I know that this epic biblically inspired film directed by Darren… MoreI know that this epic biblically inspired film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, is only loosely based on the story of Noah's Ark. But, I could not believe what he actually changed! The story, the way it was set up, makes NO SENSE whatsoever, if the humanity continued. Even stars like Russell Crowe as Noah along with Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Anthony Hopkins, could not save this movie. I know that Noah received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed over $359 million worldwide, but this was definitely the worst Aronofsky's movie!
The story started when Noah was a young boy. He witnesses his father, Lamech (Marton Csokas), killed by Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone). Many years later, Noah is living with his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) and their sons Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman), and Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll), but after seeing a flower grow instantly from the ground and haunted by vivid dreams of a great flood, Noah takes them to visit his grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins). The chaos around the world is obvious, and on the way, they come upon a group of people recently killed, and adopt the lone survivor, a girl named Ila (Emma Watson). Noah and his family are chased by Tubal-Cain's men, but seek refuge with the fallen angels (looking like rock transformers) known as the 'Watchers'. Methuselah gives Noah a seed derived from Eden and tells Noah that he was chosen for a reason...
Strong visuals, ruined original Noah story, digital effects with questionable value, racism... contributed all to the fact that one of my favourite directors overnight became one of my least favourite! The film was banned in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Indonesia prior to its release because it is seen by the governments of those countries as contradicting the teachings of Islam... but actually contradicts any of the other teachings as well! You can hate me, but that is what I think about it!
I had to watch this movie twice... seriously... I could not get over… MoreI had to watch this movie twice... seriously... I could not get over some parts of the story at all, and I thought that must be a logical explanation somewhere given earlier, but I missed it... but no... Winter's Tale (released in the United Kingdom as A New York Winter's Tale) is a supernatural drama based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Mark Helprin. I have no intention of reading a book, but I hope that maybe there everything is much clearer. Written and directed by Akiva Goldsman (in his directorial debut) this is a film for people who prefer dreams to anything else. It reminded me on those love novels sold at the news-agencies in the 1970's and 1980's in Europe - no substance, just smoke-like dreams which will disappear after waking up. I have no idea what were the stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, and Will Smith thinking signing for this movie, the screenplay could not be much better that what was filmed! There was no wander that after release was panned by critics and was a bomb at the box office - it earned only half the amount of the budget of $60 million.
The story starts in 1895, when a young immigrant couple with a child is refused entry into Manhattan because they have "consumption" (TB), they decide to place their son in a model sailboat named "City of Justice" to float there safely. In 1916, the infant boy has grown up to be Peter Lake, a thief raised by a demon posing as the gangster Pearly Soames. Peter is chases by Pearly's gang and is marked for death when he decides to leave. But , when he was cornered in a confrontation, a mysterious white horse, his guardian angel, rescues him. Peter wants to run away from the city but the horse encourages him to steal from one last mansion... The mansion is the home of Beverly Penn, a young woman dying of consumption...
Initially Warner Bros. attempted to sign Martin Scorsese in 2002, but Scorsese turned down the chance to direct the movie calling it "unfilmable", and I agree with him 100%! At the end it was just this mumbo-jumbo of theories with no background or any support, making no sense. I wish I wasted this time somewhere else, regardless the grandeur of the cinematography.
Japanese animated fantasy, Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no… MoreJapanese animated fantasy, Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi?, "Sen and Chihiro's Spiriting Away") is a 2001 film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and stars Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takeshi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Takehiko Ono and Bunta Sugawara. I will use one word to describe it - wonderful!
It tells the story of Chihiro Ogino (Hiiragi), a ten-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighbourhood, enters the spirit world. Stumbling on the food street in that world, her parents are transformed into pigs by the spell of the witch Yubaba (Natsuki), and Chihiro takes a job working in Yubaba's bathhouse to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to the human world.
Miyazaki's script was based on associate producer Seiji Okuda's ten-year-old daughter, who came to visit his house each summer. Production of the animated film began in year 2000 with a budget of US$19 million, but during production, Miyazaki realized the film would be over three hours long and decided to cut out several parts of the story. I wish I could see the rest of the story! English version of the film was supervised by the Pixar director John Lasseter, a fan of Miyazaki. Screenwriters Cindy Davis Hewitt and Donald H. Hewitt wrote the English-language dialogue, which they wrote to match the characters' original Japanese-language lip movements. I haven't seen that version, I enjoyed the original with subtitles.
Just to say that this is the most successful film in Japanese history, grossing about $270-350 million worldwide. The film even overtook Titanic (at the time the top grossing film worldwide) in the Japanese box office to become the highest-grossing film in Japanese history with a ¥30.4 billion total. Critics just love it, as the audience, and this animated movie is considered one of the best films of the 2000s decade and one of the greatest animated films of all time winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards, the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival (tied with Bloody Sunday) and is among the top ten in the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14. But , even if you are over 14, better now than never!
