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All reviews - Movies (6549) - TV Shows (12)

An average movie

Posted : 1 month, 1 week ago on 9 December 2020 09:42 (A review of Mulan)

Even though this movie didn’t get much love when it was released (it has a rather weak 5.5 rating on IMDb), since this movie was finally available for free on Disney+, I thought I might as well check it out. Well, I thought it was a decent live-action adaptation but, to be honest, not much than that. I mean, Disney at least did their best to be respectful by avoiding any whitewashing and by toning down most of the humor displayed in the animated version (so no Mushu here). In fact, the first half was fairly identical which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but they could have fleshed out to the supporting characters. Eventually, the only major deviation was to make Mulan revealing her true identity instead of being discovered more or less by accident. Even though I understood this choice (it did make her more honourable and stronger in general), I’m not sure if it really worked though. Indeed, the whole point of this tale was that Mulan makes a conscious decision to dishonour herself and her family so she could fight to save her kingdom and prevent her father from dying in battle. However, to double back this way, it did make her original decision rather pointless. On top of that, it seemed actually rather selfish to decide to reveal herself in the middle of a war going on with the Rourans, as if they really had the time to deal with her identity crisis and new sense of guilt. To make things worse, after this reveal, she was first banished and shamed but, then, a few minutes later, she was already leading a squad of soldiers and this switch was just jarring, probably even more than in the animated version. Finally, it always seemed to be some kind of wishful thinking to believe that Mulan would be eventually heralded and seen as a true warrior by the emperor and the rest of the Chinese empire, even after accomplishing so many incredible deeds, but and that was always the weakest point with this tale. Anyway, to conclude, even if it seemed to be another rather pointless live-action adaptation from Disney, I still think that Niki Caro did a solid job, it is still an entertaining tale so I think it is worth a look, especially if you like the genre.



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An average movie

Posted : 1 month, 1 week ago on 8 December 2020 11:34 (A review of The Dark Tower)

Even though this movie had been a major critical and commercial flop, for some reasons, I still wanted to check it out though. First of all, I have to admit I haven’t read any of the books in The Dark Tower series and, to be honest, I have actually never really been a huge fan of Stephen King’s work. However, the idea of King writing a story over 8 books for about 30 years for some reason did sound fascinating to me and the damned thing definitely had some potential. Unfortunately, they obviously completely messed up this adaptation though. The first bewildering thing, at least to me, was the fact that, from this huge epic saga, they delivered a movie lasting only 90 mins. I mean, this story was supposed to be some kind of combination of ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ with ‘The Lord of the Rings’, there is a good reason that these movies run almost of even above 3 hours and I seriously think that it was the main issue with this flick. Of course, you could argue that it would have been further developed with a possible sequel but can you imagine ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ lasting only 90 mins? Anyway, there is no doubt that the damned thing turned out to be really half-baked but, at least, the casting was pretty neat with Matthew McConaughey playing the Man in Black and Idris Elba playing the Gunslinger. To conclude, my rating was probably way too generous for this movie but I just loved this concept and, only therefore, the damned thing got a free extra points for me, even if it didn’t actually really deserve it. 



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A good movie

Posted : 1 month, 1 week ago on 7 December 2020 01:12 (A review of Mank)

