QuickRating: It lacks originality and it's more creepy rather than scary, however, "The Awakening" proves to be more than just another ghost story - it's clever, stylishly-shot, intelligently-written, full of chilling moments, and has a fully satisfying twist ending you won't see coming. Visually, it flaunts an atmospheric, gorgeously murky cinematography and a beautiful, yet truly sinister setting, plus, Rebecca Hall turns in a fantastic performance here.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
QuickRating: Probably with a stronger script, bigger budget and more capable director, it could have been a great little indie horror flick, but for what it is, "Absentia" is just mediocre at best. The lackluster execution doesn't live up to the ambitious premise, Mike Flanagan's direction is weak and incompetent, the acting is completely amateurish, and the cinematography is plain and dull. On the top of that, the film is nowhere nearly as scary and original as it thinks it is.
QuickRating: Israel's first-ever horror movie (and hopefully their last) starts out promising enough, with an utterly claustrophobic and intense opening sequence, but soon after that it turns into a nonsensical mess that despite its familiar scenario tries hard to be original and inventive, but ends up being a boring, confusing and tasteless horror flick with lots of gore, but no scares whatsoever.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Extremely Loud &
Incredibly Close (2011)
Incredibly Close (2011)
QuickRating: As quirky as its title suggests, "EL & IC" is overly sentimental, slightly pretentious and emotionally manipulative, therefore, it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but those with an open mind will find this strangely whimsical modern-day adventure very touching, emotional and entertaining. The fantastic cast elevates the movie to another level and Daldry's moody, yet energetic direction adds to the experience.
Young Adult (2011)
QuickRaitng: It has a dark nature, hence, it's hard to call it enjoyable, and its grim visual style is far from appealing, but "Young Adult" is nonetheless a well-balanced and engaging dramedy, that has as many laughs as it does serious moments. The gorgeous Charlize Theron delivers a very charismatic lead performance, and even though it's hard to feel sympathy for her barely likable character at first, later on you'll find yourself in love with Mavis' childish naughtiness.
QuickRating: It's messily narrated, convoluted and it lacks cohesion, which makes it a bit difficult to watch especially during the first hour or so, but the film's pseudo historical plot is still intriguing and somewhat clever, and it manages to hold your attention on the muddled mystery, plus, "Anonymous" boasts some truly stunning period settings and an exquisitely lavish costumes that make it one of the most visually striking movies of 2011.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
QuickRating: Even though it is based on a true story, the plot itself is hardly anything special, but Curtis' "My Week with Marilyn" is nonetheless a truly engaging and thoroughly entertaining bio-drama about the most popular woman of all time, that fascinates with its vibrant visuals and refined direction, but what makes it truly outstanding is the sensational performance by Michelle Williams who captures the spirit of Monroe quite perfectly.
QuickRating: Bold, daring and graphic, if hardly unforgettable, "Shame" is a a simple and moody, yet somewhat mesmerizing portrait of a sex addict, that relies on its appealing, talented cast. Michael Fassbender delivers one of his best performances so far, and Carey Mulligan does a remarkable job as well, and the on-screen relationship between them is very tense and believable, and probably the most memorable thing about this movie.
Soldier Spy (2011)
Soldier Spy (2011)
QuickRating: It's pretty to look at, thanks to the beautiful production design and atmospherically dim cinematography, and Gary Oldman along with the rest of the cast deliver outstanding performances, but "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" suffers badly from an unfocused narrative, incoherent plot structure and a lazy direction that turn it into a dull and lifeless espionage thriller, with little to no thrills at all.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
War Horse (2011)
QuickRating: It doesn't rank as one of Steven Spielberg's most remarkable films and Jeremy Irvine's lead performance feels a bit forced, but "War Horse" makes up for its minor flaws with a touching, gripping and well-structured story, masterful direction, brilliantly-executed battle scenes and an authentic production design and absolutely ravishing cinematography that make it one of the most good-looking movies of 2011, if not one of the best.
A Dangerous Method (2011)
QuickRating: Not necessarily one of David Cronenberg's most finest achievements, but still a pretty solid effort, "A Dangerous Method" is an intriguing and thought-provoking drama exploring the complicated human sexuality in a very intelligent way using historical facts, that is nicely-shot and complemented by strong performances from Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen, the latter being the best of the bunch.
We Bought a Zoo (2011)
QuickRating: It's predictable, quite straightforward, and it lacks depth, but "We Bought a Zoo" is still sweet, pleasant to watch and even moving at times, plus, it showcases love and respect for both animals and humans, and it's full of likable characters and adorable creatures. Matt Damon delivers a pretty engaging performance as the kind and determined father, and Scarlett Johansson proves everyone who thinks she can't act wrong.
J. Edgar (2011)
QuickRating: From Clint Eastwood's unbelievably heavy-handed direction, atrocious lighting and poor make-up, to the muddled pacing and incoherent narrative, everything about "J. Edgar" is a complete disaster. However, half way through, the movie puts itself back together and becomes easier to watch and much more gripping, plus, Leonardo DiCaprio's award-worthy performance saves it from being a total bummer of a film.
