Movies

Back and Bigger and Badder than Ever!

Ok well maybe a slight exaggeration there… I’m back and the same as ever. It’s been awhile since my last post and I’ve watched many movies (27 to be exact) since then, but haven’t been able to find the words to review them. Fear not, my ability to put thoughts into words has returned! I will be rapid firing off some short, quick reviews of the movies I’ve watched that I can still remember well enough.

Casablanca (1942)

casablanca I think this is the one that broke my blog writing spirit. Such a classic, but honestly not very enjoyable for me. It suffered too much from a case of unbelievable romance. For a movie in the romance genre, if I’m not buying it… I’m not enjoying it.

Verdict: 7/10 Meh


 Ex Machina (2015)

ex_machinaOn the other hand, this is the one that almost re-invigorated my blog writing spirit. I was looking forward to this one since I saw the trailer, and it did not disappoint. I loved every minute of it. That house was beautiful and the story was very intriguing. I’m a huge sucker for these sci-fi movies and with AI in general, so it really hit home for me. The implications of the ending completely blew my mind and made me look twice at every one I pass on the street. Who really knows? I sure don’t! For all I know, you’re a robot scanning the internet for information to one day enslave the human race. And for all you know, I’m a robot who literally lost their ability to put words into thoughts and was out getting repairs this entire time.

Verdict: 9/10 I’m keeping an eye on you…


The Imitation Game (2014)

imitation_gameAnother of the movies I was looking forward to. Sadly, in this case, it did disappoint. It disappointed hardcore. If they gave an award for most anti-climactic movie, this one would definitely be in the running. It just ended… that’s it. The pacing was way off and it was hard for me to stay interested in it. It was another of those movies with scenes that are tossed in because they need to quickly advance the plot. For example, Turing’s girlfriend, Joan, gets in a fight with him and tells him he is wasting his time. He will never solve the problem. This shows us that there is some turmoil in the relationship. That is a great little scene to toss in, but then immediately after this he asks her to marry him. If they were going to show us problems in their relationship only to have them instantly be mended, what was the point? Either split that scene up and sprinkle that seed of relationship doubt throughout other scenes, or ignore it completely and just have them be “happy”.

Verdict: 7/10 Needs to come with a free extra large coffee


Pitch Black (2000)

I knew exactly what I was getting into when I watched this movie and it actually wasn’t too bad. As an action type movie, it was interesting enough. Yeah the special effects were pretty awful, but I’ve seen a lot worse. I would recommend watching this with someone else just so you can laugh at the cheese factor together.

Verdict: 7/10 Entertaining enough


Enemy (2013)

doubleIf you’ve heard of this movie, you’ve probably also heard, “Wtf was that spider at the end?!” so I’m not going to go there. Yeah, the ending is a little weird, and the whole movie might also be a little weird, but it has a Fight Club type appeal for me. I didn’t realize what was actually happening the entire time with the whole double thing, only after I was reading posts about the movie did it finally click. I think you’re better off not really understanding the movie, then understanding it and then watching it again through a different pair of eyes. This is exactly what I plan to do at some point… until then the verdict will be pretty average, but this is an interesting little movie for sure. Jake Gyllenhaal is awesome!

Verdict: 7/10 Weird, but interesting


Honorable Mentions

Tokyo Godfathers (2003) Verdict: 8/10 Make it through the first 10-15 minutes and you’ll get into it

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014) Verdict: 8/10 Infuriating and sad

Citizenfour (2014) Verdict: 8/10 Very interesting and informative

Still Alice (2014) Verdict: 8/10 Sad… really abrupt ending though

OXV: The Manual (2013) Verdict: 8/10 Really weird, just stick with it and it gets better and better

Rebecca (1940) Verdict: 8/10 Entertaining and likeable characters


Dishonorable Mentions

Serpico (1973) Verdict: 6/10 Bad music, slowly paced, semi-anti-climatic ending

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Verdict: 6/10 Willie is one of the most annoying character I’ve watched, the rest of the movie is pretty solid though

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) Verdict: 6/10 Wasn’t as good as I was expecting, might re-watch at some point

Fitzcarraldo (1982) Verdict: 5/10 Just really boring, a pain to sit through

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Movies

The Best of Youth (2003) Part 2

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What a movie. I am actually amazed that a movie like this could have ever been made. Throughout the entire 6 hour runtime, this movie never dragged or had me looking at my watch. Now I normally give away free spoilers without a care in the world but I wouldn’t feel right this time. If you plan on watching this movie then just stop reading now.