When I first heard about this project, I have to admit I wasn’t really excited. On the other hand, I have always been a big fan of David Fincher so I was still eager to check it out, especially since it had been 6 long years since he had delivered his last directing effort. Well, unfortunately, even though I really admired the work done, to be honest, I can’t say I was really blown by the end-result though. I mean, as usual with this director, it was visually really impressive and I loved the way he tried to reproduce the vibe of a movie from the same time period. Furthermore, Herman Mankiewicz was an interesting character and Gary Oldman gave another really strong performance. In fact, the first issue was already the fact that, beside Mankiewicz, none of the other characters were developed whatsoever. However, the biggest problem was that, even though this movie was obviously a passion project for Fincher (it was even written by his father years ago), it was interesting at best but never really fascinating, I’m afraid. In a sense, you could compare it to ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ which was basically Tarantino’s love songs to the end-60’s Hollywood, in this case, Fincher brought us back to the 1930's Hollywood with his meticulous attention to the details but, just like with Tarantino’s acclaimed opus, I just didn’t care much like they both did. Furthermore, concerning the conception of ‘Citizen Kane’, it didn’t go really deep after all. I mean, basically, Mankiewicz locked himself up in some lodge in the middle of nowhere and delivered one of the best screenplays ever written, that’s it. Then, they gave us a very long succession of people passing by advising him to drop this project but, of course, that didn’t happen, so it was hardly interesting either. Finally, it seems that this movie was also some kind of jab towards Orson Welles. Basically, they argued that Welles was not such a wunderkind after all because he wasn’t the only one responsible for ‘Citizen Kane’ success but I thought it was rather baseless. Obviously, Welles didn’t make ‘Citizen Kane’ all by himself but, for example, even if Paul Schrader did write ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Raging Bull’ and did an amazing job, these 2 movies will always be considered as Martin Scorsese’s masterpieces nonetheless. Anyway, to conclude, even if I didn’t care much the material, it was still another fine directing effort by David Fincher and only therefore, the damned thing is still definitely worth a look. 



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A good movie

Posted : 1 month, 2 weeks ago on 4 December 2020 09:40 (A review of A Question of Silence)

Since this movie is basically a Dutch classic (it is even included in the ‘1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die’ list), I was really eager to check it out. Well, even though it is a visually rather ugly movie, the material turned out to be however really unique and quite fascinating to behold. Indeed, I think it was the most feminist movie I have ever seen and it was clearly made by a woman, about women, for the women. Of course, you might argue that what happened in this movie was rather far-fetched but, what was more interesting, was the underlying message. Basically, it boils down to that, in this man dominated world, women have always been, oppressed might too strong, but at least undermined, undervalued, vastly misunderstood and definitely not treated as equal. The downside of this approach was that, while all the women were quite complex and interesting to behold, the male characters were on the other hand barely developed whatsoever and were reduced to pretty much some clueless sexist morons. On top of that, I was not really sure about the beehive behaviour displayed by all these women. Indeed, to be honest, I have some doubts that the female community is so harmonious and that they have such a great understanding of each other with some seemingly telepathic powers. Finally, we are obviously supposed to be rooting for these 3 women but imagine if 3 men would kill a woman so randomly and so violently? I’m pretty sure that they would be considered as ‘monsters’. On the other hand, you might argue that white straight men will probably never have a reason to lose their sh*t like that. Anyway, to conclude, it has been a while since I have seen something so original and so thought-provoking and, even if it might not be flawless, it is definitely worth a look. 



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An average movie

Posted : 1 month, 2 weeks ago on 3 December 2020 10:00 (A review of Hillbilly Elegy)

Even though this movie was really poorly received, since it was directed by Ron Howard and since it was available on Netflix, I was still eager to check it out. Well, maybe because I had some rather low expectations but, to be honest, I didn’t think it was so bad at after all. At least, the material definitely had some potential but I have to admit that this movie still never really worked though. The first issue was that Ron Howard was obviously not the right guy to handle such a dark material. I mean, this story was clearly about a highly dysfunctional family but, instead of diving into the complex mechanisms involved in this group of people, Howard always remained skin-deep and instead constantly hammered the fact that the narrator actually really loved his family. In the same way, the general tone, especially the soundtrack, was just too light for this material. The directing was not the only problem though. Indeed, this movie was another example that the back-and-forth in time remains such a useless and annoying gimmick. Finally, I haven’t read the book it was adapted from but the fact that it was a best-seller doesn’t necessarily mean that it was actually really great. I mean, you could assume that the main drive of this story was the deconstruction of the American Dream  showing in the process that some big chunks of the American population will never come close to this ideal. Yet, the fact that this tale was actually told by a guy who came from nothing and managed to study at Yale and eventually became a venture capitalist  and a successful author, basically reaching the American Dream, in my opinion, clearly undermined the whole message. Finally, the movie spent too time much on the narrator who remains seriously clueless about what was going around him, even as a grown-up, when they should have focused more on Mamaw and Bev. At least, even though their performances reeked of Oscar-bait, I still think that Amy Adams and Glenn Close were both really good in this flick. Anyway, to conclude, in spite of its flaws, I think it was a decent watch though but there is no doubt that it was another rather misguided directing effort from Ron Howard. 



