm still annoyed by it.
A family-oriented animated version of "Robin Hood" that gives kids the possibility to learn about the legend of Robin Hood but with animal characters and music numbers. Likable animal characters, but Peter Ustinov's voice steals scenes in the role of Prince John as does his sidekick Terry-Thomas as the serpent Hiss. It is a very light movie and has that cruder and simpler animation that Disney seem to have during their problematic 1970s period. Never understood why this movie is not more beloved than it is.
Accessible to both young boys and girls. This is a beautifully drawn movie inspired by the book that is beloved by generations. Basically this tells three separate stories but they are all rather good.
A fun reinvention of fairy-tale cliches, characters and a cool dragon to "slay". Fun dialogue and slapstick humor, but the outcome is never surprising and why do always the comedic sidekick has to be voiced by an Afro American? Some dialogue not the best for the smallest children in the family and the Gingerbread Man's fate can be scary torturing stuff for some.
Sequel that introduces new character Puss in Boots - the cutest and most dangerous cat voiced with perfection by Antonio Banderas, but the villain is an annoying Fairy Godmother and the predictable "I need to change my behavior so my love can accept me" story line is used for this one.
The Ups: It widens the Shrek universe and adds new characters to the mix and the red dragon is back. It resolves some minor plot holes from the second film, but what is usual the case with these animated movies the supporting fairy tale characters are the best and have the funniest moments. Worse is the story about the new successor to the throne which is a boring one seen in countless films. The body change subplot between cat and donkey doesn't work at all with only one joke that is funny too. The series start to drag by this one.
The final chapter in the "Shrek" saga with this cast together. It deliver the same excellent animation work and interesting fairy tale world. The first sequence is excellently realized how someone is trapped in the same boring routines of everyday life and wish to go back to when one was free and had no commitments, but afterwards the story become a spin on "It's a Wonderful Life". Memorable for seeing a very fat Puss in Boots and the evil Ratcatcher is also a fun dangerous presence that has a much more lasting effect than the main villain. But, we all know the reset button will be pushed at the end so why didn't they have much more fun with the characters and this world going totally bizarre and over-the top? A missed opportunity of a film in my eyes.
The Ups: Great use of 3D CGI effects and beautiful animated animals and inventions in the house itself is the most memorable images from this film, but why did we need those pesky humans in this film. They only go around shooting with a big rifle at the cat and ruining what could have been a cute, true family movie.
Better and more detailed dragons and characters that has grown up since the first film make the story more "adult" and interesting with higher stakes. Sadly, the film ends with a predictable death of a beloved character so that the main character can learn how to live his life on his own legs, but up till that point the film is pretty great actually.
Sam Raimi deliver an excellent gypsy curse story that has some essence of the old E.C. Comics' comic book stories mixed with his own fast-paced editing style and unique blood-effects that consist of (at least one shot where) eyeballs jumps off the screen. I like Alison Lohman who manage to make her character likable and I did cared for her fate and how she tried to stop the gypsy curse. Lorna Raver is also 100% believable as the old gypsy that curse her. It is a visually memorable film with atmosphere and a lot of fun moments. This movie is supposed to be 100% camp comic book horror movie with a gimmick ending - it just misses the Crypt keeper at the beginning and end laughing his teeth out.
Beautifully shot documentary of animals that live underwater or a large portion of their lives in it. Poetic narration from Pierce Brosnan. It may not tell anything new, but seldom has the sea looked more inviting.
Re-telling of the ultimate "Uncanny X-men" story. Some great character additions to the X-men family and even appearances by characters though to be long dead makes this a very satisfying chapter and among the better ones. I only thought that it would have been more satisfying if the movie had sent a lesser-used character than Wolverine through the past given someone else a bigger chance to be in the spotlight. I also hated the preachy resolution with Mystique that seemed put there only so that we could see more of Jennifer Lawrence in blue body paint. Still, a satisfying entry in the series.
A more complex, character detailed superhero movie that has huge consequences for future adventures and even for the TV-series "Agents of Shield" as our hero is trapped in an enormous political conspiracy. The movie has some fantastic action, but Robert Redford's reason for being in this movie fool no one and the possible death of Nick Fury is even less convincing. Among the better Marvel movies though.
Expands and dare to go different ways than any other Marvel movie up to this point. It is more humorous, colorful and has even talking CGI characters that actually have both a heart and character. Excellent in almost every department (especially the 1980s soundtrack) and it almost never lets go in pace and inventiveness. There is even a guest appearance by Howard the Duck for Christ's sake. Closest to a "Star Wars" feeling I have had in thirty years. Only the villains are a little forgettable.
