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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

[3.50/10] Guardians (2017)

Guardians (2017)

Quick Review: Rushed, messy and laughably cheesy, Russia's answer to "The Avengers" is an amateurish superhero flick, whose generic plot, horribly dull characters, and clumsy, bland villain make it the worse in the genre since "F4". The film is made with only 5 million USD, and it shows -- both the VFX and practical effects range from okay to downright lame, and the action, while plenty, is badly done for the most part, with Khan's introduction part being the only cool moment in this bummer.

Monday, February 27, 2017

[7.00/10] 20th Century Women (2016)

20th Century Women (2016)

Quick Review: Set in 1977 Cali, it captures the feel of this period both vibrantly, and accurately. The most interesting thing about it, though, is how it makes its humane story about personal struggles very abstract in its approach with a three-act plotting and somewhat eccentric delivery. In the end "20th Century Women" is all about Bening and her ability to drive the whole film with an award-worthy performance that is affecting, quirky and amusing all at once.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

[8.25/10] John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Quick Review: It is John Wick vs. everyone in this slickly-shot sequel that easily surpasses the great first movie. Uncompromisingly violent yet so stylish in its brutality, "Chapter 2" delivers buckets of thrills with its taut plot, and versatile action consisting of crazy stunts, fierce hand-to-hand combats, and blood-filled shootouts. Reeves seems thoroughly 'addicted to vengeance' as Wick, showcasing that you don't need to be muscly to be a badass action star.

[4.50/10] Collateral Beauty (2016)

Collateral Beauty (2016)

Quick Review: It is elegantly-shot, and it has collected one of the very best actors working today, thinking it really gives them the opportunity to take part in something all-so original and that is "Collateral Beauty" main flaw -- it never realizes how silly its premise is, how ridiculous the whole thing turns out, and how it entirely wastes the big amount of talent on screen, throwing them into a story that fails to evoke any real emotion, ending up being very preposterous, instead of truly heartfelt.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

[6.00/10] XX (2017)

XX (2017)

Quick Review: Filmed by 4 female directors, and consisting of 4 shorts, "XX" is basically a 50% hit and 50% miss horror anthology, that kicks of strongly with the original, and grisly "The Box", but then it gets mediocre real quick with the half-baked "The Birthday Party". The creature short "Don't Fall" is the most beastly and macabre of them all, followed by the "Her Only Living Son", which fails to impress. The stop-motion animation in between the tales is creepily artsy and the sheer highlight.

[5.50/10] Gold (2016)

Gold (2016)

Quick Review: Yes, McConaughey delivers yet another dedicated main performance of a greed-driven gold digger with guts and determination, but his rather convincing turn is not enough to cover up the fact "Gold" lacks any kind of glow execution or plot-wise, being an incoherent mess with some great ideas on paper, but real lifeless in presentation, wasting its entire potential by focusing more on the cliches, and losing its identity roving between a couple of genres, trying to fit in all of them.

Friday, February 24, 2017

[6.50/10] The Founder (2016)

The Founder (2016)

Quick Review: The retro tone, and outstanding set design will send you straight away into the era the whole thing takes place in, but that is not the film's biggest asset -- it's Keaton and his commanding, yet fascinating performance as the business-driven central character ready to step on anyone to achieve his goal. Due to its unfair nature "The Founder" may leave a bad taste in your mouth, but it daringly reveals some spicy facts behind the foundation of the world's most famous food chain.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

[6.00/10] Sword Master (2016)

Sword Master (2016)

Quick Review: Based upon "Death Duel", this Tsui Hark produced wuxia flick may be overloaded with CGIs, but the result is a pure eye-candy extravaganza that stuns with its lush scenery and real swanky swordplay. What it delivers in spades visually, the movie lacks narratively, having a tangled story with no clear direction that doesn't make much of a sense due to its numerous sub-plots, and too many characters involved. That said, "Sword Master" has to be seen for its sweeping imagery.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

[7.00/10] T2 Trainspotting (2017)

T2 Trainspotting (2017) 

Quick Review: Less grim, reckless, disruptive, and melancholic than its cult classic predecessor, but more grownup in its approach as it should be, "T2" explores nostalgia kind of touchingly, without losing its sharp humor and fun lunacy. Boyle proves to be one of the most extraordinary directors working today, filming this sequel with a vivid, wacky, and edgy visual style that is entirely bonkers, and the original cast returns with a bang, adding another dimension to their cranky characters.

