I am not a fan of Japanese animation, but this Japanese animated… MoreI am not a fan of Japanese animation, but this Japanese animated fantasy directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and scripted by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa, deserved my attention for the whole 1 hour and 34 minutes . It is based on The Borrowers by Mary Norton, an English author of children's books, about a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of a typical household, borrowing items from humans to survive. Telling the story of a young Borrower (Arrietty) befriending a human boy (Shawn), while trying to avoid being detected by the other humans, the director Yonebayashi in his directorial debut shows us that the studio Ghibli was right to choose him despite the fact that he is the youngest director of a Ghibli film... ever.
I didn't mind the animation and the music, but I really loved the story. This animation also became the highest grossing Japanese film at the Japanese box office for the year 2010, and grossed over $145 million worldwide. Winning the Animation of the Year award at the 34th Japan Academy Prize award ceremony just proved the quality of the work everyone involved shared.
I will say that this is a very good children movie, with wonderful imagination employed to come to some amazing details in the lives of the Borrowers. It's very gentle, outstandingly humourless, uncomplicated tale of adventure and friendship in a strange environment. Old school filmmaking, for me always nice to see when it's done well.
I will say that One Chance is a British comedy drama, not just comedy… MoreI will say that One Chance is a British comedy drama, not just comedy as listed. It is a film about Britain's Got Talent winner Paul Potts, directed by David Frankel and written by Justin Zackham. This hugely inspiring biopic chronicles British tenor Paul Potts' meteoric rise to stardom via the television program Britain's Got Talent. I liked the fresh approach to comedy by the director David Frankel in The Devil Wears Prada and I wanted to see this film too, expecting the same. It was different, but not too bad at all. This was endlessly charming, against-the-odds success story which was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was shot in Italy and the United Kingdom, and the soundtrack by Theodore Shapiro was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song - motion picture.
The story of Paul (James Corden) was introduced by narration, and we found out about discovering his vocal gift by singing in local choirs. He is also ruthlessly bullied, a devastating blow to his self-confidence alleviated only by his love of song. Of course when you are bullied because you are singing, and singing more as an answer to bullying - the circle was almost close and never-ending! But, our hero manages to get out of this circle few times... and to come back, again... When Paul meets Julie-Ann (Alexandra Roach) on the internet, his life changes when the two fall deeply in love. Paul has almost everything a man could want, and yet he still seems to yearn...
The tale of how Paul goes from unfulfilled everyman to media sensation is a testament to the human spirit and one of the most engaging true stories of our time. The first part of that story was perfectly paced and engaging, but somewhere in the middle, we were lost for a while, to be back to the normal rhythm at the end. Alexandra Roach and James Corden were perfectly cast for the roles and their chemistry felt as real as possible. Corden brings marvellous coherence to Potts's turbulent trajectory of ambition and frustration, while Roach is just lovely as the partner whose unwavering belief helps see him through. One Chance is about more than one chance - it's about a whole life spent preparing to make a dream come true. It happens!
I just finished watching on my cable this science fiction adventure… MoreI just finished watching on my cable this science fiction adventure comedy directed by Brad Peyton. This is a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, and is based on another Jules Verne novel, this time The Mysterious Island. Very unusual cast stars Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzmán, and Kristin Davis. The story was written by Richard Outten, Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn, and the screenplay by Brian and Mark Gunn. This movie became a box office success with a worldwide gross of nearly $326 million, surpassing its predecessor, I think mainly because of the 3D technology.
The story is happening four years since the events of the first movie, and starts with the 18-year-old Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) involved in a chase with the police which ended with him driving into a swimming pool. His step-father Hank (Dwayne Johnson) arrives and later discovers that Sean had broken into a satellite research centre in order to boost the signal of a code he'd received by someone he suspects is Alexander Anderson, Sean's grandfather who had been missing for two years. Wanting to bond with his stepson the next day, Hank helps Sean decipher the code of Jules Verne and makes a map from the three books in the coded letter with the coordinates to its location. All they need to do now is to convince Sean's mother to let the both of them go in search of the island.
This is a film with very likable characters and actors in an adventure which could excite the younger audience, but not too exciting for the older. It is moving quickly but parts of the story almost seemed unrelated at some moments. Directing seemed done without any motivation... that doesn't mean it was bad, but wasn't very noticeable. If you want to spend a night with a family watching something which is semi-sweet and very colourful, give it a go!