If you want an amazing out-of-this-world story, excellent animation where technology is kept at a level to enhance the story, not to "steal the show", perfect voice acting, meticulous editing, outstanding music... and many more things... please, spend over 2 hours watching this masterpiece!
This watered down version of the war crimes at the torture place of… MoreThis watered down version of the war crimes at the torture place of Abu Ghraib is just a way to describe the opinion that "Haji's" deserve it! Look at the name of the producers (Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz) and you will understand that this American war movie inspired by the events that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison, which made worldwide news in 2004, is not made to entertain us or to inform us - it is made to change our way of perceiving these events as right at the given moment! Written and directed by Luke Moran, who co-stars alongside Sean Astin, Omid Abtahi, Sara Paxton, and John Heard, it is a perfect film for brainwashed idiots, but not for anyone who actually looks for something more that 'pride of the nation'. No emotion, no chemistry, no thrill or excitement - it is a movie which simply deserves to be forgotten! As quickly as possible... and the events need to be remembered, the way they actually happened!
The film starts in 2003, the day before 22-year-old Jack Farmer (Luke Moran) ships out for Iraq, having joined the Army Reserves in hopes of being part of something bigger than himself! With dozens of other young men, some finding themselves there because they are patriotic, others because they wanted an adventure and sheer youthful restlessness, he arrives at Abu Ghraib, 20 miles from Baghdad and formerly used by Saddam Hussein to imprison, torture and murder dissidents... I really do not want to share the story which follows because it is as bland as it comes, made to soften the image of the events which actually happened between those walls of suffering!
When Australian television network SBS program "Dateline" aired previously unpublished video showing the abuse of Iraqis in U.S. military custody at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003, we could see images of naked prisoners, some of them with blood lying on the floor. The pictures show almost the same abuses as the photos that caused Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004 - Iraqis subjected to sexual humiliation and shackled in positions tantamount to torture. Of course, Pentagon spokesperson Bryan Whitman said the Defence Department believed the release of additional images of prisoner abuse was harmful and "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world." It seems that this film is made to do completely opposite... calm down people?!
The film won the Audience Award at the Gasparilla Film Festival, the only film festival it screened at... I am not really sure what was the competition like if this was the winner!
I love British dark comedies, and I decided to watch this one directed… MoreI love British dark comedies, and I decided to watch this one directed by Pascal Chaumeil, loosely based on author Nick Hornby's 2005 novel, A Long Way Down. Well, when you have stars like Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, Pierce Brosnan, and Aaron Paul as four strangers who happen to meet on the roof of a London building on New Year's Eve, each with the intent of committing suicide, sounds like a good idea to see it ASAP.
The story starts with Martin Sharp and him contemplating suicide on New Year's Eve on the roof of the Toppers Building, high above London's streets. While he is getting ready to jump, he is interrupted by a woman, Maureen, who has the same fate in mind. She shyly offers to wait her turn, until two other strangers, a young woman named Jess and a pizza deliverer called J.J., also turn up. Only Martin is recognized by the others, having been a popular television personality before going to prison for a relationship with a girl who turned out to be 15... While chatting they have a slight accident which postponed the mission and after talking things over, the four strangers form a pact, vowing to wait at least until Valentine's Day before taking their lives...
The film premiered at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival few months ago, and I'll have to say that thanks to the actors and the sharp dialogue, regardless all the faults, this is still an enjoyable movie to watch with occasional laughs. French director Pascal Chaumeil managed to deliver a lightweight farce which is very close to Hornby's distinctively bittersweet tone. For my taste there was too much wasted time on explanations which were done to have a neat ending... but if you like light dark comedies (words match well... hahahaha) try this one.
Michael Winterbottom in Genova showed us all his skills, except one...… MoreMichael Winterbottom in Genova showed us all his skills, except one... knowing how to end the movie! He is a director of such integrity that leaves me puzzled how could he finish a movie like that after giving us details such as awkwardness of hugging somebody at a wake while holding a plate of food, the momentary sigh of frustration a parent gives when woken by a crying child before they leap out of bed to provide comfort and a little kiss of a teacher and student where everything seems wrong... At least Mary (Perla Haney-Jardine) and Kelly (Willa Holland) looked natural and they were the perfect casting choice.
Maybe Winterbottom is one of the greatest living directors but Genova is unfinished business! At the end the life goes on but dissaponted crowd in the theatre is a good sign that something is wrong!
I enjoyed this comedy directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller,… MoreI enjoyed this comedy directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, produced by and starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and written by Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rothman. Everybody knows that it is the sequel to the 21 Jump Street, based on the television series of the same name. It is probably what audience expected, and there is no wonder that earned $280 million at the box office.