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An average movie

Posted : 1 month, 2 weeks ago on 2 December 2020 10:28 (A review of HHhH)

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this flick but since there was a decent cast involved, I thought I might as well check it out. First of all, ‘HHhH’ was such a weird title. Apparently, it stands for ‘Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich’ meaning ‘Himmler's brain is called Heydrich’ but I’m not surprised they switched to the much accessible ‘The Man with the Iron Heart’ at some point. Anyway, beside its title, the material was actually pretty strong but, to be honest, I wasn’t so sure by the approach they took. Basically, the movie was divided into 2 parts, the first one dealing with the rise of Reinhard Heydrich within the 3rd Reich and the second one dealing with the suicide mission to get rid of him but this mix didn’t really work and the end-result was 2 rather half-baked stories. The first part focusing on Reinhard Heydrich had the most potential, even if the first couple of scenes were rather clunky. Indeed, I have to admit that I had never heard of the guy before but it was a rather fascinating character. Unfortunately, in spite a really solid performance by Jason Clarke, eventually, we didn’t really get any insights about this psycho. Indeed, what was his drive? Why was he so fanatic about his horrifying and completely messed-up job? I mean, the only thing you get is that, when his wife first met him, someone told her he was ‘weird’. The second part was even more problematic though. Indeed, out of nowhere, they dropped Heydrich and focused on the 2 guys who killed him but this switch was just jarring. To make things worse, these 2 heros, Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcík, were even less developed than Heydrich. Seriously, you learn basically nothing about them except that the first thing they did when they got back to Czechoslovakia was to both hook up with some random girls. I won’t blame Jack O'Connell and Jack Reynor, they did what they could with this material but their characters were just terribly uncharismatic. Anyway, to conclude, in spite of its flaws, it remains a really interesting story and I think it is worth a look but there is no doubt that it could have been so much better. 



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A good movie

Posted : 1 month, 2 weeks ago on 1 December 2020 11:06 (A review of The Infiltrator)

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this flick but the story did sound intriguing and since I have a weak spot for Bryan Cranston, I thought I might as well check it out. Well, it was definitely a strong story and the movie itself was decent enough but, to be honest, not much more than that. The first issue was probably that, these last few years, I have seen so many movies and TV-shows dealing with the Medellín cartel. Above all, after watching ‘Narcos’, it might seem to be an impossible task for a movie to be as thorough and comprehensive as the Netflix’s masterful TV-show, especially with only 2 hours of running time. In this case, Brad Furman chose a realistic approach and managed to display all the major milestones happening during this cover-up operation but, sometimes, I got slightly lost in the technicality of this operation. Above all, I think they failed to show 2 important aspects in this story. First of all, there was the fact that Robert Mazur managed to infiltrate the highest levels of the Medellín cartel with the very few resources provided by the law enforcement (for example, Mazur apparently paid for the expensive suits out of his own pocket). Another point that was barely scratched by this movie was the fact that, for 2 long years, Mazur had to live 2 different complete lives and that he constantly had to switch between being Robert Mazur, a mild-mannered family man with 2 kids, and being Bob Musella, a rather flamboyant money launderer working for the Columbian drug mob. I guess that’s the tricky thing with a feature length movie, the fact there is basically no time to further develop such interesting elements. The fact that everything happening was actually rather predictable didn't help either. Anyway, to conclude, in spite of its flaws, it was still a very interesting tale with a solid performance by Bryan Cranston and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre. 



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An average movie

Posted : 1 month, 2 weeks ago on 30 November 2020 09:38 (A review of Winter's Tale)

