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Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Incredible for its Time
This is a truly timeless film that depicts a strange love story that uniquely challenges the social norms of a "regular relationship."
The strongest aspect of this film to me was the acting, Warren Beatty gave the performance of his life portraying the love stricken bank robber. Staring alongside Faye Dunaway, their chemistry on screen was truly revolutionary.
It is for those reasons that I am giving this film an 8/10.
The Green Inferno (2013)
Eli Roth Has Done It Again!
I am a huge fan of all of Eli Roths work, his use of violence and gore contribute to his many underlying themes. In this film he uses these tools to bring attention to some of the many issues that the rain forrest faces, and despite the Amazonian people preforming most of the violence it is an not without aggravation. He uses their brutality as a paradox of what large corporations are doing to the amazon.
He employs colors that compliment each other by ways of extreme contrast which gives a striking image appealing to the eye. There is also some great dialogue in this film that is very reminiscent of the many conversations that I have had with my college roommates and friends. For each character I could cast the perfect person just from my current friends and that is what really allows me to connect to this film.
I am giving this movie an 8/10 because it is a great film that I recommend to everyone. This movie is a true homage to the 1980 Cannibal Holocaust with references to Cannibal Ferox and should be in contention for the best cannibal film of all time.
End of Watch (2012)
Gripping Tale of Friendship and Tragedy
This is one of my absolute favorite films. Shot in an extremely raw way ignoring many conventional filmmaking tendencies, this gave the film a feeling of realness in a gritty world. This movie never feels like a movie and it is for that reason that I wouldn't classify it as a movie. This is a film depicting the power of cinema, pulling on every single one of your emotions often in the same moment.
So it is for these reasons that I gave this movie a 9/10, and I strongly advise everyone to see it.
The Irishman (2019)
Incredible Craft with a Poor Pace
Turning on this picture my attention was all on the screen, but as the film progressed I suddenly found that my eyes were more focussed on my cellphone just counting the minutes till this movie would end. So after my first viewing I came to the conclusion that it was not the film that was the problem, it had to be me so I decided to watch the film again without my phone in my pocket. Without distraction I still had wondering eyes meaning that it in fact wasn't me.
So before I jump into the bad I will start with the good. Every set had immense detail, it was not quite the on location type of pictures that we have grown to expect from Martin Scorsese. Another great aspect to the film would be the score that he uses, he has always been an expert when it comes to his use of music and this movie is no exception. I think that one aspect of the story that I did enjoy was the way they incorporated the political climate of the time showing how corrupt all politicians were and have always been.
Now on to the Bad. Acting... with such an incredible lineup of great actors it just seemed like they were going through the motions. The one exception to this movie would be the performance of Joe Pesci who played a very reserved character that we don't often see from him. Another poor aspect from the film would be the story itself, not only is it unbearably long there are many scenes that aren't important to the plot. This not only creates some problems but with the editing style that they chose to employ had a terrible pace. This for me was the absolute worst part of the movie, there were cuts where there should have been pauses and pauses where there should have been cuts.
It is for those reasons that I am only giving this movie a 7/10, I also just want to add that it just didn't have the Martin Scorsese vibe that we as fans were craving when this movie was announced. I personally was very upset after watching this film and writing this review really upsets me but I am going to overhype a movie just because of the director.
The Haunting (1999)
The Years Have Not Been Kind...
Growing up I remember watching this movie wondering "whose bright idea was it to put Owen Wilson in a horror movie." Watching this film 20 years from its initial release I must regretfully admit that it was his role that carried this movie because it sure wasn't the story that kept the viewers attention. It was a movie filled with cheap thrills constantly mocking the competence of the audience. Don't get me wrong I think there are some simple strokes of genius to this film but nothing to save the lack there of a story.
I am rating this a 6/10 because I just don't think it is a movie that really has anything going for it, and if you are looking for a haunted mansion type of film I would simply recommend Rose Red. I mean they had Owen Wilson and Liam Neeson how can you mess that up? If it wasn't for them I would probably rate this film even lower.
