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A classic

Posted : 13 hours, 39 minutes ago on 19 December 2014 09:47 (A review of Toy Story 2)

For a rather amazing 16 years, Pixar managed to keep an impressive trackrecord of releasing back-to-back some highly critically and commercially succesfull features, something really unique in Hollywood. Of course, it had to stop at some point and nowadays, their last movies ('Cars 2', 'Brave' and 'Monsters University') have been quite enjoyable but everybody seems to agree that those guys have somewhat lost their magic touch a little bit. The main issue is that they keep on bringing some rather underwhelming sequels instead of releasing some new material. The interesting thing is that this first sequel was actually quite amazing and many would argue that it is even better than its predecessor. I remember it very well, just like the first installment, I saw it in the movie theater when it was released and I was again really impressed. Indeed, this time, we were all used to this new CGI animation and even though the whole thing looked great, their masterstroke was above all another really entertaining tale about these toys. Not only it was completely entertaining but it was also quite deep, something which became Pixar's specialty through the years. Many years later, they came again with another sequel and even though it was again a massive success, I thought it was not as amazing as its predecessors though. Anyway, to conclude, I really love this flick, it is a classic and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre.

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A good movie

Posted : 1 day, 1 hour ago on 19 December 2014 10:25 (A review of Stranger Than Paradise)

Ever since I have seen 'Dead Man' when it was released, I have always been a fan of Jim Jarmusch. To be honest, I didn't care much about his latest work but I still try to catch his movies when I get the chance. Anyway, even though his directing debut ‘Permanent Vacation’ was not entirely successful, this movie was a huge critical success at the time and it is usually considered as a huge influence on American independent cinema. Eventually, I think the whole thing is pretty much a matter of taste. Indeed, Jarmusch is definitely one of the very few real American authors like Woody Allen, Terrence Malick or Wes Anderson, and I have a lot of respect for his work. On top of that, the black and white cinematography was quite gorgeous. Still, I found it hard to really connect with the whole thing as it shows a deliberate slow pace, there is no real plot whatsoever and none of his characters were either likeable or really interesting. The fact is also that this movie was made 30 years ago and, at the time, it might have been ground-breaking but since then, I have seen tons of similar Artsy features so its impact is not as big as it used to be. To conclude, even though I wasn't really blown away by the whole thing, I thought it was still a pretty good indie feature and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in Jim Jarmusch’s work.

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An average movie

Posted : 2 days ago on 18 December 2014 11:22 (A review of The Story of Us)

Back in the 80’s, Rob Reiner was one of the most successful directors at work. I mean, just check his track-record, it is quite impressive (‘This Spinal Tap’, ‘The Sure Thing’, ‘Stand by Me’, ‘The Princess Bride’, ‘When Harry Met Sally...’, ‘Misery’, ‘A Few Good Men’). But then, he made ‘North’. Indeed, it was a massive flop, both financially and critically, and it seems that already 20 years later Rob Reiner has still not recovered from the damage. A couple of years later, he came up with this movie and even though it was starring Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer, two of the most bankable actors at the time, it was still a commercial and critical failure. Personally, I thought it was actually not bad at all and actually fairly enjoyable. Sure, it wasn’t a masterpiece whatsoever and it never comes near the level of ‘When Harry Met Sally...’ but I thought that the characters were well written, Willis and Pfeiffer were obviously really charismatic and I thought that they had a good chemistry together. To conclude, even though the whole thing was not really amazing, I still think it is actually a decent romantic-comedy and it is worth a look, especially if you like the genre.

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A good movie

Posted : 2 days, 23 hours ago on 17 December 2014 12:22 (A review of The Straight Story)

I remember it very well, I actually saw this movie in the movie theater when itw as released and, at the time, there was a huge buzz about the whole thing. Indeed, for the film community, it was actually quite an event. Suddenly, David Lynch was making a standard drama, based on a true story and to make things even better, it was called 'The Straight Story'. Basically, it couldn't get more awesome than this. As a result, this most typical feature ended up being the most atypical movie directed by Lynch. Still, if you put all this aside, was the damned thing actually really amazing? I’m not so sure. In my opinion, a standard drama, even if it is directed by Lynch, still remains a standard drama and if another director would have made it, I’m pretty sure it would never have received so much coverage. Still, it remains a decent flick, with a touching story and Richard Farnsworth delivered a really impressive performance. Above all, Lynch showed that he can be a hell of a director even when he stick to the g*d*mned script. To conclude, even though I don’t think it is really a masterpiece, it was still a pretty good drama and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in David Lynch’s work.

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An average movie

Posted : 3 days, 2 hours ago on 17 December 2014 09:13 (A review of Sphere)

This is one movie which definitely had some potential but it turned out to be seriously disappointing after all. Indeed, at first, the whole thing was actually pretty exciting, it was an adaptation from a popular book written by Michael Crichton, there was a solid director (Barry Levinson) and the cast was really neat (Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Liev Schreiber, Queen Latifah). Visually, it was also decent so you had all the ingredients to get a solid science-fiction feature. Unfortunately, even though the introduction was promising, it turned to be rather half-baked after all. Basically, it is a SF feature which tries to make you believe that it is actually smarter than your average B feature but it is not and, in fact, it is actually more boring than your average B feature. Slowly, you understand that the story goes really nowhere and even though the actors were decent and did what they could with the material, they couldn't really save this flick. Eventually, the final nail in the coffin was the terrible ending which was probably the worst thing in this already disappointing feature. To conclude, even though it could have been pretty good, it turned out to be pretty weak and I don’t think it is really worth a look.