Since this movie had been really poorly received when it was released, I didn’t expect much but since there was a nice cast involved, I thought I might as well check it out anyway. Well, at least, you have to give Akiva Goldsman some credit to tackle something so ambitious (Apparently, Martin Scorsese backed out because he thought the book was actually unfilmable). Unfortunately, it was probably too much to handle for him, especially since it was his directorial debut. Basically, it was some kind of romantic fairy-tale but, while it was obviously supposed to be whimsical and charming, it turned out to be actually really cheesy, rather silly, borderline offensive but, above all, really tedious. For example, was it really a smart move to have the only prominent black character play Lucifer? Then, there is a fair chance that this movie must sting like a b*tch for all the parents who have lost a young child to cancer. Concerning the cast, Goldsman had been working in Hollywood for 25 years so he managed to gather many interesting actors among his friends and previous associates but they clearly struggled with the rather weak material. Colin Farrell did his best to look dreamy but he was hardly convincing. Russell Crowe was probably the worst of the bunch as he gave a seriously hammy performance. William Hurt had only a couple of scenes and barely left an impression. Jennifer Connelly seemed completely lost playing another really thankless role. At least, Will Smith was not bad but he had the advantage to play only 2 scenes moderating the damage in the process. What was left was the charming Jessica Brown Findlay who was the only one who managed to find the perfect tone but I’m afraid this critical flop pretty much derailed an otherwise really promising career. Anyway, the biggest issue was with the story though. Seriously, the whole thing never worked but, above all, was never entertaining whatsoever. To conclude, the damned thing was just really weak and I don’t think it is really worth a look.



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An average movie

Posted : 1 month, 3 weeks ago on 27 November 2020 09:28 (A review of Serenity)

Since this movie had been really poorly received, I didn’t expect much from it, but since there was a nice cast involved, I thought I might as well check it out. Well, first of all, I have to admit that it was an ambitious movie with an interesting concept. Indeed, after watching people being stuck in the Matrix, in some weird Alien world (‘Dark City’), in a TV-show (‘The Truman Show’) or in a book (‘Stranger Than Fiction’), why not in a video-game? At least, it sounded more appealing than watching Matthew McConaughey endlessly trying to catch some big tuna. Unfortunately, even though this concept definitely had some potential, it turned out to be so poorly developed, I’m afraid. The first issue was with the characters. I’m still not sure if it was because they were poorly written or because the actors involved gave some rather weak performances, especially Anne Hathaway who was seriously rather cringe-inducing to behold. Of course, you could argue that it was done on purpose because, after all, they were no real people but some characters in a video-game, but even within this concept, it didn't make these characters more interesting or entertaining. The other major issue were the major plot-holes through the whole thing. In fact, I think that probably half of the movie displayed some form of plot-holes. I'm not sure which one was the most problematic or the most annoying one but I would go for the fact that some characters in this video-game would suddenly become so aware of their predicament without a shred of explanation. Also the fact that that one of the characters would casually mention that Patrick had designed his own video-game was just so terribly lazy. Anyway, to conclude, even though Steven Knight had a decent idea, the end-result was eventually terribly weak and I don't think it is really worth a look. 



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A good movie

Posted : 1 month, 3 weeks ago on 26 November 2020 11:18 (A review of Athlete A)

Since I kept hearing some pretty good things about this flick and since it was available on Netflix, I thought I might as well check it out. Well, it turned out to be a really strong documentary but, to be honest, even though it was sometimes shocking, some of it was actually hardly surprising, I’m afraid. Eventually, the only critic I might have was that the whole thing was rather scattered. Indeed, most of the duration was about the massively creepy and even rather horrifying Larry Nassar but, sometimes, it felt like the makers wanted to go beyond that and show that the gymnastics world, in general, on that such high competitive level, is actually based on child cruelty. I know my wife has always been a huge fan of gymnastics and she watches it on TV on a regular basis but I would rather skip it from now on. In this documentary, it was also argued that the cruelty regarding this young children is something specific to this sport but, while it seems to be indeed on a rather extreme level in this sport, in almost all major sports, children are scouted at a very young age. For example, in football (soccer), in Europe or South America, a young talent can be scouted at 12 years old and sent to a football training camp. It is pretty much what happened to Lionel Messi who spent basically his whole life playing in one form or another for the FC Barcelona. Coming back to Larry Nassar, I wonder why the USA Gymnastics didn’t quietly get rid off him and get some other doctor instead? I mean, Bela and Marta Karolyi, even if they might seem pretty evil as well, were the cornerstone of the whole training programme but Nassar didn’t seem to be some kind of wonder doctor. Anyway, to conclude, even if I wish they went a little bit deeper on the problematic of having such young children competing at such a high level, the whole thing was still quite heart-breaking and really interesting to behold and it is definitely worth a look.



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