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The Congress

The Congress

(2014)
2 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The Congress deals with individuality in the face of future technology with tons of scope and ambition. It's a movie that I almost got lost in, but was fortunately able to keep up with its evolving ideas and complexities. It stars Robin Wright, who is under the technological world's pressure to sell her self out to technology, which gets more and more advanced as years pass.
The film has a lot to say about the way in which technology can threaten our individuality. Its many various philosophies, metaphors, symbols, and other complexities that make it a film to think on for a while after it ends. As it goes on, it's intellectually engaging and thought provoking, fascinating as a spectacle and often emotionally powerful. It's easy to be wowed by this film, as I ultimately was. Upon thinking about the film after it was over, I concluded that there were several flaws that kept it from leaving me completely satisfied with its conclusion and message(s), which was/were a bit unclear. I felt that the protagonist was underdeveloped. She has a desire to remain herself, but is rarely active in this pursuit, and I wish we knew more about why she wants what she wants so badly. She even felt plain at times. I also felt that the end of the film mixed the world that she was avoiding with the one she wanted all along, making for an unclear final message.
Many people may think they may need to rethink or re-watch this film because there is just so much going on that its easy to think that you missed something. I felt that I had a fairly good grasp on this film, however, despite that I would certainly admit to not understanding the entire thing. These flaws diminish the impact of the film, but do not take away from the majesty, beauty, and scope of it. It's nonetheless an excellent film with great ideas and one that left me thinking, and still leaves me thinking.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

(2014)
10 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

It's hard to even imagine that the sequel to Rise, a good movie, was taken on with this team of filmmakers to make THIS. It's a visual miracle of effects and cinematography, with a lot of social and political commentary as well as emotion and humanity. In other words, it has absolutely everything you could ever want from it.
The film looks absolutely amazing. I was impressed with the atmospheric look and luscious color palates of each frame as well as the attention to detail, all enhanced under Reeves's spacious direction. Even though it may not happen, it truly deserves a cinematography nomination from the Oscars. The 3D is some of the best I've ever seen, as the images don't look layered, but deep and seamless, adding to the overall experience. The apes look incredible and real, with emotionally captivating motion capture performances from Andy Serkis and the rest of the ape crew. The creation of these apes along with all other visual effects in the film amounts to what is one of the great visual achievements of the decade.
The writers have clearly realized the full potential of the franchise, incorporating social and political themes into an already compelling story of good and evil. The apes and humans are both given equal weight here. At best they want peace, family, and security, and at their worst they are power-hungry, ignorant, and biased. This is a war caused by misunderstanding that's truth is difficult for the humans and apes to see underneath the hatred. It's a smart and layered war tale that resonates beyond the surface.
Not a wrong step taken, not a moment out of place, everything here feels authentic and right. Some may complain of a lack of character development but the film is more concerned with painting a broad picture of societies than with characters and this feels right. The end is simultaneously tragic and hopeful, at once revealing the best and worst of humanity (and apemanity for that matter). You'll be eagerly anticipating the future of the franchise, especially since Matt Reeves still looks to be on board for directing, and I think Reeves is on track to be someone pretty great. I hope it ends in a definitive trilogy because that's all it needs otherwise it will simply be episodes. Andy Serkis for Oscar? I wouldn't be against it. This franchise has become much more than it started out as and will hopefully continue that way. You have to see this movie. It's WAAAY better than it needs to be, and proves what a blockbuster can be to make everybody very happy.

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer

(2014)
11 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A riveting sci-fi spectacle that also nails it as a detailed and well thought out allegory. It just keeps getting better, constantly adding on pieces that feed the brain while remaining inventive in its entertaining entertainment value. Not feeling a 5/5 but nonetheless a highlight of the year. I'd tell anyone to seek it out.

Enemy

Enemy

(2014)
25 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

You'll watch Enemy thrilled by the mystery of it all and the suspenseful pacing, and then the ending will make you go "AAH scawy spidow! Wait, whaaat?" and then you'll be confused and have a decent time trying to piece it together a bit, even cheating on the internet a bit. Maybe that was just me, but it seems like that's how it's supposed to happen.
Anyway, like I mentioned, it is a suspenseful and gripping experience, and a psychological one for the characters, making it even more of a mystery for the audience to figure out exactly what is effecting these characters on that level. The cinematography is carefully composed and lit to beauty, and the pacing is slow burning, letting you soak it in. The experience watching the film is different from the one I had after it ended, however. The ending throws you off and pretty much leaves it to you to forget it or to look into it. I liked the movie enough to look into it a bit and it is quite the puzzle, with many details and interpretations allowing the audience to rethink the whole film and what it's really about. However, this wasn't totally rewarding. The film still seems quite mysterious and I'm not sure what I discovered holds up all that deep. It explains the surface and the psychological emotion of the film, but doesn't say all that much. I don't claim to know the puzzle, but I have enough for myself to be satisfied with.
Overall, it's an enjoyably tense and sometimes spooky mystery that's puzzle isn't over when the movie is. That leaves the film a bit unsatisfying but also allows it to linger, and the lingering doesn't quite make up for the unsatisfaction. Enough stays with me that I would say I certainly liked Enemy, such as the visual metaphors, mysterious details, and psychological suspense of it all.

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Intel Hollywood Star Program (July 2012 - December 2012)
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