Patryk Czekaj's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Three Outlaw Samurai
½

An impressive and thrilling art house production and a most splendid directorial debut that any aspiring director can imagine. This samurai tale, filled with stunning sword fights, shows a respectable story about honor and virtues that are able to withstand any adversities. With a very strong narrative structure, beautiful cinematography and a smashing performance by Tetsuro Tamba, Three Outlaw Samurai remains true to its genre. The Criterion Collection did a great job of releasing this untimely flick.

On Dangerous Ground
½

While On Dangerous Grounds has its minor flaws in the storyline, and reveals some of its weaknesses in character development, it's still a perfectly suspenseful and spellbinding noir film that doesn't stop to draw one's attention. It has a deeply grievous overtone, supported by the relationship between a blind woman and the policeman who is supposed to catch her killer-brother. Starting with a very fast pace in the big city, it settles for a little slower action-pack, changing the scenery to a snow-filled secluded village, where a manhunt is underway. Robert Ryan is very likable, even with his threatening attitude, and Ida Lupino astounds with her believable portrayal of a woman who lost sight and is now trying to hide her scared brother. Nicholas Ray's steady hand gives the chills, as the climax approaches and the atmosphere begins to intensify with every following minute.

Three...Extremes (Saam gaang yi)

Dumplings - 3/5
Cut - 3.5/5
Box - 4.5/5

Vampire
Vampire(2013)

This VAMPIRE thing is a total bore. A meaningless indie about suicide, blood freaks. Dialogues are obnoxiously luckluster.

They Who Step on the Tiger's Tail (Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi) (Walkers on the Tiger's Tail)
½

The film is not only based on an incident that happened in the 12th century, but also on the Noh play Ataka, and on the Kabuki play Kanjincho. Initially banned, the film was first released in 1952 and is the fourth film made by Akira Kurosawa. The Men Who Tread On The Tiger's Tail focuses on the exemplification of true feudal values that ruled Japan starting in the Heian period. In order to understand the movie perfectly, one has to know what happened before the events depicted in the picture. Here's a brief presentation of the story: after winning a bloody Naval battle with the rival Heike clan, the triumphant lord Yoshitsune Minamoto returns to Kyoto in order to take command. However, his jealous and envious brother Shogun Yoritomo orders his men to arrest Yoshitsune and all his comrades. Due to a lucky circumstance, Yoshitsune and six of his loyal samurai retainers are able to escape. In order to be truly safe they need to travel through the country and find shelter in the home of an only friend, Idehira Fukiwara.

The movie starts when a group of monks traverses through a huge forest. Being accompanied by a silly yet truly helpful porter (Kenichi Enomoto), the group rests and decides to figure out a perfect plan. It's the first time the audience gets acquainted with all the characters, in order to realize that the monks are actually the lord (Hanshir√ī Iwai) and his samurai companions in disguise. They plan to march to the gate where the keepers await, and trick them into believing that they're actually a group of friendly monks gathering money to build a large temple in Kyoto. Unfortunately, the gatekeepers are already aware that a group of seven men is traveling through the country in such a disguise. With the help of the porter the men finally arrive and face the enemy, in what seems to be a tranquil, yet strangely intense, battle of nerves. Benkei (DenjirŇ? ŇkŇ?chi), a warrior monk, and Yoshitsune's most loyal friend, takes the stand and tries to persuade the watchful sentries of their faked mission. After a few moments of danger, just when the whole situation seems to be in shambles, Benkei once again shows his unmistakable intelligence and self-control. He proves that his skills and experience are masterful, leading to a successful ending to this dramatic story.

The Men Who Tread On The Tiger's Tail is not Kurosawa's best, bust still a truly remarkable, detailed, and culturally conscious period drama, where the many ponderous Japanese virtues meet with an ostensibly stagnant atmosphere, all covered up in a package of truly minimalistic aspirations. Though short and not that interesting as many hope it would be, the film gives a fantastic glimpse at the rules that governed Japan in the 12th century, and presents a story, where wisdom and decisiveness are more valuable than bravery and prowess.

Kiru (Kill)
Kiru (Kill)(1968)

With all its dark humor and cynical attitude towards samurai code of honor, Kill! comes as a truly unformulaic and genre-bending period drama. Written and directed by the famous Kihachi Okamoto, the film's loosely based on ShŇęgorŇ? Yamamoto's widely read short story Peaceful Days (also the basis for Kurosawa's Sanjuro). Kill! (or Kiru in Japanese) combines a well-crafted, complex plot with audaciously choreographed fight scenes, some visually-stunning, long shots of Japanese landscapes, with a bunch of witty - and often farcical - dialogues.

The picture presents a story about two luckless, hungry would-be warriors, who find themselves in the middle of a ferocious battle between the opposing sides of a dangerous yakuza clan. Genta (Tatsuya Nakadai) is a former samurai, who got tired of the difficult lifestyle of a wandering ronin. He wasn't able to find any other work, and just wound up in the deserted city, where he met Hanjiro (Etsushi Takahashi), an ex-farmer who wants to become a samurai, but didn't have a chance to prove his abilities yet. As soon as the two discover that the abandoned city is a battleground for a merciless group of samurai retainers, it's simply too late, and they get dragged into the whole deadly intrigue in just a matter of minutes. It becomes clear that one side of the conflict betrayed the other, and the resolution of the struggle might come only when one of the parties kills the other. In the cutthroat game of murder and betrayal, the two main characters take differing sides, and in order to achieve success they need to kill each other at first. Though Hanjiro's first assignment as an aspiring samurai is to dispose of Genta, he hesitates for a long time, as Genta proved to be a valuable source of information regarding the precious samurai life. As the tension mounts, and both groups become more and more irritated and bloodthirsty, Hanjiro and Genta decide to team up and outsmart everyone in their way, leading on to one of the most riveting and satisfying finales in a samurai picture ever filmed.

The problem with Kill! is that it's not as well-known around the world as it really should be. Moreover, it's simply an under-watched samurai epic, even though it actually shares all the common values of a many prominent Kurosawa pictures. Here the portrayal of the typical samurai warriors is a most parodical one, as Kill! shows that there are those, who behave only badly and those, who behave only honorably, and there's nothing in-between. It's a game-changer of sorts when it comes to the topic of samurai, given its highly fanciful attempt at denuding all the hidden aspects of those seemingly convoluted personas.

The cinematography is as raw-looking as it is actually picture-perfect. It brings out all that's eye-popping about the beautiful, yet blood-filled, Japanese scenery.

Kill! also references various other samurai pictures, playing with the idea of a dramatic and serious samurai film, giving itself an utterly lighthearted tone. Kihachi Okamoto created a little, under-appreciated gem that's not only engaging, but also truly smart and concise.