I really didn't expect that this British-French-American drama… MoreI really didn't expect that this British-French-American drama directed by Stephen Frears, based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by journalist Martin Sixsmith, will leave such an impact on me. I was delighted that I had a chance to enjoy the inspiring acting of stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, through the (true) story of Philomena Lee's 50-year-long search for her son. The two leads make decent sparring partners and better allies, and Coogan is especially good whenever Martin's impatient manner tilts into genuine moral indignation.
After watching it, I can understand why this film has been recognised by several international film awards! Coogan and Jeff Pope won Best Screenplay after it was screened at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, as well as the People's Choice Award Runner-Up prize at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The film is nominated in four categories at the 2014 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress, and had four BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes nominations. Wide reception is mainly due to its universal story without clichés and melodramatic lines. Honest and straightforward, this is a crowd pleaser and no time waster!
Some critics call this movie a howl of anti-clerical outrage wrapped in a tea cozy, but I would not agree with it! It applies amusing banter and sheen of good taste to the real-life quest of Philomena Lee. Directing was so smooth that it was almost unnoticeable - you feel like you are a part of her life! Cinematography, camera, editing... I could not find complaints! If you want to enjoy an excellent story, acting which will remind you what good actors can do, directing which leaves trace , and a screenplay with a heart... don't miss this one!
An action thriller starring Danny Trejo as the title character and… MoreAn action thriller starring Danny Trejo as the title character and Jonathan Banks as the villain (best known for Beverly Hills Cop and Breaking Bad) could go both ways... good and bad! But, when we have a director with a name Nick Lyon, who was a co-writer with Matthew Joynes, Ron Peer and Byron Lester, it would be almost impossible that this film goes to good category! Why? Where to start?
The story follows an undercover police officer-turned-vigilante (Trejo) tracking down the crooks who kidnapped his grandson. He is supposed to be some kind of hardened detective battling to bring down a gang, but in most scenes he looked like an escapee from a retirement village having problems with bad knees. This character is involved in almost impossible events added in sequences of clichés we all have seen before many, many times. Nothing in this movie can be called quality - everything is disposable on a first sign!
Acting was terrible, except the villains! They were great. Scenography, photography, camera work ... could all be faulted! Don't even bother with this.
This crime drama directed by Trevor White and written by White and… MoreThis crime drama directed by Trevor White and written by White and Lane Shadgett stars very fresh and invigorating young star Spencer Lofranco in the main role. The film relates the true story of James Burns which manages to attract the stars like Mary-Louise Parker (as a desperate single mom), James Woods (as a hard-nosed warden) and Ving Rhames (as a convicted murderer/mentor) in supporting roles. Good acting is something to be remembered in this movie, the rest was, pretty much, average. First-time feature writer-director Trevor White has shaped the rise, fall and redemption of teenage street thug into parallel storylines, crosscutting between the three years leading up to his incarceration and the few months he spends in maximum-security prison (after four years in juvenile). His way of directing wasn't bad at all, but some of the decision to narrate more than to show, were poorly made.
Screenplay dialogue is one of the weak points, and the story itself is a formulaic tale of redemption which would not bore you... or excite you either. But the acting was on a different level! Mary-Louise Parker was almost ready to give up acting, but decided to stick with it ... and the role in the Jamesy Boy could earn her award, I think.
Cinematography was standardly good, music was outstanding in parts of the movie, as well as the camera work.
If you have some time to "kill", try with this one. Not as bad as the critics want you to believe.
This moving and inspiring drama about chess is directed by Jake… MoreThis moving and inspiring drama about chess is directed by Jake Goldberger, and he wrote the screenplay with David Scott and Dan Wetzel, based on the true story of ex-con-turned-youth-mentor Eugene Brown. Very earnest movie with solid performance from star Cuba Gooding Jr. still suffers from the trappings of its genre - formulaic plot and predictability. Young stars Malcolm M. Mays and Carlton Byrd gave it a shot, but it sounded more like an air-gun!
"Life of a King" could look like a mixture of two genres because it has the uplift of a movie in which tough kids meet even tougher teachers, and combination of the underdog sports film, but it actually uses the game and the school to discuss the deeper challenges facing the most vulnerable population in United States. This is an art work which highlights the facts that this most vulnerable population has brains, soul, heart and character. The enduring hope in the goodwill and potential of children were almost contagious, even without the scenes with the high intensity and hyper realism so popular today.