The story is happening two years after their success in the Jump Street program from the first movie, and this time, Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko are back on the streets chasing drug dealers, but they were not successful in catching a group of dealers led by the elusive Ghost. Deputy Chief Hardy puts the duo back on the program to work for Captain Dickson who is now located across the street at 22 Jump Street. Their assignment is to go undercover as college students and locate the supplier of a drug known as "WHYPHY" that killed a girl photographed buying it on campus.
This film wasn't as refreshing as the first one, it has some loose moments but it was much smarter. Obviously, the franchise is definitely growing up. Chemistry between Hill and Tatum is surprisingly still strong, and I have to admit that they were the reason that I laughed my head off at their characters dumb logic. Some segments simply did not work out, and the tightness of the first film was something to be desired in this one. Still, entertaining, enjoyable and funny - enough for a positive review like this!
This drama thriller is directed, produced, co-written by and starring… MoreThis drama thriller is directed, produced, co-written by and starring Jason Momoa ( co-writers Jonathan Hirschbein & Robert Homer Mollohan). What a guy! You probably know him... Joseph Jason Namakaeha Momoa is an actor, model, director, writer, and producer now, but before this movie he was known for his role as Ronon Dex (2005-09) on Stargate: Atlantis (2004-09) and as Khal Drogo in the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones (2011). I know him as Conan from Conan the Barbarian (2011). In this directorial debut his co-star is his wife Lisa Bonet and his co-writer Robert Homer Mollohan as well as Sarah Shahi, Michael Raymond-James and Wes Studi.
The story is straight forward - after his mother is murdered, Wolf (Jason Momoa), a Native American, seeks vengeance and then flees from the law across the country with a friend. He visits his sister to collect his mother's ashes with an intention to spread them across his mother's favourite lake. But the FBI agent is catching up with him fast!
It is like a kind of Native American Easy Rider theme, which addresses the racial injustice in the today's American society. Charismatic characters could not add to the dramatics of the story, and the anger was never portrayed convincingly.
If you like moody atmospherics and very strong visuals this could be a perfect movie for you, but only if you can ignore some gaps in the storytelling which needed more attention to details and development of the characters and situations.
Very original Irish drama written and directed by John Michael… MoreVery original Irish drama written and directed by John Michael McDonagh will show you more realistic and honest examination of the religion and its impact in a small town with many troubled individuals. Calvary stars Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran and Isaach de Bankolé. The film was screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival where it had an enthusiastic and satisfied audience.
The story starts in confessional, where a parishioner talks to Father James Lavelle about his childhood sexual abuse by a priest. After telling the story of an abuse which started when he was a little child and was continuing for 5 years, he says he will kill James the next Sunday, because James is a good man and it would be worse for the Catholic Church than killing a bad priest. In any case the offender is now dead, and James will pay for his sins. James's daughter comes to visit after suffered a breakdown and tried to kill herself. The characters were amazing and the dialogue was simply adorable.
Brendan Gleeson gave an inspired and soulful performance but all others were perfect players in this rich character drama that's equally eloquent and despairing. It is not easy to make commercially successful film which examines religious faith, but this team had no difficulty with that task! I will recommend it to anyone who loves a film with substance, emotions and an excellent execution!
This science fiction film directed by cinematographer Wally Pfister in… MoreThis science fiction film directed by cinematographer Wally Pfister in his directorial debut, and written by Jack Paglen, was smart, never boring , puzzling and even challenging piece of art. With stars like Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany, and Morgan Freeman, it was difficult not to be. And that is why I do not really understand why some people simply hate it. Continuing his advocacy for the use of film stock over digital cinematography, Pfister chose to shoot the film in the anamorphic format on 35 mm film - the result is very good!
I was aware that, at one time, Paglen's screenplay was part of what is known as the Black List, a list of popular but unproduced screenplays in Hollywood, but all it needed is a right person to do it. I am not saying that Transcendence itself is a master piece, far from it... it has its flaws, but it was criticized for its plot structure, characters and dialogue, which were actually better than most of the new sci-fi films currently on the market. Safe direction, strong visuals and cinematography to be remembered, were noticeable during the viewing, and that is why I would never consider a negative review for it.
The story of Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) was developed solidly. As a scientist motivated by curiosity about the nature of the universe, and being part of a team working to create a sentient computer, which will create a technological singularity, or in his words "Transcendence". His wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), whom he loves deeply, supports his efforts and helps him during the project. The problem arises when the extremist group "Revolutionary Independence From Technology" (R.I.F.T.) tries to assassinate Will with an irradiated bullet and carry out a series of synchronized attacks on AI laboratories across the country. Will is given no more than a month to live... but he decides to live... one way or another...
If you like a film with a distinctive visual style, thought-provoking themes, bold, beautiful flight of futuristic speculation - please, ignore the critics and check this one out!