Sugata Sanshiro (Judo Saga) (Judo Story)

Though the story presented in Sugata Sanshiro might not be the most appealing one, it's still a considerably enjoyable tale about the beginnings of Judo and its most prominent representative, the titular Sugata (played by Susumu Fujita, in a role that earned him a notable spot in the Japanese cinematic history). It's a simple and modest, but a truly elaborate and serious tale of one man's difficult journey to martial arts stardom. In order to find peace in life and achieve perfection in the craft that he's been practicing for some time, Sanshiro needs to come to terms with his own emotions and find a right path, which might eventually lead him to the desired golden mean.

Based on a best-selling novel, Sugata Sanshiro established the reputation of Kurosawa, and made him a prominent figure in the filmmaking business. Though it's far from being a genuine masterpiece, the film still shows the director's steady hand and is the admirable proof of his awe-inspiring versatility.

To become the master of martial arts is an uneasy task, and Sanshiro learns the lesson in the first minutes of the picture. Trying to join a clan of Jujitsu fanatics, he quickly realizes that they're just a bunch of up to no good coxcombs. Seeing how easily Yano (Denjir√ī √"k√īchi), the originator and master of Judo, defeated the group, Sanshiro decides to become his student. To become a proficient Judo technician the young, strong-willed, yet somehow reckless Sugata must overcome many of his weaknesses and find out the meaning of a warrior's way, thus learning the true meaning of life. The student, struggling to accustom himself to the situation, is constantly tested by his master, in many more or less laborious ways. And when the time comes, Sanshiro is finally able to take part in tournaments, in order to prove his indisputable technique and unrestrained power. On his way Sanshiro meets a mysterious, elegant, devilish man by the name of Hagaki (Ry√Ľnosuke Tsukigata), who's like a shadow that's been following Sugata everywhere that he goes. Ironically so, the man - with his familiar look and specifically evil attitude - comes as a typical dark character, taken straight out of a superhero movie. In the film's most climatic and disquieting sequence, the two rivals participate in a duel that will determine who's the strongest living martial artist.

For all the lovers of Japanese culture, and for all the adepts of Asian martial arts, Sugata Sanshiro will definitely be a worthy film experience. For the rest it might be an insightful, valuable, and well-crafted period drama that's not only full of perfectly choreographed action scenes, but also full of humane qualities that prove to have an authentic meaning even in the modern times.

Gone Baby Gone
½

Gone Baby Gone achieves a tremendously engaging level of suspense, and does it through the depiction of a perplexing story about a young private detective Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck in a superb role) , who - along with his partner and lover Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) - takes on a difficult case and tries to find a kidnapped girl. Ben Affleck, never really considered a leading man in the acting business, proved for the first time (and not for the last) that his directorial skills are top notch. His high aspirations make Gone Baby Gone a fresh and entertaining addition to the crime thriller genre. The film takes place in Boston, mostly in its underground world, and does a great job of portraying the twisted mechanism that governs the crime scene and all its members.

Enhanced by great supporting performances from Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman - who play the two shady yet plausible Boston area police officers - the cast astounds with an unusually realistic attention to details in the representations of regular working-class folks, who are trapped in an intrigue that's literally making them go insane after only a short period of time. In all its sensational, captivating glory, the story presented in Gone Baby Gone looks as though it's been taken straight out of a newspaper's front page, delivering many real-life moments of pure drama. Apart from depicting the step-by-step investigation, the film also aspires to be a considerable psychological piece, pondering how the mess surrounding the case rebounds on the personal and professional life of the main character. Patrick, giving all that he can in order to discover the truth, begins to doubt his sanity and becomes infuriated with his inability to cope with what's been happening around him.

As usual in this kind of movies the truth is hidden several layers deep, and in order to reveal the whole one has to go through a troubling amount of more or less acceptable evidence. Every new and unexpected fact found by Patrick adds up to the masterfully build suspense. Though unmistakably intense and utterly gripping, Gone Baby Gone offers one twist too many and changes its message for a less entertaining, yet still perfectly valuable one. In the world of corruption and hypocrisy nothing is certain, and Ben Affleck's debut feature is not only a taut and downright realistic thriller, it's also a hard-hitting exemplification of all the values that rule this shabby place.

Primal Fear
Primal Fear(1996)
½

At first sight, the story presented in Primal Fear looks strangely familiar: a troubled, socially awkward boy named Aaron (Edward Norton in a most audacious performance, and a screen debut) kills a seemingly innocent older man (in this film a priest) and is caught red-handed only moments later. A noted defense lawyer Martin Vail (played by Richard Gere), looking for new ways to boost his fame, decides to take the case and defend the murderer in court. However, it seems as though the truth is buried several layers deep, and the only way to discover the truth is to actually get to know the accused and his depraved mind. This is the moment for Edward Norton to shine. His wonderful performance (which earned him an Oscar nomination) makes Primal Fear an outstanding achievement in the court drama genre. With every new discovery the case becomes more and more confusing, and Martin starts to believe that the boy, diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, is innocent and the one, who's responsible for the brutal crime is Aaron's evil alter ego Roy.

It's a surprising and totally entertaining film, which doesn't fall into the trap of unnecessary cliches, and delivers one of the most disquieting endings in the history of the genre. Norton's career-making performance, combined with Gere's experience and bold attention to details as a lawyer, brings out all that's best and most twisted about the case presented in Primal Fear. Engaging, to say the least, plot leaves one dazzled and begging for more clues as the whole intrigue comes to a tremendous conclusion.

Scandal (Shubun)
½

Being a perfectly consistent and downright expressive man, Akira Kurosawa knew how to approach every fresh topic, no matter how controversial. He had this innate ability that allowed him to transform, with unmistakable ease, each and every one of those topics into impressive and captivating motion pictures. Scandal (Sh√Ľbun) is his darkly satirical effort to unveil the gradual deterioration of the Japanese press industry. Through a somehow unsurprising and bitterly pretentious ‚" yet informative and intense ‚" drama Kurosawa attempted to criticize all the immoral actions of reporters in post-war Japan. For the sake of sensationalism, the private lives of not only celebrities, but even some of the lesser-known citizens, were suddenly deemed invaluable. It seemed as though to catch the attention of the readers is to forget about a human moral code. Writing a story, which might not even be true, was totally all right, and even hurting other people‚(TM)s feelings was on the agenda. Ironically so, all those wrongdoings remain unchanged up to this day in most places in the world.