The Iron Lady (2011)
QuickRating: Meryl Streep's performance as the title character is simply sensational and arguably the best of 2011, and thanks to her, the movie is somewhat watchable and fairly engaging, but "The Iron Lady" doesn't really work as a biopic, nor as a character study, because half of it features a documentary-like footage, and the other half spends way too much time on Thatcher's late life and not enough time on the start of her political career.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Puss in Boots [3D] (2011)
QuickRating: The most memorable "Shrek" character finally got the solo spotlight it deserved. It ain't groundbreaking, but it still delivers what it promises - the animation is dazzling, the 3D adds to the already slick visuals, the jokes work and the plot is fun, engaging and exciting. Antonio Banderas does an amazing job voicing the title character, and the rest of the cast is great, but it's the hilarious 'Ooh cat' that remains the true highlight of the movie.
Ronal the Barbarian (2011)
QuickRating: Featuring irony, dirty language, lots of gore, big boobs, naked bumps, and even bulges, "Ronal the Barbarian" is definitely not suitable for little kids. The older audience, however, will enjoy all the hilarious naughtiness on screen. This cool Danish animated feature spoofs "Conan" and "Lord of the Rings" in a very refreshing, clever and witty way, and the animation is polished and well put together.
Cars 2 (2011)
QuickRating: It won't be a lie to call "Cars 2" a pretty decent animated flick. However, compared to all the other magnificent Pixar films, this is without a doubt the studio's weakest animated movie since, well, the original "Cars". The animation is, crisp, vivid and delightfully colorful, Lasseter and Lewis' direction is energetic and brisk and the story is solid, but let's face it - the whole concept of talking human-like cars just isn't intriguing enough.
A Monster in Paris (2011)
QuickRating: Clever, unique and quirky, if far from exceptional, "A Monster in Paris" is a charming and often amusing French animated flick, that balances well musical, comedy, drama and 'horror', and gets better and better with each next scene. The animation itself is spot-on, the Parisian CGI scenery is absolutely splendid, and the songs are a pleasure to listen and so catchy, they'll stick in your head long after the credits roll.
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
QuickRating: The breathtaking hand-drawn animation is beautiful in its simplicity, the innocence of all the sweet and charming characters is adorable, and it definitely brings back childhood memories, but while "Winnie the Pooh" is great fun for little kids, the older members off the audience may find it too juvenile, sluggish, and not to say annoying, and despite its ultra-short running time, this otherwise cute animated flick feels a bit tiresome and slow.
Happy Feet Two (2011)
QuickRating: The animation is still jaw-dropping, and the characters are sweet, absolutely adorable and beautifully-designed, but compared to its memorable and highly-original predecessor, "Happy Feet Two" feels somewhat ordinary, plus, the chaotic narrative and the lack of genuine charm make it even less impressive. Having said that, the visuals are so gorgeous and the songs are so catchy, you could easily forgive its other flaws.
Hood vs Evil (2011)
Hood vs Evil (2011)
QuickRating: While the original movie was a true breath of fresh air into the animation genre, clever and full of wit, this sequel falls flat on its face, and lacks the charm and the high entertainment value of its predecessor. The CGI animation itself has definitely improved, and the characters are still interesting, but it's the messy, uninspired script that makes "Hoodwinked Too!" a rather dull cinematic experience.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
QuickRating: Undoubtedly on par with another strikingly brutal Aussie hit from 2010, "Animal Kingdom", "Snowtown" is a harsh, gloomy and truly hard-hitting suburban crime drama, that builds tension slowly, but than explodes into violence that will disturb the viewer's mind. All of the performances are strong and believable, but it's Daniel Henshall chillingly brilliant portrayal that makes this movie worth-seeing.
QuickRating: Belgium's official Oscar entry is definitely not easy to watch, and the plot structure is kind of complicated, even though the story itself seems fairly simple at first, but what makes "Rundskop" truly unforgettable, powerful and affecting is the lead character Jacky Vanmarsenille, played outstandingly by Matthias Schoenaerts, as well as his shattering, yet incredibly moving personal story of struggle.
QuickRating: It deals with an extremely delicate subject matter in a very modest and tender way, it's also thoroughly believable and amazingly well-acted, and it's sweet and charming in a French sort of way, but it's the rather conventional execution and lack of impressive production values that stop it from being incredible, plus, "Tomboy" is way too brief to provide sufficient development of the specific topic.
The Hunter (2011)
QuickRating: It has an intriguing premise, the lush bush scenery is absolutely stunning to look at, and the capable Willem Dafoe delivers a convincing and truly captivating performance as the composed man on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger, but "The Hunter" doesn't live up to its title at all, as it promises to be a tense and thrilling action thriller, but it ends up being a slow and tedious drama that fails to engage on an emotional level.