Quick Review: While, sadly, not as accomplished story-wise as Teddy Chan's previous effort, "Bodyguards & Assassins", "Kung Fu Jungle" is definitely on par with it in terms of action, boasting top-notch wire work & choreography, sharp editing, and cutting-edge camera work, with the 'weapon master' swordplay and the final fight both deserving a special mention. Donnie Yen is in top form and carries the movie with ease and Wang Baoqiang rules as the vicious killer, causing the chaos.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Quick Review: Ironically enough, there's barely anything that furious about it, especially during the first half of its way overlong 134-minutes running time, which mostly consists of random dialogues, and a couple of unimpressive combat scenes. It does get better, grittier, and more dramatic and action-packed towards the end, but overall "Fury" fails to entirely live up to its title, despite its strong cast and production values, mainly due to David Ayer's sloppy and incoherent direction.
Quick Review: The interactions between the gays and the miners are awkwardly hilarious, the visuals have that vintage-y feel that fits the 80s era it is set in, and the film itself is every bit as colorful as its quirky characters but "Pride" is less funnier than expected, as it also deals with some dramatic subjects that lower the fun. But it wouldn't be a proper queer flick if it didn't, would it? Ben Schnetzer's character is obnoxious, but all the other actors deliver, with Staunton being the best.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Quick Review: The washed-out color palette of the cinematography creates a specific mood, and gives the visuals a proper late 80s vibe, and the plot, that is based on actual events, is quietly engrossing for the most part, but truth to be told, if it wasn't for the superb performances from Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo, who all are at the top of their game, this sports drama would have been a total misfire, for the reason that the unextraordinary "Foxcatcher" lacks drive.
The Captive (2014)
Quick Review: The snowy setting matches well with the cold mood of the film, and gives the visuals an appropriate bleak feel, that also fits the pretty dramatic kidnapping story it tells, and Ryan Raynolds turns in one of the better performances of his career as the desperate father, blamed and suspected for the odd vanishing of his daughter, but "The Captive"'s choppy, back-and-forth plot structure and lack of thrills take away big time from its potential and lead to a disappointment.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies [3D] (2014)
Quick Review: It feels like director Jackson has made the previous two movies just to get to this one, where he can truly showcases us what he's capable of -- from the fiery mayhem that the opening scene stuns with to the grand battles and thrilling one- on-one fights the last hour provides, this is a pure spectacle with some of the best 3D & CGI work you will ever see, that excites, compels, and even touches at times, the latter thanks to its emotional characters.
Starry Eyes (2014)
Quick Review: It promises to be something different, trying to breath new life into the horror genre with its peculiarly nasty story that takes way too long to warm up, without actually culminating into something special, "Starry Eyes" should be considered a missed opportunity, as not only it fails to deliver, but does not answer the many questions it sets, leaving the viewer confused. And not even Alexandra Essoe's attempt to carry the entire movie single-handedly is that successful, or good.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
The Skeleton Twins (2014)
Quick Review: Just like the rocky relationship between the two quirky, likable twins, "The Skeleton Twins" has its ups and downs, and, being a 100% pure dramedy, it's not always as hilarious or as emotional as it is supposed to be, and it's probably a bit too moody for mass tastes, but all in all, everything from the real- life-like story, gentle direction, and simple urban setting, to the genuine chemistry that Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader share on the screen, appears honest, intimate and real.
Friday, December 26, 2014
The Interview (2014)
Quick Review: Way more popular for the controversy it caused, rather than for itself, the most talked-about movie of the year is actually a hit 'n' miss, mostly miss, comedy that not always generates the big laughs it is supposed to. Instead of being wittily satirical, it ends up plain idiotic, and full of stupid gags that are instantly forgettable. The charismatic James Franco easily outshines his screen buddy Rogen, but it's Randall Park as the nutty dictator that is the most interesting persona here.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Two Days, One Night (2014)
Quick Review: This deep Belgian drama about one mentally unstable, yet gracefully powerful woman on a mission to save her job, urging her colleagues to face a moral dilemma, is probably more suspenseful than most thrillers out there, giving the realistic nature of its subject matter. The capable Marion Cotillard never disappoints, and she gives another bravura performance as the fragile working mother of two, fighting to get her normal life back.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014)
Quick Review: Neither as drop- dead terrifying as the first, nor as innovative as the second, and not even as silly fun as the third, "[REC] 4: Apocalypse" is an apocalyptically mediocre final entry in the franchise, devoid of imagination and ideas. It's occasionally taut, the setting works, and the gore is great, but sadly, the film doesn't contain a single proper scare and also the conventional non POV shooting style makes it even less effective, and edgy.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
I Origins (2014)
Quick Review: Pacing-wise, it is a pretty bumpy road overall, and not everything about it makes perfect sense, but "I Origins" makes up for that with a truly unique concept, and a plot revolving around the intricacy of human eye, and how people with the exact same iris patterns can be connected to each other. As much spiritual, as it is scientific, this smart, thought-provoking drama manages to intrigue mentally with its mystery side, as well as to touch emotionally with its romantic side.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
No Good Deed (2014)
Quick Review: Idris Elba plays his part as the charming yet intimidating intruder more than convincingly, but putting that aside, almost everything about this thriller wanna be is so corny and predictable, you will often find yourself rolling your eyes a lot. As far as thrills go, the movie mainly relies on rather cheap shocks, and ironically enough, what's happening outside the setting (bad weather) is scarier than all bad stuff happening in the house which makes "No Good Deed" no good, indeed.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
Quick Review: Although it does come a bit later than it should, this morbid, gritty, brutal, and violence-driven sequel will hardly disappoint the fans of the original, thanks to a stellar cast, confident direction, and intriguing plot. Its otherwise unique visual style does not really feel as impressive as back in 2005, even if this black and white imagery with a pop of saturated color is still pretty artsy, and gives the movie a comic book look and feel, also.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Exodus: Gods and Kings [3D] (2014)
Quick Review: Kudos to director Ridley Scott for being able to pull off such a technically challenging film -- he does it tastefully, but it feels like he had paid more attention on the visuals than on the story. Alternating from snoozy dull to reasonably epic, "Exodus" is inconsistent and pretty messy, with its highlights being the spectacular 'plague' scenes, almost ruined by the often useless 3D. Bale and Edgerton both do their best and work superbly together.