A Score to Rule Them All
I am a huge fan of old spaghetti western films, and there is no one who does them better than the likes of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood. These two men despite have a language barrier were able to create several amazing westerns that have set the golden standard for macaroni westerns.
I want to start with Casting... Clint Eastwood is a bad ass, there simply is no denying it. He is the Badass cowboy that will steal your girl and in the same instant earn your respect, and I have nothing other to say than he was born to play the role of Blondie. Now he also had a great lineup of supporting actors who helped him gain such acclaim but they just don't hold a candle to Mrs. Eastwood.
There is also the plot which is a like a headphones cord that is so tangled that the audience is forced to watch as Sergio Leone slowly untangles each separate knot, giving the appearance of separate stories but inevitably straightening to reveal that it is intact a single line. Now it may not be a complicated nonlinear story with loads of flashbacks but Sergio Leone proves himself a true filmmaker by unraveling a story rather the simple telling the audience the events that take place.
Finally I want to touch on the score. This to me is where the movie really shines, because despite all the cowboy reality it is the score that connects the story together. Building tension with every whistle and drumlins, changing the simple shots into something meaningful. It is not an understatement when I say that this score is the single most iconic score of all time.
I am giving this movie a 9/10 because this to me is more than just cinema, it is emotions caught on 2.35:1. (My favorite cinematic aspect ratio)
Surf's Up (2007)
Nothing but Good Vibes
I loved this movie growing up, and would recommend it for anyone who is looking for a well animated feel good movie. With cheesy humor and a great cast with tons of chemistry, there is nothing about this film that warrants any negative feedback. That being said, there just isn't anything all that special about this movie. I mean sure there are tons of surfing penguins and some pretty good underlining themes but nothing that we've never seen before. The animation was solid and I am always baffled at the clear small waves they create but still just nothing revolutionary, However I must admit I did love the documentary style approach they took, this added a little extra depth to the story telling medium.
I am going to give this movie a 7/10 because despite being a feel good movie there is a tone of mediocracy that can not be overlooked.
An Interesting Sci-Fi Metaphor
I found this short film to be a great debut for French director Julia Ducournau, she uses a seemingly simple mutation as a metaphor for the development and changes that women go through as they mature into adults. The casting of Garance Marillier proved to be nothing less than perfect as she also makes her acting debut, and hopefully this is the start in a long and successful career.
They will also go on to collaborate together on the 2016 film Raw which also tackles many puberty based themes.
I gave this film a 7/10 because the story is solid, but the filming techniques are simply forgettable.
Knives Out (2019)
Absolutely Genius... One of My Favorite Movies of the Year
Wow! I just got out of the theater and I can honestly say this movie was absolutely perfect, there was humor that wasn't forced, pauses that weren't rushed, all connected with brilliant sound design. This is an absolute gem and I 100% think that is deserves a lot more praise than I have been seeing in reviews.
I want to start by giving props to the editor, this movie really allowed for pauses to build tension and create a very slow burning rhythm that compliments the story pushing both the stylistic and narrative components to further heights. However this is also a direct result of the preparation and execution of Rian Johnson and Steve Yedlin when it came to the production process. They use delayed whip pans to really give a very unique whimsical feeling when watching the film, this along with slow zooms and low angle shots advance the audiences perception of the cinematic world. Also I would like to add that this film has more ways of filming someone walking down a hallway than I thought possible. I think that it is important to also bring up the actors performances, I have to admit that after watching the trailers I dreaded seeing Chris Evans in his role as a deviant troublemaker because they cut out the most out of context lines creating a very cringe trailer but after seeing the film this couldn't be farther from the truth. He really broke out of his Captain America phase bringing a very noticeable stage presence, but Ana de Armas stole the show. She proved that she is not just a supporting actress giving a both developed and mature performance. It didn't hurt staring alongside the established actor Daniel Craig.
With all that being said I am rating this film a 9/10 because the final product is a fun experience that has something for everyone.