Scandal proves to be a considerable visualization of a celebrity‚(TM)s worst nightmare. Coincidentally, a well-known beautiful singer Miyako Saijo (Shirley Yamaguchi) meets an aspiring painter Ichiro Aoye (Toshiro Mifune) while he‚(TM)s working on a new painting in the countryside. Moments later, Ichiro offers Miyako a lift on his bike, since they both stay at the same inn. Unfortunately, they are tracked down by a group of paparazzi looking for an exciting story to publish in their tabloid magazine Amour. One random picture and a cover story that insinuates an ongoing romance between the two artists change the pace of the film dramatically. In just a short period of time Ichiro and Miyako become the objects of interest of almost the whole nation (a silly exaggeration, though a efficacious one). To prove them all wrong, irritated Ichiro quickly decides to sue for damages, and in order to do so he hires a clumsy, welcoming, yet secretly perfidious lawyer Hiruta (Takashi Shimura). Though Hiruta convinces Ichiro that he shares his hatred towards the press and its shameful actions, he actually goes behind his client‚(TM)s back and decides to throw the trial, in order to get some money for his sick daughter Masako (Yoko Katsuragi). What‚(TM)s surprising is that even though Ichiro is aware of the position of his disloyal lawyer, he still believes that he will come to his senses and choose the right way. For the sake of sheer entertainment and for Kurosawa‚(TM)s own sense of fulfillment, Hiruta goes through an enlightening transformation and brings about the most satisfying twist in action.

Even though Mifune, with all his suave and charm, comes as the most prominent actor of the movie, it‚(TM)s really worth to mention Yoko Katsaguri‚(TM)s performance. Her character, though bound to bed through the whole movie, is the brightest star of the whole showcase. With her purity, kindness, and plausible sense of judgment she is the source of all-energy and immediately becomes, even in her fragile state, the guardian angel seeking a happy ending.

In the ever-changing media reality people are only looking out for themselves, and that is, in the subtlest sense, a cause of the gradual downfall of humanity as such. People tend to care about material things in the first place; they need to suppress their urges through the misfortune of others. And press ‚" with all its power and attention ‚" creates this deeply superficial world, as we now know it. Scandal, the title of this picture, corresponds not only to the sensations that surround the fictitious love affair, but also to the behavior (though unnecessarily biased) of all the characters connected to the newspaper industry.

The Town
The Town(2010)

The Town is a deliberately old-fashioned, pulpy crime drama that serves its purpose as a romantic heist picture, where character-driven narrative intertwines with many action-packed sequences of utmost suspense. With this film Ben Affleck surely hit a second spectacular home run (right after Gone Baby Gone), assuring that his directorial career will be more rewarding than his acting one.

What's surprising is that the story depicted in The Town comes as a rather familiar and simple one, but the way it's presented and acted promises many splendidly entertaining and downright thrilling moments. Right within the first few minutes of the picture the tension mounts to unbearable levels, as a group of masked criminals robs a bank and takes one of the female workers as a hostage. The woman, Claire (Rebecca Hall), quickly becomes the object of interest of the mastermind behind the heist, Doug (Ben Affleck in his most promising role to date). Yet still unknown to her is the fact that Doug was actually the one, who commanded the operation and caused the whole mess. As the two begin their burning love affair, Doug - along with his three partners in crime - plan another dangerous robberies. His sudden affection towards the girl and gradual loss of readiness to go into action makes his partner anxious and relevantly angry. Jem (Jeremy Renner; the guy really had a good few years), his longtime friend and former jailbird is trying to convince him that money is worth more than a girl. Apart from the personal conflicts, Doug is followed closely by a FBI operative Frawley (Jon Hamm), who is eager to put the guys behind bars and stop the Charlestown criminal ring once and for all. Because, after all, it's a business of relationships, and what happens in the family stays in the family. Doug walks a thin line between freedom and imprisonment, and this one final action might be all that he needs to finally take the matters of his life into his own hands.


Being a smartly written and captivatingly shot (many great aerial shots of Boston) thriller, The Town brings about all that's best about the genre, without referring to any cliches per se. Through combining its modern, violent crime nature with an appealing 30's vibe, The Town advises the audiences to look closely into the substance of the film and react to a many of the intense and gritty sensations that cleverly fill the core of the film. Every actor has a room to maneuver, and - decidedly so - each and every one of them finds a way to be a considerable part of the whole picture.

Sideways
Sideways(2004)

In Sideways - Alexander Payne's most bittersweet comedy to date - men on the verge of emotional breakdowns need to take a dangerous journey into the deepest parts of their minds, in order to challenge all the incoming problems, and - ultimately - accept their better feelings. To find solace and tranquility in life is an uneasy task, and the characters of the picture learn that harsh lesson very quickly, just as they traverse through the sunny, chic wine country of California.

Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) are two middle-aged buddies, who decided to spend a few days just roaming around various vineyards tasting wine and eating good food, just before the latter will take the trip down the aisle. Miles is both an unsuccessful, nerve-racking writer and a passionate wine lover. Even though he tries to enjoy his time, he still can't forget about the fact that his wife has left him a couple of months ago. Jack is a struggling actor, a former TV star, and a desperate playboy, who will jump at every opportunity just to get laid. His laid-back attitude and quirky humor make a local girl named Stephanie (sandy Oh) fall in love with him. While Jack is having a good time doing wild things with his new partner, Miles is striving to impress a pretty woman Maya (Virginia Madsen), who also happens to be a big wine amateur. Though Miles has nothing to show for himself as a person, he's able to make a girl interested just by saying all those ridiculously poetic stories about everything wine-y. He's miserable and anxious all the time, yet Maya seems to be the cure for all his troubles. In the meantime, the sex-filled relationship between Jack and Stephanie is brutally stopped because of the little marriage-related secret that's finally been revealed. Ironically, even the humiliation and beating don't stop Jack from trying another one of his cunning tricks on another unsuspecting lady. And who's going to help him when all his plans are in shambles? Of course no one other than the good ol' Miles.

In all the naturalism and humanism that permeate the film, Sideways proves to be a smart, wonderfully-written dark comedy that is not only humorous, but also tremendously realistic. The story might go both ways, and it does at some point, just to arrive at a conclusion that is as heartbreaking as it is actually pleasing. The boys come back from the trip changed, they think differently, and the aspirations that they've previously had are incomparable. Sideways - with all its charm and subtle pretentiousness - shows that Alexander Payne knows how to create a madly good character-driven narrative.

Comic-Con: Episode IV - A Fan's Hope

I'm not an avid comic book fan, but I really enjoyed this cheerful, passionate geek-doc. It's really not as much about Comic-Con in itself, as it is about the people that travel there from different parts of the world in order to follow their lifelong hopes and dreams of distinguishing themselves in this ever-changing, tremendously cool industry. By juxtaposing the interviews with some awesome, well-known people, with the adventures of a few Comic-Con regulars Morgan Spurlock achieved a subtle level of tenderness and showed a much different side of this enormous, spectacular fan gathering. The subheading (A Fan's Hope) reveals the whole truth about this picture, as the movie truly corresponds to the adventures of five attendees, who think of Comic-Con as a place of ultimate fulfillment. Comic-Con is a cultural phenomenon that's able to bring together not only all the true geeks and cosplayers, but also many people, who aren't actually interested in comic books, but they still want to take part in this splendid event. This is the only place in the whole world where everyone can feel at home. Apart from showing the passion and energy that permeate the place, this documentary also ponders a very difficult topic, namely the gradual demise of the cult fan-base, due to the overpowering force of corporate impact on the industry. While comic books will be made and fans will still read them, Comic-Con is slowly changing into a sort of business conference, where money is mentioned more times than any superhero or villain.

