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Saturday, January 31, 2015

[6.25/10] Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

Quick Review: What to anticipate from a live-action Disney film with a ridiculously overlong, yet humorous title? Nothing but fun... goofy, dorky, crazy silly family fun! Sure you won't remember a thing from it in a week, but there's a lot to enjoy and laugh at during watching. Garner & Carell are a comic match made in heaven, and the youngsters rule!

Friday, January 30, 2015

[7.00/10] The Normal Heart (2014)

The Normal Heart (2014)

Quick Review: Well-produced, well shot, but above all well-acted, "The Normal Heart" is an enlightening representation of the real-life scary events around the AIDS epidemic in the early 80s and the struggles of NY gay society, and an affecting, and often devastating intimate story about love, loss, determination and mutual support, led by the brilliant performances from Ruffalo, Bomer, Kitsch, Molina, Parsons & Roberts, whose passionate acting adds even more power to the story.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

[6.25/10] Selma (2014)

Selma (2014)

Quick Review: Considering the big importance of the subject it refers to "Selma" is a substantial film, indeed, and one accurately-representing an impactful story about equal voting rights with a true passion, but based purely on entertainment value, Ava DuVernay's latest somewhat fails at being consistently engaging as well as emotionally involving enough due to its dramatic inconsistency. David Oyelowo's outstanding performance and the finely subdued photography basically save the movie.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

[7.25/10] Rise of the Legend (2014)

Rise of the Legend (2014)

Quick Review: A notch below Tsui Hark's Wong Fei Hung series "Once Upon a Time in China" 1 & 2, yet still a solid effort, "Rise of Legend" may be a bit too demanding in terms of storytelling, as it often gets lost in its many flashbacks and back stories, but it more than makes up for all its messiness with some strong acting, highly polished visuals and stunning sets, but above all, with its first-rate fight scenes and inventive shooting techniques, leading to great results and perfect satisfaction.

Monday, January 26, 2015

[2.75/10] Vice (2015)

Vice (2015)

Quick Review: Not only B. Miller's utterly lifeless scifier has absolutely nothing to offer, other than tons of either uninspired or rudely borrowed ideas, all poorly executed but "Vice" takes itself so seriously so early on, it pretty quickly gets unintentionally funny, verging on laughable. It also aims to look and feel futuristic, but with no budget and no imagination, it ends up being quite lame, visually very dull and DTV-like instead. Willis does not want to be there, and Jane has too little to work with.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

[5.25/10] Everly (2015)

Everly (2015)

Quick Review: Basically a far less imaginative "Kill Bill" spin-off, and a reminiscent of "The Raid" in terms of action, "Everly" is a pure example of 'exploitation cinema' -- having a cheap B-Movie feel, and entirely set in a single luxury apartment, the film flaunts a couple of interesting ideas, but overall relies completely on two elements - the over-the-top violence filled with blood, and its leading star Salma Hayek, who gives a 'kick-ass' role, making the movie occasionally fun, yet still unsatisfying.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

[6.50/10] Unbroken (2014)

Unbroken (2014)

Quick Review:With the second half being much superior to the mostly repetitive and mildly interesting first half, Jolie's second feature, inspired by a powerful true story, is vividly- shot and technically accomplished, but the whole thing feels somewhat familiar, despite the authenticity of it, and at the end, "Unbroken" doesn't pack the emotional punch it's aiming for, leaving the viewer begging for more. Luckily for us, Jack O'Connell and the rest of the cast add a lot to the film's overall impact.

Friday, January 23, 2015

[8.50/10] Big Hero 6 (2014)

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Quick Review: As inventive, clever and energy-filled as its protagonist Hiro, as well as very lovable and fun as its other main character, Baymax, who both build up a bond so warm, emotional and heartfelt, it lights up the big screen brighter than any of its highly dazzling graphics, Disney's manga-flavored "Big Hero 6" 3D is a splendidly-animated, action-packed and truly humorous superhero flick, executed with vivid imagination, that entertains as much as it moves, due to the giant heart it has.

TOP 20 MOST-READ Quick Reviews on CineMarvellous of 2014

For the first time ever, I present you a TOP 20 list of the most popular reviews on CineMarvellous for 2014, based on Blogger statistics. It appears that the reviews for the not so popular films are actually more viewed than those for the mainstream ones, which makes sense, because most movie critics and bloggers prefer to review the 'big' films. So...