[4.50/10] Rules Don't Apply (2016)

Rules Don't Apply (2016)

Quick Review: Taking place in late 1950s Hollywood, the film captures the atmosphere of its setting in an authentic manner, even if its murky, joyless retro tone is not necessarily pleasurable nor that appealing. The cast on the other hand is especially well-picked, but apart from Collins, who delivers a lively perfomance as the wannabe actress, none of the rest stand out, due to a superficial script with no sense. Not to mention the romance lacks any spark, and the direction is a mess.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

[6.75/10] The Red Turtle (2016)

The Red Turtle (2016)

Quick Review: Some viewers may be underwhelmed by the utter lack of dialogue, but those with an open mind would realize real fast that this mute animated feature is amazing at telling its simple, yet unusual story with fairy tale-like fantasy elements through its imagery. Calming, quietly emotional, and deeply mesmerizing, "The Red Turtle" impresses with its hand-drawn animation, use of color and attention to detail, proving that visual storytelling needs no words to move or make an impact.

[6.00/10] Bleed For This (2016)

Bleed for This (2016)

Quick Review: History remembers more accomplished sports dramas, especially boxing ones, but for what it is, despite being straightforward, therefore mostly predictable, "Bleed for This" is a well-made piece about passion, ambition, as well as mental strength that succeeds largely due to Teller's ability to carry a movie on his shoulders, being very convincing in both his physical, and emotional struggles. Featuring proper fighting, the film has an entertainment value that brings all the thrills.

Monday, February 20, 2017

[4.75/10] Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Quick Review: Ironically lighter in tone than its already terribly sugary predecessor, "Fifty Shades Darker" is very vanilla even when it attempts to be naughty, and that remains this series' biggest issue, along with the fact that the entire affair feels a bit too fabricated. And it's not the lack of chemistry to blame, as both leads share such, even though they can't act at all, but it's the badly adapted script's fault, as it turns the movie into a cheesy, unintentionally funny romance with zero edge.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

[4.25/10] Shut In (2016)

Shut In (2016)

Quick Review: Naomi Watts is no stranger to horror, giving her best with the given material, and making the film watchable here and there, but too bad the material is extremely poor -- suffering from an awkward script and confusing narrative, and limited by a snowy, isolated setting that is not particularly eerie, "Shut In" should have really stayed locked in and never released, as it doesn't contain a single scare, failing to thrill with its supposed-to-be-likely horror story with so little sense.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

[7.25/10] Julieta (2016)

Julieta (2016)

Quick Review: Well, it might not be as defiant and outrageous as some of the director's past work, but that doesn't make it any less successful. Crisp in looks and vibrant in palette, "Julieta" unfolds around the sensual protagonist, and her life full of love, pain, lost, and struggles, profoundly exploring her human nature. Julieta, portrayed by Suárez and Ugarte as older and younger versions of her is this deep, because of their genuine acting, guided finely by Almodovar's ever so strong direction.

Friday, February 17, 2017

[6.00/10] Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016)

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016)

Quick Review: Arguably Ang Lee's weakest film in years, if not ever, yet still a reasonable effort, "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" is all about the psychological consequences of war on soldiers' mentality, being also an in-depth character study, but unlike many other similar-themed movies, this one is truly peculiarly satirical in its approach. The 'High Frame Rate' technology, combined with the super vivid, saturated color palette gives it a lucid, yet realistic feel.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

[5.00/10] Don't Hang Up (2017)

Don't Hang Up (2017)

Quick Review: A reminiscent of a phone abuse '80s slasher, but with a modern twist, this a-game-turned- nightmare revenge thriller is largely implausible and painfully predictable due to the fact it's something we've seen so many times already. Sure, it is bloody, occasionally entertaining, and at times fairly intense, and the 'phone guy' is menacing enough to send a chill or two down your spine, but "Don't Hang Up" falls flat on its face, having shallow characters that are tough to care about.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