Lawless
Lawless(2012)
½

Unfortunately, Lawless has many flaws, but it's substance is as gut-wrenching as it is truly adrenaline-packed. Shia LaBoeuf once again proves that he's acting skills are too poor to consider him a valuable performer, as opposed to Tom Hardy, who - along with his Bane in Batman - had the most astounding year. His tough-love, give-'em-hell attitude, sharp and disquieting southern accent, and bulky muscles present him as one of the most masculine actors in Hollywood. Lawless concentrates on the Bondurant brothers and their bootlegging business in the times of prohibition. This is a gangster tale of the bloodiest kind, where brutality and ruthless killings are on the agenda. Selling moonshine has never been more spectacular, given the film's aspiration to be a self-proclaiming visualization of the great American Dream even before the time one actually used those words. The Bondurant brothers are as brutal as they are actually caring, as opposed to Guy Pierce's character, whose performance makes one want to knock his teeth out even before he says a word. John Hillcoat created a genre-esque picture, where western scenery mixes with raving romance and suspenseful crime vibe. Though Lawless has many narrative-related problems and doesn't satisfy as a valuable flick, it still is an entreating piece of filmmaking.

Miyamoto Musashi Kanketsuhen: KettŰ GanryŻjima (Samurai III: Duel on Ganryu Island) (Bushido)

The third and the last installment in the amazing samurai saga about Musashi Miyamoto, one of the greatest swordsmen in the history of feudal Japan. Samurai III concludes the adventures of a lone warrior played so amazingly by Toshiro Mifune. Before the titular duel, the samurai has to choose the love of his life from the two women that's been fighting for his heart even before he got so famous in the country. And it's not just a regular love story, it's a hard-hitting proclamation of bigger values, and a journey deep into one's soul. The film, being a mesmerizing and peaceful, culturally-valuable Japanese epic, ends with an intense and silent duel between Musashi and his aspiring young rival Kojiro. In the most picturesque manner possible, the film depicts the sun-lit, tranquil yet stupendously unnerving struggle near the Ocean waters. Samurai III once again tells the story of a tough warrior's way, where fantastic scenery merges with astounding katana-fighting sequences, just to prove that Inagaki's creation must be the most detailed and creative samurai trilogy ever filmed.

Argo
Argo(2012)
½

A superb Hollywood production, which keeps the suspense on an enormously high level, even when one knows this inspiring story beforehand. Being one of the best politically-relevant thrillers of the year, Argo is a strictly functional dramatization of an incident that made history with a bang. A film about making a fictional film, where supporting characters are amazing, cinematography is spellbinding, and editing is as narrow as it is actually considerable. Ben Affleck created a Hollywood gem.

Norwegian Wood
½

NORWEGIAN WOOD explores love in its most intimate state. Though it's hard to connect with the characters, the film really plays with emotions. Although sometimes a bit too monotonous, Norwegian Wood resembles the wholehearted atmosphere of the Murakami novel. The emotionally-packed narrative is closely enhanced by a beautiful soundtrack and artistic on-location photography.

Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: IchijŰji no KettŰ (Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple) (Swords of Doom)

Fantastic continuation of a most splendid samurai trilogy ever filmed. It starts off with a bang, and it ends but that way. THe titular duel is a masterpiece in filmmaking (a most-wonerful choreography and scenery), the tranquility that absorbs the attention, and the intensity of sword-fighting sequences combine for a marvelous experience. Toshiro Mifune shines once again as Miyamoto, a lone samurai bound for love and seeking a rival, who'll prove to be a worthy contender. Miyamoto not only has to fight with an aspiring, young and proud swordsman, but he also has to overcome his emotionally-unstable state and choose between the two woman, who long for his heart. Miyamoto is a graceful fight and an avid thrill-seeker, and his aspirations are as high as his sword technique is extravagant. Samurai II is a fantastic epic tale about honor, loyalty, loneliness, and the way of the warrior.

Seven Psychopaths
½

Seven Psychopaths is an ideal movie for a lazy evening. Or is it? Through a downright unsystematic and bizarre narrative technique, this film aspires to be a roller coaster ride for the insane of mind. This is a weird showcase of utterly impetuous madness, where every subsequent event leads to a more preposterous twist in action. This stellar dark comedy gives way to a violent storyline, where scriptwriting brings a team of psychopaths to life. It's like In Bruges on acid. Sharp dialogue and macabre humor make Seven Psychopaths an ideal satire on the overly-cliched crime genre, and its many drawbacks. By playing with the idea of a film in itself, this jolly-deadly flick is a satisfying encounter with many of the audience's favorites. Christopher Walken steals every scene he's in, Sam Rockwell gives a hell of a performance with his laid-back, fuck-the-world attitude, and Colin Farrell as the anxious scriptwriter (if that's the life of a struggling writer than who wouldn't like to be one?) who finds his way inside a deadly intrigue where dogs get stolen and gangsters get mocked. Until the end, it keeps you begging for that final shootout.

Straw Dogs
Straw Dogs(1971)
½

Watching Straw Dogs proves to be a haunting experience, one where brutal and graphic scenes of violence shock as much as the psychological tension and emotional imbalance presented by all the recurring characters. In a seemingly peaceful village in England horrible incidents occur one after another, and the thin line between good and evil becomes blurry, as the transitions that the characters go through change the way the audiences perceive the whole unnerving intrigue. David Summer (Dustin Hoffman's most sinister role), an American mathematician, moves to the isolated town of Cornish along with his gorgeous, young wife Amy. Shortly after their arrival, all the citizens begin to show their dark natures, harassing and assaulting the two newcomers. In the film's most climatic and disturbing sequence, David decides to fight back against the oppression, and realizes that the only way to fight violence is to do it with even more violence. In a most suggestive manner, Straw Dogs plays with the viewer's imagination, fiercely suggesting that David might actually be the antihero of the movie, and the source of all-evil in himself. His strangely unemotional attitude towards the occurrences and towards the tragedy of his wife makes him the antagonist of the film, and a brutal animal that won't stop till he does too much damage. The rape scene presented in the picture is by far one of the most unsettling ever. The brutality and mockery that permeates the film almost all the time makes Straw Dog an emphatic affair where physical bloodbath must give way to deep psychological imperfections.

Samurai I

This is a quintessential samurai movie and Toshiro Mifune's most versatile performance. In Samurai I Musashi Miyamoto, a lone swordsman needs to cut his way through loads of angry townspeople in order to prove his might and endurance. Abandoned by everyone who was ever close to him, cursed by the authorities and citizens, this outlaw plays a deadly cat-and-mouse game with one intrigued and smart monk, who introduces himself as the only person actually able to catch the samurai and bring him to justice. Between all the memorable fighting sequences - perfectly choreographed and acted - there is also a bigger, more emotional depth, namely the relationship between Musashi and his beloved woman. The tragedy of Miyamoto comes from deep within the character's soul, and Mifune is brilliant in the way he presents the struggle that Musashi must go through. There is not hint at a happy ending, as Samurai I is only the beginning of a wonderful journey, and of a samurai trilogy that will be remembered forever.

