My rating system:
5 stars = favorite movie
4,5 stars = outstanding, masterpiece
4 stars = great, excellent
3.5 = very good
3 stars = good, decent entertainment
2,5 stars = average, alright
2 = below average, rather meh
1.5 = rather bad
1 = really bad
0.5 = horrid crap
I am mostly here to rate movies I watched and create an archive of everything I've seen, but I'll be glad to talk about movies or anything with people who share a similar taste.
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Anyone else is more than welcome to say Hi, if they have a profile that tells me something about them and their taste.
A movie about a biblical tale will always spawn controversy, whether you stay close to the origins of the story or take your liberties. Director Darren Aronofsky's version of Noah's tale ranks somewhere in between. You can tell that he did his homework, but it's also clear that he'll get a lot of opposition about the added fantastic elements and Noah's character development in the final act. In the end every viewer, atheist and believers alike, will have to make up their own mind about the film and the story.
From an artistic point of view there is little to complain about. Aronofsky conjures up breath-taking visuals and special effects, great cinematography and you can tell he knows how to direct actors. From Russel Crowe's great physical presence that carries the film down to the shortest roles of the child actors, Aronofsky manages to generate excellent performances by everyone, even baby face Lorman who hasn't exactly had an impressive track record of multi-dimensional roles so far.
Both the director's art house fans and the religious purists might have problems with the fantastic elements of the film that culminate in an almost Lord of the Rings-esque battle between rock Transformers and an opposing army. That scene does feel out of place in the film, despite of its flawless effects and great visuals. But the third and final act suddenly shows Aronofsky comfortable in his true element: directing actors in narrow space, telling the story of a person obsessed with their dreams (see: Black Swan, The Wrestler). Here, the film finds its dramatic footing and can rely on its actors for a pretty strong solution and surprisingly touching ending.
Of course the message of preserving nature and having respect for all beings is somewhat simplistic and naive, some might say preachy. But at least it's got its heart at the right place and in this day and age more important than ever.
Was Aronofsky torn between two point of views when creating this or did he enjoy taking the middle path? Few scenes help you decide to answer that, especially not the beautifully animated story of creation Noah tells his family, that's combining biblical texts while showing a pretty scientific depiction of the big bang and evolution. I've decided to applaud Aronofsky for this attempt, even if the result is far from flawless or particularly even. At least it's a very peculiar, odd and challenging film that doesn't rely on the easy way out and yet manages to be entertaining at any moment.
The reason the Marvel cinematic Universe manages to stay fresh, exciting and surprising is that each hero finds his own sub genre of movies. While Cap's first adventure was a WW2-based origin story, the Russo brothers, directors of shows like Arrested Development and Community, open up an entirely new box in this collection of superhero films: the paranoia thriller.
The film ends up being really convincing in a genre most prominent in the 1970s, where people are shot through apartment walls shortly before revealing the traitor and everyone starts mistrusting anyone else. At the same time, it is still delivering over the top superhero action and funny one-liners, while the ultimate revelation is nothing less than Marvel's biggest game changer to date. Especially the TV show Agents of SHIELD, that found its footing in recent weeks, will most certainly have to react to the puzzling and breathtaking events unveiled here. It would go too far to call this film realistic, especially if you consider the way Cap takes down a jet all by himself, but the underlying message is based on current world events much more than before: don't take away my freedom in favor of a false sense of security.
The film effortlessly includes characters as antithetic as Robert Redford's excellently performed politician and the stone cold bionic assassin Winter Soldier while still flowing perfectly. The creators are also smart enough to have other hero characters enter the spotlight every now and then for their moments to shine, which is just massive fun. Some of the fast-cut shootouts feel like coming from a Michael Mann film, while the showdown is almost as huge and spectacular as the Avengers' battle of New York. This perfect balance of thriller and action sequences makes this just outstanding popcorn entertainment and raises the bar once again.
Watch out for Stan Lee's as well as a Community cameo plus a great Pulp Fiction Easter egg. There are two post credits scenes, the first goose-bump inducing one setting up Avengers: Age of Ultron next year while the other one is teasing what Cap's solo return could deal with in 2016. Keep 'em coming, Marvel. Apparently you can do no wrong.
In an unexpected turn of events, director Wes Anderson delivers his best movie since "Life Aquatic". Once again it seems as if he called and everyone he ever worked with showed up. The cast reads like a who's who of Hollywood and brings this tale to life down to the smallest roles. The big winner has to be Ralph Fiennes, who has been stuck with bad guys mostly in recent years but delivers such a wonderfully arrogant yet heart-warmingly loyal protagonist, you entirely forget Voldemort ever existed. One could say it's Anderson's first real story of crime and suspense, of course stuffed with plenty of his typical set pieces, humor and quirky characters. Things start out slow with a frame story setting up the real tale of the old hotel's former personnel. But the film gets faster, more entertaining and funnier with every minute. The result is once again full of so much detail, great performances and weirdness, it's a pleasure to behold. Of course everyone who didn't get any of his former works won't find an access to Anderson's latest either. His fans can rejoice, because this will most likely show up in their Best Of Lists.
Given the track record of movies based on toy lines, it was absolutely justified to be rather skeptical about the making of a Lego movie. The console games the company produced over the years have been fun though, and everyone deserves a chance, right?
Well, as it turns out the Lego Movie is much closer to the Toy Story trilogy than to G.I. Joe or Battleship, thank heavens. It's incredibly fast, it excels at being silly and extremely detailed. Of course there is plenty of humor, some of which may be over the youngest viewers heads. There is just so much to see and explore that you will definitely need more than one viewing to get it all, that's how overwhelming things are, and not just in the fun action sequences. The voice acting is great, especially the unbelievably silly crap they have Morgan Freeman say is already worth the price of admission.
The final plot twist - yes there is such a thing in an animated movie - is so logical and simple yet stunningly surprising and also shows that the movie has a huge beating heart under its brick skin. It's a love declaration to the toy line, yes, but even more so to the power of imagination, the joy of playing and the innocence of escapism.
Reading too much into a kids movie? Most certainly not. Everyone involved knew exactly what they were doing and delivered at the top of their game. A movie for the young ones and those still young at heart.
Shakespeare would have been proud. The mix of incest, murder, betrayal and tyranny easily could have been part of one of his dramas. In this historical Chinese piece it's portrayed in the most visually pleasing style imaginable. The palaces, clothes, props are full of details and colors. The feast for the eyes never manages to make you care for anything that's going on, sadly. The dysfunctional family's story is way too complicated and unlikable for that. There isn't even all that much action until the showdown suddenly gets a lot more epic than expected. Only the assassin attacks are really awesome. Other than that: visually pleasing but ultimately unimportant.