Effective emotionally, this movie will awake many sleepy souls, with a good message!
All Things to All Men is a British film written and directed by George… MoreAll Things to All Men is a British film written and directed by George Isaac. The version of the film I watched is the one released theatrically in early 2013 with a running time of 85 minutes , while the new version was retitled The Deadly Game when released on DVD and Blu-Ray recently and runs for almost 98 minutes. In his directorial debut, George Isaac delivers a stylish London-noir thriller with interesting cast (maybe not my first choice) which at the end delivers enough to enjoy the fast paced story. I enjoyed Rufus Sewel (except the moments when sometimes simply I could not understand what was he saying) and Gabriel Byrne but Toby Stephens was somehow too "dry". Other cast included Leo Gregory, Elsa Pataky (Fast & Furious), Leo Gregory (Stoned), Julian Sands (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), James Frain (Tron), Ralph Brown (Withnail & I) and MC Harvey.
The story is very well developed but the approach to the characters is sometimes not very personal to fully feel those characters. The battle for supremacy between two men on opposite sides of the law is actually a battle of criminals but one of them has a badge. His name is Parker (Rufus Sewell) and he is a head of a maverick police unit who will stop at nothing to end the reign of London crime lord Corso (Gabriel Byrne). Unexpected event has a new player on the scene - Riley (Toby Stephens), a professional thief, who is unwittingly drawn into Parker's plans. At that point the line between crime and the law becomes blurred beyond recognition... like in real life, I suppose!
The movie was shot entirely on location in London from an original script by George Isaac, and it has almost touristy shots of this city which will impress most of the viewers. If you like dark atmosphere crime thrillers, maybe it is time to check this one.
I have to admit that I never heard of Ed and Lorraine Warren before,… MoreI have to admit that I never heard of Ed and Lorraine Warren before, and I had no idea that this couple really worked as paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent cases of haunting. This supernatural horror directed by James Wan is starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as the couple.
The story is about the Warrens coming to the assistance of the Perron family (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their dilapidated farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1971. They live there with their five daughters. During the first day, their move goes smoothly, though their dog, Sadie, refuses to enter the house and one of the daughters finds a boarded up entrance to a cellar. The next morning, Carolyn wakes up with a mysterious bruise and finds Sadie lying dead outside the house. Over the next several days, various instances of paranormal disturbance occur... and they ask for help!
I enjoyed mostly this type of horror. Never feels cheap, but I have to admit that the screams and the scares felt like they were just set up right on schedule - we had a short introduction, quiet part and scare... and then back from the beginning! In that part we could not know what will happen, but we knew that it will happen, which takes a little bit from the excitement. But, I liked directors explanation of his connection with the scary movies given in an interview for Hindustan Times, "My connection is that I sit in the movie theatre and watch them. That's about as close as I would like to come to it. I'm really afraid of this world... the reason why I can make scary movies is because I'm afraid of scary movies. I use the analogy that, if you're a comedian, you need to have a sense of humour. Do I believe in it? I'm definitely open-minded about it. I'd like to think that I'm not arrogant enough to think that if I cannot see it or touch it, then it doesn't exist." He did well, just enough scare for a positive review and some praise.
Refreshingly different comedy-drama written and directed by Jill… MoreRefreshingly different comedy-drama written and directed by Jill Soloway for which she received the directing award at the last Sundance Festival! She's clearly got a taste for raw material, but maybe she should consider using top actors and just let the events flow without any pressure - but even like this it was wonderful.
Starring very bravely cast Kathryn Hahn as Rachel, Juno Temple as McKenna and Josh Radnor as Jeff, it is mostly enjoyable film about challenges in life and lacks of the appreciation of things we already have. It is told through the eyes of a woman who reaches sexual awakening in a sexless marriage. Contrived and raucous comedy which needs to be taken seriously most of the time, even if could be as serious as an adult girls'-night-out attraction.
Rachel (Hahn) is a quick-witted and lovable stay-at-home mom. Frustrated with the realities of preschool auctions, a lacklustre sex life and career that's gone kaput, Rachel visits a strip club to spice up her marriage and meets McKenna (Temple), a stripper she adopts as her live-in nanny.
Maybe I enjoyed Hahn's Rachel more than the others because I am not familiar with her sitcom characters and I took her for serious truly self-reflective soul. I found the ending a little bit forced and unrealistic, but everything else I enjoyed immensely.