Mildred Pierce

Mildred Pierce is a genuine noir title, and Joan Crawford's tour de force. In this film, a murderous mystery tale (told through greatly-used retrospectives) intertwines with some incredibly touching melodramatic sensations. Mildred Pierce, a woman struggling to prove her independence and strength, wants to love and be loved, but those two don't necessarily come in pairs. Divorced and almost broke, the woman tries to persuade a wealthy lounge frequenter to help her create her own business, namely a chain of restaurants. As time passes, she becomes successful, but still not able to please her pretentious and disobeying daughter Vida. More problems arise for Mildred, and she gradually begins to understand that the only way out of the whole mess might be the most dangerous one. Mildred Pierce is a valuable noir movie, and a fantastic socially conscious cinematic achievement. The psychological aspects are a many, but their true value comes with wonderful performances, low-key lightning and moody cinematography that is as disturbing as it is acute. Mildred Pierce brings a story that influenced many related films, and developed into a classic in a short period of time.

The Happiness of the Katakuris
½

The Happiness of the Katakuris is one of the most bizarrely surrealistic flicks in Takashi Miike's career (and everybody knows what he's capable of). This is an offbeat musical about a family struggling to make ends meet. Their business - an inn located somewhere in the secluded lands of Japan - is not working as they'd hope it will. What's more, every new guest that arrives for a night is found dead the next day. Those mysterious circumstances don't scare the family, as they decide to bury all the bodies near the house as if nothing had happened. Every scene where death is the main topic is always accompanied by some of the most ridiculous yet amazingly catchy songs sang by all the family members. Their attitude towards life and their harsh situation doesn't change even when everything starts to look as if it might become total shambles. The Happiness of the Katakuris is an insanely dark horror-comedy, where zombies dance and people die overnight. Only the ending is a bit over the top, but in the final evaluation the film is a definite must-see for all the Miike fans and haters alike.

This Gun for Hire

Alan Ladd shines as the gun for hire in this madly nightmarish film noir. It's not hard to see why this movie was his ticket to Hollywood stardom. This Gun for Hire presents an intriguing and macabre story of a betrayed professional killer, who seeks revenge for the harm that's been done to him, and won't back down even in the toughest of situations. Being surround by many shady characters, the killer tries to uncover a deadly ordeal. Enter Veronica Lake, and the two actors immediately present an astonishingly satisfying on-screen chemistry. This Gun for Hire is a successful addition to the genre, and a mysterious intrigue for its own good.

Fireworks (Hana-bi)

Takeshi Kitano is a badass, and not only through his darkly traumatiical role in this spellbinding masterpiece, but in the directorial field as well. His narrow-angled attitude towards the substance of the film makes Fireworks a truly sombre and depressing little Japanese gem. Kitano highlights his insanely mad attention to details through blending the unusual crime thriller with melodramatical conversation-filled unformulaic romance. Fireworks isn't only an angry film, it's also a deeply passionate one. In all the blood and brutality that unnerves sometimes, the film presents a love story where a good-gone-bad cop tries to care for his wife and, simultaneously, begins to plunge deeper and deeper into madness, which might ultimately lead to horrible results.

In Bruges
In Bruges(2008)
½

Being a downright dark comedy, In Bruges finds its way into the crime genre through masterful acting, great script, smart dialogues, and Bruges' mysterious and alluring aura. Though a tad predictable, In Bruges' tough attitude makes a great use of always-heard swear words and kick-and-punch bloody sequences. Martin McDonagh presents a mash-up of gallows humor with thriller-esque substance, brining the term 'insanely funny' to a whole another level. This tragicomedy of sorts provokes with its intensity and offbeat attention to humanization of strictly inhumane situations.

Odds Against Tomorrow
½

Odds Against Tomorrow is not only a suspenseful and fast-paced noir-ish crime thriller, but it's also a valuable social commentary on the racial discrimination in the USA circa 1950's. When three loners come together in order to execute a seemingly perfect crime, no one comes out of the whole intrigue unharmed. There is a lot of tension, sharp dialogues, moody cinematography. Jazzy tunes find their way perfectly into the whole mysterious ordeal, and smooth the atmosphere that's going through the roof at one point in the film. Every character has his own problems, and the desperation leads them all three to a dangerous finale. Odds Against Tomorrow is one of the finest crime thrillers ever, and a heist movie that's conscious about its themes in every way.

Primer
Primer(2004)

Calling Primer a mind-boggling sci-fi flick is an understatement. Anyone, who might claim that he understood this film after the first time is probably a liar. Primer gives one of the most thought-provoking time travel idea ever, and doesn't stop to astound with its scientifically-valuable dialogue-driven narrative, where the two main characters suddenly realize that being invincible means playing God. Primer exhibits its ideas carefully, and builds up an intriguing suspense-like vibe around a many theoretical assumptions, which won't mean much to an ordinary human mind. In order to grasp the film as a whole, one needs to re-watch this film time and again. Primes is a confusing, enigmatic, low-budget presentation of Shane Carruth's bizarrely imaginative mind. If you're looking for a challenging, smart and valuable cinematic experience Primer won't let you down definitely. Just don't expect many answers.

Memories of Murder

MEMORIES OF MURDER: devilishly intriguing plot, fantastic cinematography, great acting, and an ending that leaves you dazzled.

I Saw the Devil

Koreans love their mystery thrillers gory, and I Saw the Devil is only confirmation of that statement. In this cat-and-mouse narrative, a mad serial killer is gradually getting his comeuppance from the hands of a violent cop, who lost his pregnant girlfriend and is now seeking revenge. It's a violent, disturbing, and mind-boggling story, where the main character - presumably a protagonist-turned-antagonist - walks a thin line between good and evil. It's a revenge tale made in hell, where gut-wrennching imagery permeates many scenes, resulting in some of the most horrifying on-screen sequences one might see. Kim Jee-woon picks his actors accurately (great performances by the two Korean stars), and he once again proves that calling him a genre master is perfectly suitable. A satisfying exploration of the nature of evil in itself, and a thrilling, fast-paced intrigue that won't let anyone lose their focus.

Anna Karenina
½

Though a bit underdeveloped, this re-imagination of Tolstoy's classic has indisputably enchanting energy. Keira Knightly gives a wonderful performance as the titular heroine, though the emotional baggage presented in the film doesn't necessarily correspond to the psychological evaluation of the same character in the book. Fantastic set design, which makes the film shine as a sort of stage-play-esque visualization of the memorable affair. Anna Karenina isn't better than a many previous screen adaptations of the novel, though it's still a watchable one, and a beautiful recreation at that.

La Luna
La Luna(2011)

Beautifully animated Pixar short. A magical coming of age tale.

