Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review Admission (2013)

genre: comedy, drama

Admission should not be seen as a comedy, because it fails as one. However as a light drama it excels. It is filled with themes that are touched upon subtly or less so without it becoming too heavy. Every viewer will be able to relate to at least one of them. Most focus naturally is given on the admission system of those elite Universities. I will reserve my opinion of the system, because I very likely will anger some people with my views. I always do. However for once it is of no consequence what any ones think to the main plot. Whatever we feel, it's all about Tina Fey's character discovering what she really is about and where her passions lie. With her we go on a small journey that while not providing the laughs as one might expect it goes into another direction that is very sincere. This makes Admission an incredibly thoughtful and heartwarming film. For me absolutely worth the time.  

Review The English Teacher (2013)

genre: comedy, drama

The English Teacher is not your typical comedy where we go from one funny scene to another. It does provide laughs but more focus is given on the deeper themes that are subtle and a little hidden. Our main character Linda Sinclair (played by Julianne Moore) is a teacher who is very passionate about her job and books. Especially the romantic novels. She is so passionate about them that it gives her a warped sense of what real romance and love should entail. While she is clearly an educated person it gives her a naivety that make it hard for her to connect to real people. But at the same time it gives her a drive to motivate her students to get the best out of themselves as much as possible. When Linda Sinclair meets an ex student who feels he has failed as a writer she tries to help him realize he has not. Most of the film is about her attempts to do this. Now Linda Sinclair, thankfully is human and makes mistakes. Now I personally did not think that these mistakes were as earth shattering as made out to be. It is very debatable even if they were immoral. Could she had prevented them? Yes, she could have. Only if I had to make her case for her. She was caught up in her passions and acted on them. It can happen to the best of us. Still Linda does get chastised for them on a incredible high level and isolate her further than she already was. And here is where the tragedy comes in. The one person who believed to dream and help other people dream gets punished so severely that she gets cast out. I couldn't help but admire her goodness even if she could have handled some things better. She stood by and prevailed. However she does not get the credit for it. Worse others steal the credit and honour she should be getting. Linda Sinclair is above all that. She has learned a valuable lesson and gets her own reward. In my opinion The English Teacher has a lot of heart, in large part because of Julianne Moore. She brings a vulnerability and strength in a role that makes her a believable and real character. So while some people might be disappointed not getting the laughs they wanted. The viewer will be getting a film where a character goes through a psychological journey  that is easy to relate to and makes you feel good at the end. One to watch for sure.       


Monday, April 14, 2014

Review Non-Stop (2014)

genre: action, thriller

Non-Stop is exciting and entertaining as long as it lasts. It won't leave a lasting impression but does do a few things right to make it worth your while. It keeps you guessing about the villain and makes it fun to find out who it is. Almost every character apart from Liam Neeson is a suspect. Liam provides the weight and drama to his role without actually knowing his background. We know enough to know he is a stand up guy and that is all that matters. Ever since Liam Neeson became a fully fledged action hero I have enjoyed watching him doing his thing. And Non-Stop offers more of the same. Now Non-Stop is not tense and tight throughout. There are moments when it loses steam where it becomes clear that the story could have been improved on but it does compensate these with climatic over the top and unbelievable events that are incredible fun. Overall a good action thriller. 

Chinese Puzzle a.k.a. Casse-tête chinois (2013)

genre: comedy, drama, romance

Chinese Puzzle is a little movie that is very charming and fresh. Most characters are very likable but also very flawed.. A few of them will do questionable things morally that undoubtedly will start up some discussions. No real judgement is given to these actions and leaves it up to the viewer what they think of it. And that is nice. However some decisions especially the one in the end won't make sense. Now I just read that Chinese Puzzle is the third part in a trilogy and that it might be required to have seen L'auberge espagnole (2002) and Les Poupées Russes (2005) since the same characters are featured. And naturally their behaviour and characteristics would make more sense if we would have seen how they have progressed and evolved. Still not being aware of this it is a flaw in story telling. A little recap of important events would have been very welcome. And very much needed in relation to the ending. The main character out of the blue makes a decision that feels rushed and completely ruined the vibe of the film. There has not been any build up to this moment in this part. I could not believe that a film that made no harsh judgement and left things open for the viewer to fill in themselves. Suddenly throws in an resolve for the main character that spells out what should happen and then completely ignores what is proposed. Resulting in one of the most unsatisfying endings in romcom history. Now, that being said. Chinese Puzzle is far from a waste of time. Like I said before there is a lot of charm to it and keeps you entertained overall. I do feel compelled to watch the earlier parts to see how much it affects my sentiments on this one. And will update this review if it is required. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review Someone Marry Barry (2014)