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A very good movie

Posted : 3 days, 13 hours ago on 16 December 2014 10:05 (A review of Million Dollar Baby)

If I remember correctly, I saw it when it was released but never re-watched it ever since so I was really eager to check it out again. Basically, pretty much like ‘Changeling’, Clint Eastwood used a very well known template (a rag to riches tale of a boxer) but gave it an unexpected twist and the end-result was truly remarkable. Eventually, the movie was still about boxing and the rising of the main character was pretty entertaining. However, whereas boxing or other sport features just stop there and never become really compelling, Eastwood made a master move. Indeed, he further developed the story and it became something entirely different and really spellbinding to watch. So, the story was really fascinating and the acting was really good as well, resulting in a 2nd Academy award for Hilary Swank (it is rather striking that except for this movie and ‘Boys don’t cry’, Swank never did anything really amazing). To be honest, the whole thing was in fact a major Oscar bait, like many other movies directed by Eastwood but, this time, I thought it did work very well. To conclude, it is a classic and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in Clint Eastwood's work.

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A good movie

Posted : 4 days ago on 16 December 2014 11:08 (A review of Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron)

Even though ‘Shrek’ was a massive success, Dreamworks still did release two hand-drawn animated features afterwards before completely dropping this method (my guess is that those features were already in production before ‘Shrek’ came out so that’s why they still made them). They released this one exactly a year after ‘Shrek’ but even though it was fairly successful, it didn’t make a huge impression and it is nowadays pretty much forgotten which is too bad in my opinion. Obviously, it was a very well animated feature and the whole thing was quite gorgeous to look at but, above all, I really enjoyed the approach they took. Indeed, even though the main character was a horse, in contrary to most of Disney’s features, they didn’t make him talk which must be one of the most annoying gimmicks used by Disney. Sure, you could hear his thoughts but that was ok. This way, you get a story which was much more organic and, therefore, much more interesting to behold. Of course, the story was rather predictable but I thought it was still quite entertaining. To conclude, even though it is not really a masterpiece, it is still a pretty good animated feature and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre.

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An average movie

Posted : 4 days, 13 hours ago on 15 December 2014 10:16 (A review of Frozen)

After being overshadowed for nearly 2 decades by their own Pixar and even by Dreamworks, Disney is finally going through a renaissance and, with this movie, they even managed to break the record of the most successful animated feature ever made (a title previously owned by 'Toy Story 3'). Well, to be honest, I didn't expect this movie to become so huge and, after watching the damned thing, I actually think it is rather overrated. I mean, don’t misunderstand me, it is definitely a gorgeous animated feature and I'm really glad Disney finally managed to create their own style. Indeed, they are the only one on the market who has created a style seemingly mixing CGI animation with some good old hand-drawn animation (a trend they started with 'Tangled') and the end-result was just really impressive. So, what was my problem then? The main issue I had is that they went basically for an animated musical and while I can see that this idea was massively popular, it kind of bored me a little. I mean, sure, some of the songs were pretty good but when I see a character breaking out in a song every 5 minutes, I can’t help thinking that they are actually trying to hide the weaknesses of the story. To conclude, even though it didn’t really blow me away, it is still a very solid animated feature and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre.

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An average movie

Posted : 4 days, 21 hours ago on 15 December 2014 02:10 (A review of Striking Distance)

If I’m not mistaken, my wife actually has a weak spot for this flick but, to be honest, it must be one of the most generic action flicks starrring Bruce Willis. I mean, Willis always had a rather productive career, he showed up in more than 70 movies so far, and to be honest, I don’t think this one belongs to his worst (‘Color of Night’ is definitely his ultimate worst and ‘Hudson Hawk’ was also pretty abysmal) but the whole thing was just terribly average and pedestrian. In fact, they went through some extensive re-shooting to try to make the whole thing a little bit more exciting so the this project was already half-baked from the start. Eventually, thanks to Bruce Willis's always dependable charisma, it was still watchable but there is no denying that he was pretty much going through the motions with this one. It was also fun to see Sarah Jessica Parker playing something else than her usual Carrie Bradshaw figure (a stereotype which is getting more and more annoying through the years) but I’m not sure if she was really convincing as a cop and even more as a romantic interest for Willis. To conclude, even though the whole thing was not completely awful, it was still pretty damned average and I don’t think it is really worth a look.

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A classic

Posted : 5 days ago on 15 December 2014 11:13 (A review of Straw Dogs)

It has been a while since I have seen this movie and I will definitely check it out again when I have the opportunity. To be honest, I was actually slightly disappointed by ‘Wild Bunch’. I mean, sure, I thought it was pretty good but I failed to see what was so impressive and, in fact, I was more able to connect with this other classic directed by Sam Peckinpah. In my opinion, it is actually one of his more subtle directing efforts. Of course, in fact, as usual with this rather brutal director, it wasn’t actually not subtle at all, quite violent, especially back in those days and borderline mysognistic but, for a Peckinpah feature, it had actually quite some depth. I also enjoyed to see Dustin Hoffman who has at the top of his game at the time. Indeed, Hoffman was an unexpected but great choice to play the lead and I thought it was more intriguing to have him go beserk instead of one of the usual tough guys that you might have in such violent setting. To conclude, it is an unsettling but still very interesting thriller and I think it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in Sam Peckinpah’s work.

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