The Devil's Advocate (1997)
Wrongfully Forgotten... or a Well Kept Secret?
This stylish drama is a relative well kept secret of sorts, given that I wasn't even born when this movie was in theaters I was still able to see this movie at a time where it was still relevant. That being said I think this movie is a great representation of the times that the US was facing, a time of government elitism with big corporations taking advantage of the little guy. These themes are very explicitly present in the implicit meanings behind the story.
An incredible performance by both Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino bring life to a very well developed script, shot in a very high contrast metallic style reflecting the stories demonic vibe.
I give this movie an 8/10 and recommend it to anyone who enjoys courtroom dramas with a touch of sci-fi fantasy.
47 Ronin (2013)
When I first watched this film I went in not really knowing about the story to come, but after seeing the poster of Keanu Reeves as a samurai with what seems to be a skeleton tattoo villain. Now I'm sure you can see why I was a little disappointed when I found that the skeleton man from the poster had very limited scree time but I digress.
So this movie is a very entertaining flick that has a lot to offer; adventure, magic, and loads of Keanu Reeves. So as this story unravels there are themes of honor and pride, a fresh take on old samurai films with the same story telling finesse. However there was still something missing, so as a result this movie comes off as a little less than average.
It's because of this that I chose to give this movie a 6/10.
Above Average Story Executed Averagely
An enjoyable thriller that draws you in with a unique story but throughout the film you will find that there are several for lack of a better word "boring" pauses that are split by sudden spurts of action. The first sequence of scenes sets up an awesome scenario that the second two acts fails to convert upon, and it saddens me to think what could have been.
I love the idea of God turning on his prized creations, which directly contradicts gods gift of free will so I think this is a really cool Idea that Scott Stewart chose to explore with this film. He brings an interesting depth to the moral discussion of free will when he brings a angel who enacts his own free will trying to save humanity from the apocalypse. I think this allowed for a rather deep examination of how we as humans choose to spreed our humanity, and the lack of compassion that we often display, but I digress.
I give this movie a 6/10 because despite its inability to keep the viewers attention it still was able to deliver some good key moments.
Planet Terror (2007)
Three Words: Machine Gun Leg
This movie is a riot filled with overacting, zombies, and loads of bullets... Not a movie to be analyzed as a revolutionary advancement of modern cinema.
Watch this movie, have some laughs, and enjoy it for what it is... an escape. All you need to do is allow yourself to be fully emerged in this post apocalyptic movie and don't overthink it.
8/10 need I say again "Machine Gun Leg!"
La La Land (2016)
Enjoyable but Slow
This film gets off to a relative poor start with an extremely obnoxious dance number that goes on for what seems like an eternity, thus placing the audience in a poor mood to watch the film.
So let me start by saying that I did enjoy the film and would watch it again after fast forwarding the first scene, I think that it is a film that has a simple romance story that is very reminiscent of 500 Days of Summer however it fails to accomplish the themes that 500 Days of Summer exceeds in.
As a result of that I am only giving it a 7/10 also known as a C for average.
Dirty... Gory... Just Blatant White Trash Bumpkin Fun
As an adherent of the great director Rob Zombie, I am confident in saying that 31 is my favorite film in his portfolio. A story about a group of travelers who are abducted and tormented by an underground society of wealthy individuals who wager on the lives of their victims.
This movie starts off with one of the most amazing monologues in horror film history, when Doom Head (Richard Brake) preaches to one of his victims who just so happens to be a Preacher Man. This scene sets the tone for the dirty gore-fest to follow.
I decided to give this movie an 8/10 because of the rawness that Rob Zombie gives. Plus there is a Hitler little person, what could be better than that?
Frozen II (2019)
Visually Amazing But Lacks in Story
Well I found that the animation was extremely well done, with tones of details and this was a definite result of the budget and the mahouts that were put in however the story was less than fitting of such incredible craftsmanship. The entire story was all circumstance and week at best, and to compare to its predecessor it felt like the characters were going through the motions where as with Frozen the story was unraveling.