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)
Quick Review: With a better cast and execution, and slightly more dynamic plot, this is the less horrible "Horrible Bosses" of the two. That being said, much like the original, this loud sequel fails to deliver big laughs, and at least a tiny bit of wittiness. Instead, it continues in the same fashion with typical vulgarity, tired jokes, and very cheap humor. Waltz, Spacey and Aniston are all amusing, but the rest of the cast are either boring, or obnoxious... or way too much in-your-face.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The Theory of Everything (2014)
Quick Review: It is not an easy watch for sure, because of its slow, but not that smooth pacing and the pretty sad story it tells, but "The Theory of Everything" nevertheless remains a solid biopic with a touch of genuine romance, that entertains as well a moves. Both leads deliver, but it's Redmayne that deserves a special mention for his award-worthy portrayal. The cinematography is very rich and gives the movie visual authenticity and charm.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Still Alice (2014)
Quick Review: Along with "You're Not You", "Still Alice" is another wonderfully-crafted drama dealing with illness, that is as absorbing as it's heartbreaking to watch. Julianne Moore's heartfelt portrayal of a middle-aged professor, diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease deserves recognition, if not an Oscar -- she conveys the struggles of her sick character so believably, it's deeply touching, plus, the visual simplicity contrasts beautifully with the film's difficult subject matter.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Quick Review: It wins some points for its weird originality, and there are some truly funny moments in it, as well as some delightfully gruesome ones, but all in all, Smith's "Tusk", is over-exaggerated and absolutely ridiculous in every way, and even if that seems intentional, it does not work in the film's favor at all. With the first half having a different feel than the second, you can't help but feel you are watching two different movies. The characters in it are not at all that likeable, either.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Quick Review: Arguably, the most mind-bending film since "Inception", "Predestination"'s two-layered plot, that skilfully balances extraordinary drama and time travel sci-fi, offers thought-provoking paradoxes, and twisty infinite time loops, that mess with your head in the most thrilling way possible, leaving a lot to think about after the credits roll. There's a lot to be impressed by here, from the sheer originality, and excellent direction, to Sarah Snook's superb performance in the lead.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
A Most Wanted Man (2014)
Quick Review: Set in dim, murky Hamburg to fit the lurid atmosphere, this skillfully executed espionage thriller has a lot going on for it, and will definitely keep you intrigued, thanks to its intricate puzzle of a plot, but for better or worse, "A Most Wanted Man" is a bit too subtle for the most part, hence, it won't be to everyone's liking. The entire A-list cast turn in excellent performances, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman being the true standout here, with a role that deserves to be seen.
Quick Review: A peculiar ghost story and nonsensical voodoo stuff mash-up with little to no connection between its frequently confusing plot elements, "Jessabelle" may has its decent moments of creepiness, but overall, it is an incompetently put together horror feature, that has nothing new or original to provide, leaning entirely on Sarah Snook's solid lead performance as the title character, who makes it watchable at times. Don't expect any genuine suspense from this one.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Quick Review: Not only it gives us a very intimate look at its intriguing subject matter of crime journalism with curious details, but this intense, steadily-paced and technically-slick thriller celebrates Jake Gyllenhaal's best performance yet, as the driven, determined, but as well monstrously cold-blooded and manipulative Lou, who will most likely shock you with his disturbing behavior. Much like its lead character, "Nightcrawler" has a dark side to it, that makes it scary in a genuinely credible way.
As Above, So Below (2014)
Quick Review: Arguably the most claustrophobic movie, since "The Decent", "As Above, So Below"'s confined maze-y setting will certainly make you feel uptight, uneasy, and probably gasping for air, but it has other strengths as well -- it explores human fear, as well as theory of hell existence rather effectively, using archeological 'facts' and some good 'found footage' techniques, in order to deliver a frightening experience, horror geeks will enjoy.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Quick Review: Quvenzhane Wallis is hilarious and utterly adorable as the title characters, and steals every moment she is on screen, but sadly the rest of the cast fails to deliver, particularly Diaz with her obnoxious performance. And even though it's a musical, the singing in "Annie" is too frequent, kind of distracting, and not always good. The corny, predictable plot further bring this otherwise cute movie down, and puts it into to the 'average at best' category, which is never ever a good thing.