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Rating History

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
3 months ago via Flixster

It felt like the fastest three hours I've ever spent in a movie theatre. THE The Hobbit is a wonderful addition to the Lord of the Rings series. It fits in perfectly and has plenty of references to the first trilogy that will appeal to the fans but is succinct enough so that it works entirely on its own. In its child-like sense of wonder and awe, it captures the spirit of the book. More than any previous Lord of the Rings film, The Hobbit feels more like a children's fantasy adventure. In the best way possible.

From Bilbo accepting the call to adventure, to the threat of being eaten by Trolls over a campfire, to witnessing Stone Giants in battle, to being captured by the Goblin King and his minions - everything has a mythical fairy-tale quality (even the creepy spiders crawling over the crazy wizard's home in the forest with his rabbit sled!) The casting of Martin Freeman is a perfect match. His humanistic portrayal of this little Hobbit keeps the audience emotionally connected. There are plenty of strong character moments, eloquently written, most of which involve Bilbo. Then of course, there's Gollum, applause-worthy from start to finish. Like the book, they genuinely make him terrifying. The game of riddles is again very child-like but dark and twisted as well. The moment of "pity" is powerfully effective. There are so many gratifying moments throughout; including Gandalf wielding more magical ability, the surprise return of four beloved characters from Lord of the Rings, the sweeping, thrilling and never-ending battle with the Goblins, the emotional pay-off of Bilbo's character arc, and the stirring and thankfully updated new score by Howard Shore. All such an accomplishment.

There are even moments where The Hobbit transcends its story and reaches fantasy archetypes. The history of the dwarves both as a people, but also in Thorin's personal heroism, is the stuff of legends. The bravery of Bilbo being rewarded by the rescue of the Eagles is a majestic moment both as movie spectacle but also as character resurrection (interestingly, seeing the Eagles for the first time here makes a better reveal than at the top the Tower in Fellowship). Finally, the theme of finding a Home and re-gaining a place in the world - a source - is as timeless and symbolic as all great fantasy storytelling. Peter Jackson and his exemplary team have done it again. And so begins yet another magnificent trilogy. May Tolkien's vision of Middle Earth continue to inspire and move us for years to come.

The Lobster
The Lobster (2016)
8 months ago via Flixster

The first half is about the pressures of being in a relationship. The second half is about the pressures of being alone. Ultimately, love is blindness. One of the strangest films ever made. Kudos for the originality and I love the allegorical approach to a love story. There are some funny and visually stunning moments. The actors are committed too. That said, I couldn't really get into it. Perhaps, it will grow on me. I do appreciate the metaphor but it felt a bit too surreal for my taste. However, it would make a great double-bill with Woody Allen's Sleeper. Strangely, they have much in common.

Incubo sulla città contaminata (Nightmare City) (Invasion by the Atomic Zombies)
8 months ago via Flixster

Crap, crap and more crap. Lame from start to finish. I suppose it has its few cool gruesome bits. Hard-core zombie fans might want to sit through it for a couple gross-out effects. But otherwise, steer clear. I'm pretty sure the Italians that made this film just ended up using some footage from other exploitation flicks. Bring on another Cannibal flick while we're at it!

The Black Stallion
8 months ago via Flixster

A gorgeous film. The first half is visual storytelling at its finest. Ballard is great at capturing landscapes (Never Cry Wolf) and writer Melissa Matheson understands how to move people with just a few precious images. She also wrote E.T. and Scorsese's Kundun. The second half of The Black Stallion isn't as remarkable but it still has a beautiful story. Every kid needs to grow up with this film.

Shaun the Sheep Movie
8 months ago via Flixster

A shame this movie didn't capture the magic of the Wallace & Gromit short that first introduced this mighty character. Without Nick Park onboard, the film feels a little half-ass. The animation is naturally jaw-dropping but the script feels like it's missing that extra punch. Still, an entertaining kid's flick.