The Ups: You get to see two of your favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agents having a coffee break talking about the small missions. It started a norm of Marvel making some short films to add extra details to their films, but this one is boring and only for fans as it doesn't add much. It is probably of bigger interest to fans of the S.H.I.E.L.D. series than the movies too.
Clark Gregg gets to do some fighting for a change while Jessica Manuel is a cute Geena Davis-lookalike that I hope to see more of in the future. A self-contained easy digested short just like the cookies agent Coulson buy at the end.
Cute bank robbers try to take an interesting item from the aftermath of the Avengers- movie. Some of the smaller supporting characters from SHIELD try to stop them in this hit-and-miss story.
Hayley Atwell gets to kick some ass again in this mini-pilot to what would become a short-lived series. It looks good and Atwell is lovely as the lead, but it doesn't surprise much.
Well done short film where Ben Kingsley reprises his Marvel role and we get some new revelations that changes the story in the "Iron Man 3" film as "the actor who played the Mandarin" gets to feel the true wrath from the real Mandarin. Sam Rockwell also reprises his role and show his true gay colors. Probably the only real good one-shot short as it really expands and corrects some faults.
Relish the fact that Audrey Hepburn both sing and dance with a happy funny face. It is a colorful, superb choreographed movie Stanley Donen musical movie and a great tourist commercial for Paris. It is the pen-ultimate retire film for Fred Astaire who still can swing himself around as a 58-year-old. Kay Thompson almost steals the film from the lead actors as her opening number is a classic movie moment and surely the best song in the entire film.
Cute and charming Swedish comedy about a man who falls for a Muslim woman who is to get married in an arranged marriage. Some surprising but good-hearted rude moments is mixed with fun, believable characters. It ends in typical Hollywood happy ending.
In the 1980s this was a controversial film in Sweden as it told about corrupt policemen and women who practiced their own law with violence and took bribes. Any movie that gets the official police to complain and try to stop a movie probably hit some truths in it and is worth a watch, but the film is to be honest is a little boring as there is never a mystery who the bad guys are. The need to tell about the hero cop's private life is also a big mistake. I liked the dark cinematography the most.
Sweet romantic comedy of the type Hollywood do "by the numbers" with a story that we have gotten in Norway about a man-pig he learn how to finally love and find someone to share a family. There are no risks or surprises what-so-ever in the film so it all depend on how much you like the actors. Ane Dahl Torp (while good as a love interest) lack any believably in the role of doctor so it is Line Verndal who steals the film as the overlooked girlfriend. Several Norwegian celeb cameos feel misplaced and forced and makes no sense, the worst is a Espen Eckbo appearance as a taxi driver.
A geniune feel-good movie that also highlight persons with special needs. Likeable acting with fun dialogue and unique characters. Refreshingly without a morale lesson at the end made this film a surprise Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Film for Norway.
The Ups: It is a cute short production where Pluto becomes mother to sixteen newly hatched chicken. One chicken pulls Pluto ear and the rooster fights against the dog over parental duties, but mostly it is only Pluto cuddling with the chickens. My big question is this though: "what happened with the chickens after Pluto decided to do another short story and leave the small cute flock to their doom?"
The Ups: Long before "Happy Feet" we got a different happy dancing penguin who tries to impress his girlfriend with a cone of ice and a little bit of fish. As always any type of Disney animated short is solid animated and it is tons better than that new over-long animated feature.
An atmospheric beautiful animated Academy Award winner about nature and what happens just before and after a big storm renders an old mill even more weather-weary and broken. Who said that animated short movies are not art? This is one of many that should be shown to those who doubt it.
A stage show to raise money to the orphans go wrong when the kids start to make rampage. Goofy, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow has a fun stage dance that feels like a precursor to the hippo dance in "Fantasia" and Donald Duck has to face sabotage from the crowd. Annabella Clock's overlong song should have been stopped too as it is boring.
The Ups: Disney re-telling of John Henry make him into an Afro-American Thor with a Hammer in this fantastically animated short. Sadly it never triggers the right buttons and becomes a mediocre tale of "man against machine" instead of him fighting prejudice and work slavery.
One of the saddest and most downbeat Disney shorts that the company has ever done even leaving the H.C. Andersen sad ending intact and showing the dark side of how poverty affect those most tiny and vulnerable of us. Add the gloomy classical music and big sad eyes of the heroine and the film leaves everlasting images into my brain.
A traditional old-fashioned hand-made animation short of the classic Disney style about Nessie. Is there an evil Scottish Donald Trump put into this film? Sadly, the story never clicks and I found it to lack charm.