Forbidden Planet

A lot of futuristic mumbo jumbo in this visually stunning, thought-provoking sci-fi odyssey. Long live Robby the Robot.

Killing Them Softly
½

Killing Them Softly is a brutally downright, satirical crime thriller, where punchy dialogues intertwine with offbeat visceral attitude. Even before the audiences get acquainted with all the sleazebag characters, Andrew Dominik communicates one thing very clearly: in the film‚(TM)s brutal nature hides a much bigger, more considerable subtlety, namely the critique of the United States and its collapsing financial and political spheres (right before the 2008 elections). It‚(TM)s not really a film about gangsters and their operations as it is about hope that‚(TM)s somehow faded away a long time ago and there‚(TM)s no way of retrieving it. In all the mess and violence that permeates the screen during the impetuous intermission-like sequences, the characters gradually create their own demise in a way that makes the still-heard political speeches seem almost comical, compared with the enormous problems of the so-called little guys.

Three slow-witted and unimaginative guys (Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, Vincent Curatola) execute a seemingly perfect mob-protected card game robbery. Even though their plan looks too perfect to be true, they still manage to go on with it. Surprisingly, everything goes smoothly, so the boys start enjoying their easily made money doing drugs and drinking booze all the time. Unknown to them is the fact that a brutal, emotionless enforcer named Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) has just arrived in town, and is now ready to find out who planned the job. In the middle of the whole dialogue-driven narrative there are bits of utmost violence, during which Jackie takes the law in his own hands and does so with impressively gory results. What‚(TM)s crucial to say is the fact that every character in the film has one‚(TM)s own ideas about the world as such, and those ideas quickly turn into inanely simple plans, instead of real hopes and dreams.

Killing Them Softly bases its substance on a round of long and moody conversations, which ‚" unfortunately ‚" become more and more melodramatical and superfluous with every following minute. The film proves to be a game of sorts, juxtaposing various ostensibly inconsistent pieces into a climatic neo-noir creation. Apart from politically related themes (during the card-game robbery President Bush speaks about the financial crisis, during the final payoff there is Obama‚(TM)s victory speech after the 2008 victory), there are the aforementioned abrupt jumps from over-talked sequences to the brutal ones. There is also a sudden contradiction between the low life reality and all those high hopes for a better future, and that‚(TM)s probably the most disturbing thing about this film, and a true eye-opener in itself.

The editing is marvelous, mostly so in the drug-filled scene or the ones where gun shots cut through the unsettling silence and create a hardcore mash-up of brains and blood (also, the one, in which Ray Liotta takes a harsh beating is really satisfying). Brad Pitt shows he has guts once again, and proves that his acting skills are on the highest level. Let‚(TM)s hope we‚(TM)ll see more of him in the future. James Gandolfini is more of a lame asshole than a true criminal, but that‚(TM)s his role so there‚(TM)s no way of complaining. Richard Jenkins delivers one of the best lines in the whole film.

Killing Them Softly is a wonderful piece in the visual sense. There are lots of stylish camera angles and sudden outbursts of technical improvisations, which only enhance the final effect. However, due to its over-talked ambitions and somehow shallow critique, the film becomes tedious after some time, even strangely one-dimensional, only leaving the audiences begging for more action.

Moonrise Kingdom

Given its highly fanciful aura and bizarrely original storyline, Moonrise Kingdom is arguably the most charming and expressive film directed by Wes Anderson. This visually stunning picture casts an enchanting spell on the viewer, pulling him deep into the picturesque universe where even the seemingly insignificant events are the key to a happy ending. Wes Anderson applies the usual palette of extraordinarily vivid color compositions, making this eccentric rom-com drama look more like a dream-based sequence, explained by a highly creative child.

The viewer gets acquainted with the setting of the picture through a short yet insightful introduction made by an unidentified man in a quirky red hat (a homage to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou): this is the island of New Penzance, and the year is 1965. The film follows closely the adventures of two teenagers, Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), as they embark on a journey, which might seem like a sort of a desired rebirth for them, but ultimately brings chaos into the lives of all the adults that take part in the story. The two main characters, deeply in love with each other, long for solitude, somewhere far away from all the real-life problems that made their lives truly miserable. Sam is a socially awkward, orphaned 'Khaki Scout', and Suzy is a depressed girl who strikes as a totally unemotional figure, but through her behavior it's actually easy to register what goes on in her mind. Love is what brought them together some time ago, and love is what made them consider running away from homes as the means to fulfillment. Unfortunately, this drastic decision disturbed the idyllic society of New Penzance, causing an island-long search carried out by a bunch of radically unbalanced people. There's Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), police captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), Suzy's parents Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) among others. In the midst of this ridiculous investigation, all the adults actually expose their own grand problems in the process. The dialogues between them are as sharp and angry, as they are actually sophisticated to say the least. What's crucial to say about them is that a minor alteration of the daily routine uncovers their fears and hidden desires, ironically making look them even more childish than the younger characters in the film.

Wes Anderson made a great use of his well-known cast. Every actor has his or her specific role in the whole intrigue, but the greatness of those many performances can be really seen only when all of the characters come together. They're like the smaller pieces of a bigger, wholehearted and whimsical puzzle.

By applying various camera techniques Wes Anderson gave some of the scenes in the picture a nifty stage play-esque touch. The atmosphere, the colors, the old-school filters, and the on- location shots, reveal the film's strange, but somehow familiar, 60's vibe.

There's a lot of awkwardness in the film, but this is really what makes it so enjoyable and satisfying. Being a noteworthy addition to the comedy genre, Moonrise Kingdom aspires to be the most imaginative film of the year. Wes Anderson's stylish exploration of young love is a satisfying one, and apart from applying a lot of his typical quirk and whimsy, the director shows that he matured and put a lot of his own heart into the project.

Born to Kill
Born to Kill(1947)
½

Born to Kill is one film noir that surely deserves its title. Lawrence Tierney plays a ruthless, psychopathic character named Sam Wild. That he was 'born' to kill is confirmed in the first few moments of the picture, when the man kills an innocent couple out of sheer jealousy and sudden outburst of aggression.

The only person to see the bodies lying lifelessly on the floor is a beautiful woman Helen Trent (Claire Trevor), whose divorce has just come through, but she really doesn't want to get involved in the whole murderous affair and decides not to tell anybody about what she saw. The whole narrative changes abruptly, as the two characters meet on-board of a train bound for San Francisco, and instantly fall in love. Realizing that Helen is already married to another man, Sam decides to fall for her wealthy, tender and enthusiastic half-sister Georgia (Audrey Long), just to make Helen jealous and unhappy. Even though they're both in relationships, their whopping yet disastrous love flourishes. Unfortunately, the detectives starts snooping around in order to find the double murderer. Enter Marty (Elisha Cook Jr.), Sam's old pal, who arrives in San Francisco and brings the cops along with him. In a sudden and unexpected turn of events, Marty is found dead and the two doomed lovers continue their illicit love affair. Even when Helen is sure that Sam is the true killer, she doesn't stop loving him. In the intense finale Sam is finally caught and faces arrest, but he decides that he won't back down now and commits the one last crime...