[7.00/10] The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Quick Review: With a sharp script that avoids most teen cliches, witty dialogues, and spot-on humor, "The Edge of Seventeen" is definitely not your by-the-numbers coming-of-age story, being equally wise and utterly hilarious without losing its cool edge for a second, and getting everything right. Hailee Steinfeld is a true force of nature, giving a fresh, and feisty lead performance as the fascinating Nadine, complemented brilliantly by the fine supporting cast.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

[6.25/10] Miss Sloane (2016)

Miss Sloane (2016)

Quick Review: Even though the entire story revolves around the title character, "Miss Sloane" is certainly a dialogue-driven political affair built on a smart script, which involves the viewer on a more deeper level with every next scene. Having said that, the movie owes it all to its main star Jessica Chastain, who turns in one of her most powerful performances yet, playing the sassy Miss Sloane. The first act is the most problematic being overly talky, and having some irritating pacing issues.

Monday, February 13, 2017

[6.75/10] Things to Come (2016)

Things to Come (2016)

Quick Review: A rather simple, yet genuine, and impactful story about life as it is, told in a rough-and-real fashion, with no sugаrcoating or any gimmicks at all, "L'avenir" may have an easy-breezy summery feel about itself, displaying the beauty of Paris' city views and France's countryside but deep down, it's actually a harsh film dealing with emotional conflicts, conveyed pretty impressively by the extremely talented Isabelle Huppert, who yet again shines in a role that is perfectly meant for her.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

[5.00/10] It's Only the End of the World (2016)

It's Only the End of the World (2016)

Quick Review: Although it flaunts a superb cast consisting of one of the finest French actors working today, each of whom perform their parts of dysfunctional family members more than convincingly, "It's Only the End of the World" is too hysterical, blunt, and emotionally empty to reach the dramatic big impact it's supposed to, not to mention all the characters are far from profound and the fact that it takes place in a single house makes it pretty limited in setting.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

[7.25/10] The LEGO Batman Movie [3D] (2017)

The LEGO Batman Movie [3D] (2017)

Quick Review: Surely the funniest Batman film ever made, "TLBM" is a restlessly-paced animated spectacle with mad action, flashy graphics rich in gloss and color, a script filled with witty humor, and tons of pop culture references, teasing with glimpses at the entire DC comics universe, one teaching that life is much better with mates and that team work is always the best work. Batman himself steals the show with his sassy personality, and the voicing is magic.

Friday, February 10, 2017

[4.50/10] Rings (2017)

Rings (2017)

Quick Review: With a muddy script that attempts to make the killer tape concept more current by digitzing it, which results in fully destroying the ominous feel that made "The Ring" memorable, and a direction that has more style than focus, "Rings" is a lazy sequel that chooses to echo its predecessors than to realize the few ideas of its own, and to chill with boo scares and CGI imagery, instead of building suspense. At least the new tape footage, and the 'grave scene' are reasonably effective.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

[4.00/10] Don't Knock Twice (2017)

Don't Knock Twice (2017)

Quick Review: Just another forced horror film that relies more on sound effects and jump scares than it does on atmosphere, "Don't Knock Twice" revolves around some urban legend that is absolutely ridiculous, barely frightening, and so much less tense than the disturbed mother-daughter backstory. Visually, the movie is very toned-down if not washed-out, which gives it a sense of obscurity but also a sense of cheapness. The 'demon' itself is freaky-looking yet they show too much of it too soon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

OSCAR post: My Reviews of the 9 Best Picture Nominees at Oscars 2017

My Quick Reviews of the 9 Best Picture Nominees at Oscars 2017
[click on the title to read the quick review] 
[8.25/10] Arrival
[6.50/10] Fences
[8.50/10] Hacksaw Ridge
[8.00/10] Hidden Figures
[7.25/10] La La Land
[7.25/10] Lion
[6.25/10] Moonlight

Should win: Hacksaw Ridge
Will win: La La Land
Could win: Moonlight

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

[7.25/10] Lion (2016)

Lion (2016)

Quick Review: Beautifully-crafted, and proving that home is where the heart is, indeed, "Lion" is a refined film, tonally divided into two halves, both equally as emotional, gripping, and moving, with the first one really capturing the true essence of India. The fact that this deep, yet uplifting story actually happened in real life is amazing enough in itself, but what makes it even more plausible is the grounded, natural acting, especially the one from Patel, who plays a role that was meant for him.