It almost felt like the filmmakers didn't know where the story was going, there was poor character development and the relationships felt forced with a seemingly unnatural chemistry. The once power couple that was "Kristna" or "Anoff" seemed to have lost their spark and as a result of this Kristoff feels as though marriage is the answer.
Another part of the film that just felt missing was the iconic presence of original songs. Song after Song seemed to melt into each other sounding as if they were different lyrics placed over the same melody.
To sum it all up I am only giving this film a 6/10 because I think it was lacking everything that made the first movie such an international success.
Perfect... A Feat For Animation
Now I know that this movie is already hailed as not only one of the best animated movies, but as one of the best movies ever made. So believe me... I know I am jumping on the bandwagon but for good reason.
The animation was flawless, the casting was perfect, the story strong and heart felt, all lead by the vision of Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. So with that being said there is no weak link in this production, and it is for that reason that I am more than happy to jump on the bandwagon.
Watching this film for what seemed to be the 100th time I still can't get over the world that the animators were able to craft, the colors were vibrant and the sets were on point to the last detail.
The heart and soul of all the characters were matched with the perfect actors who were able to embody their characters with perfect pitch. The character arcs were complex without being too complicated and despite the cheesiness of the typical "act of true love" the story was still able to tweak the expected.
So I chose to give this movie a 9/10 because movies like this don't come along all that often.
Brilliant! True Cinema at its Finest!
This movie is proof that you do not need a huge budget packed with large Hollywood names, CGI, and expensive sets to make an amazing film. All you need is an actor who can preform, a couple of locations, and a killer script filled with original thought.
This movie is an absolute delight putting the talented Tom Hardy center stage, allowing his brilliant character development to shine. His performance really allows us as viewers to get into the head of an insane individual who finds pleasure in the UK penitentiary system fighting other convicts and the officers that guard him. With unique plot development you will find yourself both laughing at his absurdness while also longing for his naive nature.
A truly original film, that reminds us cinephiles as to why we love films.
This movie is a true gem that really deserves praise for its ability to further independent filmmaking and it is for that reason I give it an 9/10.
It Follows (2014)
This film is one of the scariest films that I have ever seen, feeding on the primal fear of the unknown. A predator whose soul purpose is to hunt down their prey, no need for food or sleep just the relentless pursuit. This brings on a fear that everyone knows, the sense of someone or something rather following you causing you to constantly look over your shoulder. This along side the fact that you never know what you are looking for adds a whole other level of paranoia.
That being said I give this film an 8/10 because the days following my viewing I found myself constantly looking over my own shoulder thinking about the endless pursuit.
Amazingly Grotesque and Awesome!
This is one of my all time favorite movies of all time, I mean it's a coming of age story about a cannibal... How could that get any better?
Before I had seen this movie I had never heard of Julia Ducournau, but this movie alone made me a huge fan. On the outside this movie is a simple body horror story trying to use gross imagery to shock audience for cheap thrills, but there is so much underlying meaning behind this film. The connections to her transformation have deep connections to the development that a woman goes through in her life and it is through the grass images that Julia Ducourau tries/succeeds in giving the audience a look into what every woman goes through. So to me this is a movie made by women as an attempt to give men a better understanding of what women are forced to go through and the pressures society puts on them.
So that being said I 100% recommend this movie to everyone, and I give it a 9/10.
The Shining (1980)
Visually Chilling Masterpiece - Kubrick's Best Film
Before I start I am going to say that I am not qualified to truly discuss this film because it would be the equivalent of someone who doodles analyzing the works of Picasso or Van Gogh so I am going to make this a short one.
Every shot is a painting in this film creating an absolutely breathtaking product which leaves literal goosebumps up your arms, and it is important to mention his use of the steady cam revolutionizing the way filmmakers will film from now until the foreseen future. The films visuals are equally matched by Jack Nichols decent into madness, with one of the most complex stories of all time.