genre: comedy

Someone Marry Barry is a comedy that promises a lot but in the end takes the easy way out. Here was a chance to raise awareness or even offer advice how to deal with people who seem to be lacking boundaries and manners. The friends of Barry (Tyler Labine) are fed up of him since he has done too much damage to their lives. Very understandable of course but all this time when trying to look for a way to get rid off him it never occurred to them to confront him with his behaviour. If it was my friend, that would be the first thing I do. Instead they are trying to partner him up in the hope it will change his tune. This plan backfires on them since his newly found partner is even worse than him. Which we can hear and see in all it's glory. One vile joke after another. Is it really necessary to make such disgusting jokes? In my opinion it detracts a lot from the sincerity of the initial premise. I laughed but at what expense. I think if the humour had been more intelligent this film would have lasted a little longer. Overall an ok comedy that is pretty forgettable. 

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

 genre: crime, action, horror, fantasy

The new show From Dusk Till Dawn inspired me to re watch the original movie again. And I have to say that this 18 year old movie surprised me just as much as it did the first time. Especially that it still holds up and in fact it is far superior to the TV show. The first major reason is the sense of humour. The movie never takes it self too seriously even when it touches some serious subjects. It shows shock and disgust when needed but also provides enough comic relief to keep things light. The second reason is the acting. George Clooney and Harvey Keitel show how it should be done and if you compare their portrayals to recent tv show then D.J. Cotrona's Seth for example seems like a watered down copy with half of the characteristics tossed out that doesn't make sense in how he interacts with the events. Not knocking the show because it does do things on it's own merit  but it is a little strange for a show that draws out the film scene by scene excruciatingly not to focus on the right characterization of such importance. Another reason why From Dusk Till Dawn is strong is how easily it plays around with several genres and blends it in a way that it all fits together. It does not give you the time to question what is happening on the screen. It draws you in to the delightful chaos and mayhem that ensues. Most important reason however which a lot of recent movies can learn from is that it is incredible fun. From start till finish it is a blast. It takes it's time to build up tension and increase excitement but at the same time giving the viewer the rest to their senses so that the enjoyment of later scenes is more optimal. (Now that is how you should have done it Zack Snyder in Man of Steel !) If you haven't see this film yet then do so it's a classic.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review Warrior Assassin (2013)

 genre: martial arts, kungfu

Don't get fooled by what this poster promises. 

There is something terribly wrong with this kungfu movie. As a parody it would have been extremely hilarious if not for the fact that the film is meant to be taken seriously. (I have to add that the version I saw was dubbed in English. Dubbing for these kinds of movies always have been done poorly and this is no different. Now that being said, this does have no consequence of the way the film is edited and filmed). The way everything is filmed, edited and the way it looks and sounds screams low budget. It is almost like a throwback to those old Seventies and Eighties kungfu flicks where the hero was out for revenge after a relative was killed: " You killed my father, die you devil" "And I will use the crane style to do it". That was like the whole dialogue and then you were shown some incredible martial arts. However in this one it is all horrible. Here and there are some brilliant pieces of fighting which only lasts for seconds. It gets worse though. A famous martial artist / actor makes an appearance. Only for a few minutes. But in those few minutes he displays the best action that there is to be found in the whole damn movie. His skills puts all of the action seen before to shame. So who is this guy I speak of? Well, are you ready? (And before people are accusing me of spoiling. In this case I am doing you a service. If by some unfortunate accident you got a hold of this piece of crap then you can redeem yourself by skipping to the last five minutes to the moment where he makes his appearance). His name is Yuen Biao. Say what now? What is he doing in this awful feature? This is obviously a money thing. But why would he stoop so low? It makes no sense. So in the name of all that is holy. STAY CLEAR from this movie! Don't buy it, don't watch it, just ignore it for gods sake because honestly films like these should never ever be rewarded with any profit. This is one of those that you should not even watch when it is free. Is it that bad Chrichton? Yes it is!