The TOP 20 MOST-READ Quick Reviews 
on CineMarvellous of 2014 are:
[click on the title to read the review]

1. Cabin Fever: Patient Zero [4.00/10]
2. 13 Sins [4.00/10]
3. Barefoot [4.25/10]
4. Where the Devil Hides [4.50/10]
5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [7.00/10]
6. The Damned [4.25/10]
7. Snowpiercer [9.75/10]
8. Alien Abduction [4.50/10]
9. Noah [5.75/10]
10. The Sacrament [6.75/10]
11. Perfect Sisters [4.50/10]
12. 300: Rise of an Empire [7.50/10]
13. 7500 [4.75/10]
14. Blue Ruin [6.25/10]
15. The Lego Movie [7.50/10]
16. Pompeii [5.25/10]
17. Haunt [4.75/10]
18. The Taking of Deborah Logan [8.00/10]
19. 3 Days to Kill [4.25/10]
20. Non-Stop [7.00/10]

All in all, much to my surprise...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

[5.50/10] Blackhat (2015)

Blackhat (2015)

Quick Review: The colorful cast, especially Chris Hemsworth, make it watchable, and the Asian locations are visually refreshing, but Michael Mann's topically old-fashioned, and surprisingly lackluster cyber thriller is not half as smart as its supposed to be, with the uninspired script and unfocused direction to blame, and although it has its riveting moments "Blackhat" fails to generate genuine thrills, or to excite its audience with something original. The ending isn't much convincing, either.

[6.75/10] Cake (2014)

Cake (2014)

Quick Review: Jennifer Aniston demonstrates a massive growth in her acting, and certainly deserves a huge praise for her stripped-down, vanity-free bravura performance as the wealthy, yet lonely middle-aged lawyer in permanent physical and emotional pain, elevating the nicely- crafted character-driven "Cake" to a level above 'your typical dramedy', and turning it into a pretty emotional bittersweet movie experience with as much laughs as drama, you cannot help but being drawn to.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

[7.25/10] Wild (2014)

Wild (2014)

Quick Review: Powered by Reese Witherspoon's striking performance as the flawed yet tough Cheryl, who fights her inner demons, by taking a long and lonely trip in the wilderness "Wild" is frankly about two journeys: the physical one filled with struggles set against the backdrop of barren scenery and the emotional one filled with more struggles, set against the backdrop of memories about pain, love, loss, and downfall. Witnessing the character's growth at the end of it all is simply inspiring!

[6.00/10] The Gambler (2014)

The Gambler (2014)

Quick Review: Is Rupert Wyatt's '14 version better than the original film? Only visually. Is it a necessary remake? Not really, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining, or worth checking out. Atmospheric and slick enough to catch your eye, as well as captivating in its own right, "The Gambler" succeeds as a character study, largely thanks to Wahlberg's great turn as the otherwise devoted professor with a gambling vice, he cannot escape from, but other than that it doesn't offer much.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

[6.75/10] American Sniper (2014)

American Sniper (2014)

Quick Review: Possessing true grit and rawness and crafted with heavy sense of realism, shown through the pale, yet crisp cinematography, and the unpolished direction, this military biopic may be often hard to watch, as it shows an outrageous violence, and revolves around a protagonist that's more menacing and disturbing then sympathetic, due to the mental marks the hellish war leaves on him, but "American Sniper" is still a solid effort by Eastwood, led by Cooper's powerhouse portrayal.

[5.00/10] The Remaining (2014)

The Remaining (2014)

Quick Review: This considerably low-budget, part apocalyptic, part Christian horror about the Rapture, may not be genuinely scary or very intense, as it contains far too many cliches, but at least it's not boring, it's adequately executed, and has a tiny bit originality about itself. What stops it from being successful is the flatness of its characters, and the fact that they're neither likable, nor well-acted to make the viewer care for them, and that quickly ruins "The Remaining"'s potential.

Monday, January 19, 2015

[8.00/10] The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game (2014)

Quick Review: Beautifully-filmed, cleverly-written, bursting with visual authenticity, and featuring arguably the best male performance of 2014, by the outstanding Cumberbatch in the lead, "The Imitation Game" has brains, heart, and looks, and works as both an informative biopic, and a thoroughly engrossing WWII thriller, telling an inspiring true story about drive and creativity, but also, using flashbacks, a more intimate one that makes us connect on a deeper level with the main character.