This is one of the most important movies ever made and that is why I give this movie a 9/10.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
Surprised by an Incredibly Well Done Movie
So before I start I must say, I was very scared to watch this film and I recall being extremely upset when I found out that they were creating a sequel to arguably the most iconic work of Stanley Kubrick. But when I sat down in the theater and they rolled the movie I found myself hooked, clutching the arm rests of my seat.
Going in to this movie I was not aware that it was 2hrs and 32mins but even after the credits rolled I found myself wanting more, the world that Mike Flanagan created was amazing. His use of camera movement created an amazing weightless feeling throwing the audience face first into a magical world ruled by several succubus spirits who prey on people with incredible powers. His framing was second to only Kubrick allowing for several stagnant shots to be reminiscent of paintings with incredible blocking furthering the depth of his storytelling.
Now despite all the good, I still found it hard to watch the recreated scenes without the likes of Jack Nicholson and It is because of this that I am only giving it an 8/10. I understand that he was probably too expensive plus his current age would have created more issues I filming but I would have rather had the filmmaker just cut the flashbacks using different methods of storytelling to further the movie. I am happy that they didn't try and Ang Lee a new face on top of a stand in for Jack Nicholson but the reshoots just pulled me out of the film and it saddens me that this is the only thing that has brought down my rating.
7/10 You Must be Crazy
Looking at some of the reviews I think that there is far too much undeserved hate being attached to this film. I think that the overall final product is an enjoyable movie about a bad alien ruler who finds that he has lost who he is. Stranded on a deserted island he is forced to adapt becoming his bad original self. Although there is not much implicit meaning when it comes to this film, this is not an artsy non-mainstream movie and it should not be unfairly judged as one. This movie is a blockbuster meant to entertain the masses and I think that it does this perfectly, and maybe it is just my childhood love of this franchise that has allowed me to overlook the lack of depth but all and all this is an awesome movie. Vin Diesel fights alien scorpions for got sake, how can that be anything less than spectacular. So if you find yourself debating weather. or not you should watch this movie, please do and don't hate it for what it isn't love it for what it is.
So that being said I give this movie a 7/10, and I hope that everyone will give it a chance. (However start by watching Chronicles of Riddick and Pitch Black first)
American History X (1998)
A Brutally Raw Take on a Sensitive Topic
What a fantastic raw film that focusses on showing not only the brutal acts that hate groups commit, but also showing the human elements that contributes to the corruption of adolescence. Everything about this movie is incredible from the themes that it tackles to the stylistic choices made by the filmmakers. One in particular is Tony Kaye's choice to use black and white footage to represent the changing of opinions had by Derek Vinyard(Edward Norton), physically showing how black and white everything began. Along with these awesome choices all the actors performances were on point in this film, Edward Norton is at his best giving the audience a look into his characters personal psyche. Another incredible part of this movie that I think is worth mentioning is the use of violence. I think the reality of violence in films is almost glamorized in a lot of films taking away the horror of simple acts, but not in this film. The first sequence of this film is of a brutal depiction of violence which physically makes the audience sick, and with every viewing you find yourself more and more upset with Darek Vinyard.
But before I rate this film I would like to say that I was not a fan of the aspect ratio they chose to use, I know that this might not be the largest detail but I still wanted to bring it up. But I digress, so I chose to give this film a 8/10 just because I think there are a couple parts where it gets a little choppy and over narrated.
The Babadook (2014)
Not Your Cheap Jump Scare Thriller
This is a representation of how a psychological horror movie is supposed to be. A product of German Expressionism with some Surrealist tones, this is a true visual experience with a unique stylistic approach.
A troubled mother struggling with grief finds herself at the mercy of her own fear and the fear of her son. This is a truly terrifying thought, that we as humans are able to plague our own lives causing our own destruction. Thus this movie is far beyond the simple minded fear of death, it is about the fear of living and I think this is a way for the filmmaker to tackle a very real problem today and that is of depression.
I found myself thinking about this movie for several days after watching it the first time until I finally sat down and watched it again, and despite some underexposed shots I still think that this film deserves an 8/10.