Seems gloomy at first but ends up as one of the cuter and most romantic shorts that has ever been produced by Walt Disney. Deserved it's Academy Award Win for Best Animated Short due to it's lovable goodhearted nature.
An excellent celebration of Mickey Mouse from the old black and white days to the explosion of modern 3D effects and color. The story is old-school fun with Peg-leg Pete stealing Minnie Mouse and Mickey trying to rescue her. Fun help from supporting characters too and this is one of the best Mickey shorts in ages making me forget (almost) his dreadful appearances in "Mickey's Playhouse" on T.V. This is the Mickey Mouse we need.
Hard not to be charmed by this tale of "a dog's love for food that is only surpassed by the love for his owner's heart". It is full of great background details and has a cute pay-off at the end even if it is sentimental overload.
A welcome return for fans of "Frozen" as we get to see our favorite characters rig a birthday party for Anna and see what happens when Elsa gets the sneeze. A few amusing gags but the best one is the short cameo and fate to our favorite villain, Hans. But shouldn't the trolls get an invite to Anna's birthday as they helped her out? The worst part with this short movie is that seven minutes is not enough footage for my three-year-old as she cried out for more footage making my life miserable afterwards as I had to set this one on repeat...again...and...again.
Travelogue of an "impossible journey" that experts said could not be done from South America to the Eastern Islands. It records a historic archaeological event and was the documentary that lead to an fictionalized movie 60 years later. This is also the only Norwegian movie to ever win an Academy Award (for best documentary) even if it was technically shot by a Swedish cameraman and is missing the entire "highlight moment" of the journey as the photographer used up all the film on the boat and we never got to see the explorers reach land and setting their foots on shore.
One of the best photographed animal family movies. It has an universal appeal and even my three-year-old loved the movie without understanding a word that was told on screen as this is a film with 100% cute factor.
Classic comedy about a family road trip retains some charm and good pointers on all those dreadful vacations I have had in a car driving over the country. The dialogue has still some fun surprises and the long-running gag about the woman in red still work and it has some dialogue that still work, but I hate Randy Quaid and the African American stereotypes in the film. Ending is also predictable, but as they say "it is the journey that is memorable not the destination".
Another excellent shot 007 movie with beautiful sets, decor, costumes, locations and Monica Belluci as a true Bond woman - the best since Eva Green. I like the story which hints at a lot of emotion and drama that is about to break out, but the film is also underwhelming as it is hit by the "James Bond Curse" of being too long and some scenes drag. Blofeld is a character with infinite potential, gruesomeness and terror but his entire appearance here limps on one leg and never is fulfilled as if the writers didn't know what to do with him. I also hated the twists that Blofeld suddenly has a connection with Bond's past that feel wrong, especially since Daniel Craig seem totally indifferent to it. One of the worst title songs also add to the disappointment and even Jesper Christensen's appearance is weak. Lea Seydoux also feels like a teenage taken advantaged on by 007 instead of having a sexual awakening. Wanted to love it, but I found it to be an very mediocre production.
Gripping Indian movie as it shows the lives of a family that is the poorest of the poor and how they try to survive every day. Even if the movie was made on a tight budget and almost not completed it looks fantastic with great photography and realistic acting from a cast of unknowns. The story also feels 100% authentic and not a beat feels out of note. Ravi Shankar's music also add an layer and intensity especially in the dramatic mute scenes. As art it is hard to find much wrong with it. It is sad to see how modern filmtechnique and money has ruined people's patience to see a film of this quality.
Second entry in the "Apu" trilogy continues to deliver it's poetic, believable story of poverty, tragedy and a little bit hope. It has the same strengths as the original really something that is seldom to see in a sequel. Still beautifully shot and edited as we see how Apu grows up and loses a tiny bit of his innocence on his way.
The third installment is the most romantic, erotic and optimistic of the "Apu"-trilogy and it feels necessarily so too. The entire absurd wedding that happen to turn into a happy marriage give us one of the more romantic and moving couples that have been on screen and the ending is sweet and almost makes us feel that the bad circle has finally been broken.
Seventh entry managed the impossible by giving us a nice swansong to Paul Walker even if he died during production and it also manage to tie the franchise together with the critically slammed and mostly fan-hated "Tokyo Drift" movie giving Lucas Black a chance to redeem himself after not been seen since chapter three. Kurt Russell is brought into the mix and it is nice to see him have fun with his roles again as he clearly enjoys himself. Showdown is a let down and this film goes a little too far with the impossible stunts, but it is hard not to be entertained this time as well.
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