The film's much discussed and likely inaccuracies aside, when it comes… MoreThe film's much discussed and likely inaccuracies aside, when it comes to the portrayal of real occurancs of recent history, it doesn't get much better than this. The direction, the script, the acting all work in favor of a realistic, sobering and terrifying retelling of events. Tom Hanks delivers one of his strongest performances of the last 15 years as regular man getting thrown into events beyond his own control. Especially the last couple of scenes stay with you for a very long time. Sure, the showdown feels a bit like a Navy Seals recruitment video, but even that doesn't take anything away from the film's power and desperate atmosphere. It's the only part that feels even remotely hollywoodized anyway, the rest is as gritty and unpleasant as you imagine the hijacking of a freighter ship to be. Much praise has to go to the amateur actors in the Somali roles too. Not only do they give their characters a threatening face, they also look beyond the veil and ask for the reasons behind such desperate measures.
Let's the honest, the first part of the series had pretty great… MoreLet's the honest, the first part of the series had pretty great world-building, albeit with a bit too much shaky cam, but suffered from a hardly believable, unspectacular and sometimes downright silly second half. So while it was easy for the audience to embrace the interesting dystopian future portrayed, the Hunger Games had yet to kick into gear.
The sequel gets rid of the dizzying cameras, decides to takes its time getting us back into Panem and gives this world even more depth, as the winners are on propaganda tour through the districts. That sets up the rising level of tension and drama of the second act really nicely. The great news is: this time the games work too. By adding more characters that function as much more than victims and raising the stakes for Katniss and Peeta, the second half of the film is exciting, surprising, sometimes even wonderfully unpleasant, as should be. The new additions to the cast work great, especially Jena Malone, Sam Clafin and Philip Seymour Hoffman in roles that are not that easy to figure out. While Hutcherson manages to give his character much more heart and depth this time, this is still Lawrence's show, once again proving how she already is the leading lady of her acting generation. Top notch special effects, a much more spectacular setting for the game arena and unexpected plot twists make for a breath-taking finale, that ends as abruptly as imaginable. That robs the film some of its standalone merit, but leaves you wanting more and that soon. The pleasant case of a huge success that is warranted on every level.
Marvel goes fantasy. Thor's return under Game of Thrones-director Alan… MoreMarvel goes fantasy. Thor's return under Game of Thrones-director Alan Taylor's command starts out as what looks like a new adventure from Middle Earth. What connects it with the smash hit Avengers is the characters we learned to love. It's a pleasure to see Hiddleston and Hemsworth clash once again as unlikely brothers with so much history, built up by the former films and now giving this franchise its own lore.
In a film with a villain's plot that may not always make sense (but at least makes for a wonderfully messy and fun showdown) and in which the bad guy has little depth, it helps a lot that all other characters work so well and their interactions are great fun. While Thor's Asgardian companions remain a tad underused, it's Kate Dennings who pretty much steals every scene set on Earth. Asgard, on the other hand, looks greater and offers more details than before.
Thankfully the film works on both ends of the scale because between all the family drama and tragic deaths, it never takes itself too seriously and may very well be the funniest Marvel film that doesn't include Downey Jr. shooting off his mouth.
There are two post-credits scene, one half-way through preparing for one of coming attractions and another at the very end closing this film's storyline nicely.
A few minor bumps aside, Marvel keeps delivering at an exceptionally high level giving its characters and worlds more depth than before and raising the bar once again about what to expect next. Space is probably not even the limit.
This Norwegian found footage film teams up University filmers with a… MoreThis Norwegian found footage film teams up University filmers with a trapper who turns out to hunt trolls for the government, top secret, mind you. Their unlikely adventures in the Norwegian wild are as funny as they are unsettling. The creature effects are not entirely en par with Hollywood standards, which also gives the film a more light-hearted note than probably intended. That doesn't change the fact that the gorgeous landscapes and the wonderfully grumpy main character make for a great combination, a highly entertaining horror film that parodies both found footage films and documentaries, yet works as both. Extremely amusing and a surprisingly fresh take on a genre that should have been dead five minutes after Blair Witch Project ended.
The predecessor in which Hawke and Delpy walked through Vienna talking… MoreThe predecessor in which Hawke and Delpy walked through Vienna talking had an open ending. Now, years later they meet at his book reading telling the story, this time in Paris. Again, the film is little more than two people walking through a city, talking and again it works perfectly, thanks to the great chemistry between the two characters, their topics and dialogs, which hold a lot of ultimate truths about life and love. Surprisingly, Paris is not as charming a background as Vienna used to be. The result is still really charming and entertaining, like a lovely stroll through a beautiful city with someone special.
What starts out maybe a tad too weird and quirky in the first few… MoreWhat starts out maybe a tad too weird and quirky in the first few minutes soon creates its own odd little charming story of a man who loves to dream but sometimes can't tell it from reality. The movie feels very European, French even, and has director Michel Gondry's trademark effects that are simply fun and unique in their own way. That makes for a really entertaining and lovable little film with a very special sense of humor, which is certainly a bit too unusual for the general audience.
Even though the effects this alien invasion has to offer are top… MoreEven though the effects this alien invasion has to offer are top notch, every minute feels like a student film. The minimum of dialog or character development show that someone wanted to create cool action scenes and alien attacks but knew little about how to tie them into a story. So while the look of the film is major league, it never manages to grip you or make you care much about anything that's going on. At least the ending is somewhat surprising and fresh, but may infuriate viewers for all kinds of other reasons. Wasted opportunities all around.
Your enjoyment of this film probably depends on your tolerance level… MoreYour enjoyment of this film probably depends on your tolerance level for romance and the notion of The One. While there are some genuinely funny parts, mostly thanks to Carell, the film sometimes treads water when it's getting too serious or self-important. Thankfully, some of the romantic parts work too, especially Gosling and Stone's date, who have a good chemistry together. In the end the movie picks up speed again and surprises with a pretty decent twist, but easily could have been 15 minutes shorter altogether. It's refreshing to see Gosling in a somewhat light-hearted role for a change, though. Overall entertaining and with its heart at the right spot, albeit a bit naive.
Let's be honest, it's a movie with owls fighting each other while… MoreLet's be honest, it's a movie with owls fighting each other while wearing helmets. Sounds horrible? I agree. But, as it turns out, the movie deserves a chance. It may be a bit too scary for the really young ones and a bit too cute for older teenagers, everyone in between and adults young at heart should have a good time with this, though. The animation is breathtakingly beautiful, as are the landscapes that give this world a sense of depth and mythology. That works great for the film's fantastic atmosphere. The characters are likable enough, the story engaging and even offers a surprise or two. That makes for a really entertaining adventure that showcases what animated films can do in terms of photorealism. I stand corrected.
Ron Howard's biopic / sports drama about two driver's rivalry during… MoreRon Howard's biopic / sports drama about two driver's rivalry during the Formula 1 season 1976 has a very European feel to it. That's thanks to the international cast as well as the look and locations of the film. It all makes things feel and look much more realistic, though. Howard doesn't play it safe by using a clean, steady look but instead allows his cinematographer and editor to have fun and rush things accordingly with some insane angles and breathless editing. That makes for ´very hectic action scenes, but they work because of the attention that goes into the characters. Hemsworth seems to be the perfect choice as playboy-racer James Hunt but Brühl steals the show by becoming the spitting image of Niki Lauda down to the gestures and manner of speaking. Their chemistry carries the film through a bit of a bumpy start. Especially the second half does everything right, from the breathless racing scenes to the personal issues and the perfectly executed solution. As far as car racing films go, it does not get much better than this, even if you have little knowledge or interest in the Formula 1 racing circus.