[6.50/10] Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)

Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)

Quick Review: Although its cliched title does not sound very promising, indeed, "Hector and the Search for Happiness" ends up being a pretty feel-good comedy with a touch of adventure, about self-discovery and the ability of letting go, that has both heart and soul, without being overly sentimental or compromising on the laughs. The always hysterical Simon Pegg delivers yet another hilariously entertaining performance, plus, the supporting cast amuses.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

[5.25/10] Birdman (2014)

Birdman (2014)

Quick Review: Iñárritu's single-cut filming technique is so immaculate, it doesn't need any editing at all, and all three performances from Stone, Norton and Keaton are brilliant, with the latter truly deserving at least an "Oscar" nomination, but "Birdman"'s egocentric pretentiousness is so off- putting, and the satire in it so dry, it makes the whole experience rather tedious, despite the movie's bizarre originality. Honestly, It's one of those 'special' films you pretend to enjoy, but deep down you don't.

[5.50/10] Begin Again (2014)

Begin Again (2014)

Quick Review: J. Carney's second 'love letter' to music, "Begin Again" ain't half as heartfelt and inspired as his previous effort, "Once", and yet its hippie nature makes you feel free, happy, and uplifted while you watch it, even if its trashy look takes away from it inner sparkle. Knightley and Ruffalo's surprising chemistry is without a doubt the driving force of the film, and they both do a solid job with what they are given, but sadly, the so-so story ends up being less fun than it's supposed to.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

[6.00/10] A Most Violent Year (2014)

A Most Violent Year (2014)

Quick Review:  Competent director Chandor successfully maintains the quiet tension throughout the movie, the script is intelligently-written, and the neo-noir-ish feel of the visuals suits the time period it is set in, but despite all these qualities along with Isaac and Chastain's beyond terrific performances, "A Most Violent" year is too straightforward and laid-back to live up to its title, and to intrigue the audience deeply enough, not to mention the lack of climax, and the very monotonous pacing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

[7.00/10] Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods (2014)

Quick Review: A truly delightful mash-up of classic fairy tales, all of which blend smoothly into one jolly story, "Into the Woods" captivates with its splendidly murky visuals and grabs with its melodious songs. The cast work great together, with Blunt being the most memorable one, due to her genuine charisma, and great singing voice. Sure, the final act is a bit anticlimatic, and not all the actors are good at singing, but overall, this Broadway-inspired musical is a pure boredom killer at its best.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

[7.75/10] Big Eyes (2014)

Big Eyes (2014)

Quick Review: It is inconsistent in tone as it shifts from vivid to moody, but that is exactly what makes it as enthralling as it is, along with the fascinating true story about art, lies, and greed, it depicts. Even though his signature style is still there, with "Big Eyes", the director shows us an entirely new much more subtle and intimate side of himself, abandoning the usual 'Burton vision', letting the power of the story and the top-notch performances by Adams and Waltz to absorb the audience.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

[4.75/10] Seventh Son [3D] (2015)

Seventh Son [3D] (2015)

Quick Review: Generic, plotless, and messy, "Seventh Son" is your typical CGI-laden medieval fantasy flick, that has nothing to offer other than some okay action and creature effects, and a mostly fine cast that has very little to work with, due to a weak characterization, and a badly-written script, only Bridges manages to handle. The somewhat luminous, yet low on contrast visuals, and very poor 3D effects almost hurt the eye, and that is a huge technical mistake not at all easy to forgive.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

[6.50/10] Penguins of Madagascar (2014)

Penguins of Madagascar (2014)

Quick Review: Fortunately, it has that sense of adventure most films of this type are missing these days, and the colorful and above average graphics add to the experience, and yet "Penguins of Madagascar" can hardly be called a total winner. More restless than 'cute and cuddly', the penguins themselves are very fun to watch but even though it does move along at a pretty brisk pace, the film cannot escape from all the silliness. Not that it even tries to...

Friday, January 9, 2015

[5.00/10] Taken 3 (2015)

Taken 3 (2015)

Quick Review: As contrived and unnecessary as its predecessor, if occasionally watchable, "Taken 3" has too many issues to be enjoyed properly -- from the messy pacing and pathetic editing, to the clumsy hand-to-hand fighting à la Steven Seagal style, overly choreographed chase scenes, conventional setting, and expected plot twist, everything about this sequel, apart from the always compelling Liam Neeson, is sub-par. Forest Whitaker's talent is entirely wasted here too.