Born to Kill is a rather uneven, yet distressingly macabre melodrama with a nifty storyline and a typically-noirish mix of failed romance and cold-blooded murder. Though it's hardly original in its themes, it still entangles the audiences with its tense, moody atmosphere and Lawrence Tierney's most sinister role ever.

The Celebration (Festen)
½

The Celebration, Thomas Vinterberg's most astounding creation to date, is as realistic as it is confusing. Ironically, it's sometimes relatively easy to mistake a deeply dramatic scene for a comedic one. This is a sharp and somehow disturbing tragicomedy that reveals the transformative power of truth, showing how a seemingly ordinary birthday party can change into an acute contest filled with accusations and revelations. After a rough and intense night no one is left unharmed, and the characters subconsciously know that even before they start to delve into the past.

A cultivated and wealthy patriarch Helge (Henning Moritzen) is having a huge, luxurious 60th birthday party, and the whole family is invited. In the group there are three of his children: Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen), a chronic and irascible boozer, Helene (Paprika Steen), an anxious and depressed anthropologist, and Christian (Henning Moritzen), a withdrawn and angry restaurateur, whose twin sister recently committed suicide, among other guests. Before the party even starts, the intimacy of the main characters is exposed, as they plunge deeper into the state of irrepressible existential angst with their peculiar pre-party 'preparations'. When the family gathers for a sit-down with the man of the night, a huge feasts begins and toasts are about to be made. As of then, nobody even expects that Christian is about the make a shocking Speech of Truth, one that will change the course of the whole evening, destroy the relations between the relatives, and ultimately cause a hell of a farce. By accusing his father of sexual abuse when he and his loving sister were little (additionally pointing out that his father is the true killer behind the sister's suicide), Christian only encourages others to expose their true feelings. What began as a celebration of one happy man's birthday turned into a violent, alcohol and hate-filled showcase of the most shocking kind. The gradual loss of innocence (though it's all right to assume that such a disturbing even took place before) is properly 'enriched' with a Dutch racist song, a few fights, a few bottles of wine, and a late-night dance that is supposed to smooth the whole repugnant situation. It's only surprising to observe as all the relatives eat breakfast the next morning in the exact same place, looking into each other's eyes without any apparent regret.

Indisputably, The Celebration is Vinterberg's visionary approach to a family-in-shambles. As in every other Dogme 95 picture, the realism of the whole story is enhanced through on-location shooting, natural sounds, hand-held cameras, and no additional effects whatsoever. Even though it's hard no to laugh at times, the devastating power of this film is as harrowing as the main characters are cold-blooded and self-contained.

Cannibal Holocaust

The worst parts of this truly fucked up film are the ones, in which a bunch of junkies torture and kill live animals.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
½

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is definitely not Anderson's best, but arguably the most eccentric piece of filmmaking. Once again, the director takes us on a magical, wonderful, whimsical ride into his peculiar yet amazingly stylish world, where cartoon-like vibe merges with the awesomely unique composition of colors. When it comes to photography, the overall result is definitely stunning. While the story might seem rather incoherent at times, the characters, and their bizarre and poignant attitude towards life, compensate for the superficiality of the narrative.

Steve Zissou (Bill Murray), a pioneer of sea voyages and a well-received weirdo-filmmaker, decides to gather his crew of many fanciful mates, and embark on what will probably be their last journey. This time it's personal - Steve wants to avenge the death of his close co-worker. In order to do that, he needs to find a rare shark somewhere in the vast ocean waters. As ironic as it may seem, in this clearly peculiar team it's hard to find someone who even tries to think straight. Apart from the regulars - Steve's haughty wife (Anjelica Huston), a mysterious German loner (Willem Dafoe), and a few others - Steve finds an unexpected companion in the form of a man (Owen Wilson), who claims to be his estranged long-lost son. Then there's also the nosy yet fairly vulnerable journalist Jane (Cate Blanchett). As the team sails, the audiences observe their every-day actions in what seems to be a smartly-developed video-log. There's romance, mutiny, abordage, there are heartbreaks, fights, mysterious discoveries. And in all of that hides the bigger premise, which now involves not only finding the creature, but also rescuing a friend who was kidnapped in the process by a gang of tough pirates. Though Zissou finally finds his 'arch-nemesis', seeing how glorious and uncanny it is, the protagonist changes his mind and decides to observe the shark in all its glory rather than harm it.

Great performances by a stellar cast enhance the experience of watching The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and cleverly cover up the artificial nature of the picture. It possesses an amazingly magical and enchanting aura, which - combined with the director's typical touch of heartfelt whimsy and many witty dialogues - provides for a somehow surrealistic adventure. It's yet another successful collaboration between Bill Murray and Wes Anderson. Saying that the film's odd, unformulaic and simply bizarre is a huge compliment to the work of those two inventive people.

Bernie
Bernie(2012)
½

Bernie owes much to Jack Black's impressive performance, arguably his best to date. It's a lovable, highly-nuanced, clever and believable portrayal of a loving, caring, God-like assistant funeral director, who is also a true hero in his native town of Carthage, TX. However, as the movie progresses, the character goes through a rough transition - there is a test of nerves, as Bernie becomes involved in a friendly relationship with an older, rich woman named Marjorie, known for her heartless behavior. After a few luxurious trips outside the USA, many wonderful days doing God knows what, and lots of money spent in the process, Marjorie starts treating Bernie like her property, a clown of sorts who should always be there by her side. Exhausted and angered, Bernie does what nobody in the world would expect -he shoots the lady dead in a sudden mental rage. For quite some time he tries to persuade the secluded community that she's still alive, but ultimately the truth comes out and the man is arrested.

The film changes its setting, from many peaceful countryside landscapes to the claustrophobic court room scenes. Even though everybody in town believes that Bernie should be freed immediately, there is one person who would do almost anything in order to sent him to jail. Namely, Danny Buck (badass Matthew McConaughey), a local district attorney, who is as hateful as he's perhaps lawful. He tries to convince the slow-witted jury that Bernie, though nice and amazingly calm, needs to do time for the murder he committed.

Apart from Black's performance, the movie's greatest strength are the many laughable interviews with the local townsfolk. Their strong, humorous, and emphatic opinions prove to exemplify the South as we now know it. Bernie is not only an unexpectedly entertaining crime-comedy flick, it's also a comically dark mockumentary, where real-life drama merges with legal-thriller-like sequences, supplemented by many wholehearted eccentricities, which only enhance the overall effect. And in the end, I doubt that many people will be please with the rough verdict, so enormously pleasant is Jack Black's fanciful aura.