Ok… now that they’re gone, here is why I think this movie is brilliant. I didn’t see Matteo’s suicide coming at all. When he jumped off the balcony my jaw literally dropped in shock and after thinking about it some more I kind of realized that was how his family felt. They didn’t see it coming and were in just as much shock when it happened. I didn’t really even believe it or process it until his brother, sister and mom were walking outside his apartment and started crying. It was amazing how much the movie managed to pull me in and feel how the characters felt. Another great decision they made was to do it about half way through the second half. I looked at the time and thought how will they do the rest of the movie without him? You got so used to him being in the movie and expected him to be there to the end much like his family expected. I don’t normally analyze movies like this, but this was done so perfectly I can’t help it.

Another thing I really admired was how Nicola set Giulia up to be caught by the police so she wouldn’t kill anybody. He really did love her and only wanted the best for her, it’s too bad she didn’t see it. I hated her character for most of the movie, but I guess she is just as human as anyone else… she was so lucky to have a daughter that was willing to forgive her. Her character arc came to an end with her playing the piano for her daughter which was so beautiful and I couldn’t have imagined a more fitting end for her. On the other hand, I was a little disappointed with the end of Giorgia’s story. It was nice that she got out of the hospital and gets to start her life, but I wish she had gotten a little more screen time and had the chance to see Matteo again.

I could go on and on about this movie because… well… there’s a lot of material to talk about. The characters and storytelling were top notch and this movie just goes to show how you shouldn’t judge a movie by its cover (or length, genre or language). If I ran away scared like my instinct told me to, I would never have watched such a great movie.

Verdict: 9/10 Needs nothing

Movies

The Best of Youth (2003) Part 1

the_best_of_youth_1

The Best of Youth is an extremely daunting movie watching experience. Part of me said don’t watch it, it will be the worst time of your life, and the other part of me said do it, it’s on your list. Why would I be so wary of a little movie you ask? Well, the Best of Youth is a 6 hour (yes, that’s 6 hours… no typo) Italian movie about two brothers’ lives. The first 20 minutes did not fail to disappoint and I was thoroughly uninterested. Something magical happened after that and I got really into the story, so much so that 3 hours went by and I was still interested. I’m going to do this in 2 posts because it’s such a long movie and I couldn’t last through 6 hours straight.

The story basically follows 2 brothers as they live their lives; moving from place to place, getting married, having kids, changing jobs. For you to enjoy this kind of movie you need to like the characters, if you don’t you will absolutely despise every slow minute. Luckily I really got into it in the beginning when they were going on their road trip. I liked the character of Giorgia who was given electroshock therapy to treat her mental condition. She was such a sympathetic character, and seeing the brothers trying to help her made me instantly become invested in them. This movie brings in elements from all sorts of different genres. There’s the college road trip, the military recruit scene, the courtroom drama and many others that all tie in to one story. Some things are incredibly incredibly coincidental, like how the brothers keep bumping into each other in random places, but it helps the movie to move along so I didn’t really mind it. The tie back from the 2nd half to the 1st half of the movie is when Nicola starts shutting down mental asylums that use electroshock therapy and abuse their patients, and finds Giorgia. Seeing her so beat up and mentally damaged was heartbreaking. She’s a really interesting character and the actress who plays her is perfect. She has such expressive eyes that completely draw you in. I’m guessing that the second half will also include her and maybe her recovery. Now, I’m also a sucker for music so the scene where Nicola’s father convinces Giulia to play piano for him was so beautiful, it almost made me want to go dust off the piano. It’s too bad Giulia turns out to be a terrible person who abandons her family, what can you do I guess.

All the character’s relationships were very interesting and felt so grounded in reality. I’m curious to see where everybody ends up, and especially curious to see what happens to Giorgia.

Preliminary Verdict: 8/10 Needs me to watch the last 3 hours