While the City Sleeps
½

While the City Sleeps is more of a thorough and thought-provoking social study than a genuine noir film. Although it features an intense manhunt for the serial killer, who runs around town killing innocent girl without a known motive, it's only a mean to and end in all this provocative intrigue. Still, apart from that macabre theme, the film concentrates mostly on its character-driven narrative, presenting an ongoing war, so to say, between the people who take part in the story. It's a great example of how selfishness and greed guides our behavior, as we constantly struggle in order to stay on top and always be ahead of the competition.

When Amos Kyne (Robert Warwick), a respected media mogul, dies and his haughty and incompetent son (Vincent Price) takes over the empire all hell breaks loose. For his own great amusement, he decides to play a little game with the three divisions of the company, creating an enormously competitive and stressful atmosphere in the building. Being a lazy ne'er do well, he proclaims that whoever gets the scoop on the hot serial-murderer topic wins it all and becomes the head of the corporation. As the race begins, the competitors refer to many mischievous methods in order to gain advantage. In the middle of the fight between the three potential candidates - main editor Griffith (George Sanders), wire service director Loving (Thomas Mitchell), photo chief Kritzer (James Craig) - there is an aspiring, hot-headed reporter named Edward Mobley (Dana Andrews). Being associated with Griffith, he finds the whole idea of a race ridiculous, but he's sure as hell that he wants to be the first to catch the killer just to satisfy his ego and prove his skillfulness. Mobley is gradually starting to uncover the whole mysterious and gritty affair, and while he does so, he only infuriates other sides. Through a many hit-and-miss trials, 'The Lipstick Killer' is feeling more pressure to commit crimes every day. Mobley, using his enormous deductive abilities, and basing his assumptions on smart psychological factors, becomes entangled into the murderous rampage, as his loving fiancee becomes the killer's object of interest.

With the most climatic and riveting finale, While the City Sleeps presents a suspenseful story filled with violent imagery, fast-paced and right-on-spot dialogues, and many amazing performances from the stellar cast. Its social values are indisputable, and so is his fresh take on the abusive mother-figure, so frequently used as the killer's motive in many future pictures.

Nightfall
Nightfall(1957)
½

The intensity of the action, superb direction, astonishing juxtaposition of the city sequences and scenes in the tranquil, snow-filled countryside, and - probably most of all - the many hardboiled dialogues present Nightfall as a truly expressive film noir. Through a clever use of retrospectives the film introduces the audience to James Vanning (Aldo Ray), whose life story is as tragic as it is suspenseful.

James wanders around town anxiously, looking as though he's waiting for someone the whole time. After his meeting with a lovely lady named Marie (Anne Bancroft) turns into a gritty kidnapping intrigue, all the pieces of the puzzle soon start to fit right in. A pair of thugs is after him, because they think that he hid the money (350,000 dollars to be exact), which they stole during a bank raid. In order to get the information out of him they try torturing him, but James ultimately manages to escape. As he returns to meet the lady, who supposedly gave him away to the criminals, brief retrospections appear on the screen, and entangle us in the whole obscure and dramatic affair. When James and his friend Dr. Gurston (Frank Albertson) were in the middle of a hunting trip they encountered a car crash and quickly realize that they the guys, whom they wanted to help, are nothing but a couple of violent robbers. They kill Dr. for their great amusement, but leave James only unconscious. When he wakes up, he realizes that what they also left behind was a bag with the cash. Soon a thrilling and fast-paced game of cat-and-mouse begins, as both the thugs and a private investigator Fraser (James Gregory) are on his trail. With the help of the previously met lady, James decides to stop the killers and retrieve the money-filled bag, which he left somewhere in the snowy country...

Nightfall is an enormously moody, sombre, and hard-hitting crime drama, which achieves high level of aesthetics through the sudden yet suitable changes of scenery. The shootout in the secluded, wild place is a great advantage of the film, giving it a totally different perspective than other films in the genre have. It's a low-budget, extremely economical yet successful adaptation of a 1947 novel of the same name.

Jigoku (The Sinners of Hell)

Really, looking at a bunch of nuts getting their comeuppance brings enormous pleasure. (full review on my site)

Human Desire
Human Desire(1954)
½

One of the most unpleasant film noir in the genre. But in case of this
movie, it's rather a well-desevred compliment for its hot-edgeness and hardboiled
melodramatic sensations. Human desire aspires to be a hard-hitting, gutsy crime
picture that shows not only a story of romance bound to fail from the
start, but also makes a series of aggressive comments on the topic of
alcoholism and pathology in families.

When Jeff Warren (Glenn Ford) returns home after serving his time in
Korea, his only dream is to return back to his steady job as a train
engineer. Unfortunately, on his way he meets a vulgar, abusive Carl
Buckley (Broderick Crawford). The man is in desperate need of an
intervention in order to keep his job, and begs his beautiful wife
Vicki (Gloria Grahame) to stand by him during the meeting with his
boss. However, due to his alcohol addiction and distorted mind, Carl
thinks that she met with Owens so as to flirt with him. On the train
back Carl kills the man, and Jeff - who was very close to the whole
action - bumps into Vicky and quickly develops feelings for her. She,
on the other hand, wants to take advantage of his generosity. Being
abused by her raging husband, she finds solace in the arms of a
stranger. However, in a small city every rumor spreads faster than the
wind. Carl starts drinking more and more, and blackmails Vicky with a
letter into staying with him for as long as they'll live. Vicky soon
comes up with a devilish plan to get rid of her disgraceful chubby...

The effectiveness of this film owes much to the spellbinding
photography. It portrays not only America's working class, but also
many in-train sequences, which give the film a much-deserved
claustrophobic feel. The intensity of the atmosphere goes through the
roof as the characters argue and fight inside the small compartments,
making their disputes even more dramatic and realistic than they are.
Human Desire may not be Fritz Lang's masterpiece, but it surely
deserves a view, for it is a violently sombre tale about regular
people, who bring about their own demise through a series of tragic
misunderstandings.

Sinister
Sinister(2012)
½

Without giving away too much of the plot, I would like to explain why Sinister might arguably be by far one of the most rewarding, and ‚" at the same time ‚" one of the least offensive horrors of the last year. While the fact that the main idea presented in the film is sometimes poorly executed is rather discouraging, I think that Sinister is able to overcome many of its mistakes in a rather successful fashion.

First of all, I loved the way Sinister played with the concept of snuff films, making them one of the scariest and most shocking images seen during the whole movie. They add the much-needed amateurishness, so to say, and show a darker, more sinister side of the picture. Without any hesitation, they attack the audience with obscure recordings of some grizzly murders that look as disturbing and realistic as they definitely should.

Second of all, the amazingly climatic music sets the mood just right for a series of abrupt and unexpected scares. These aren‚(TM)t just some silly cookie cutters, no. It‚(TM)s rather a blend of electronic tunes and an a bunch of raw sounds combined together to intensify the unnerving and sombre ambiance every time something frightening and otherworldly is about to happen.

Third of all, Sinister doesn‚(TM)t overuse the idea of paranormal activity and nightmarish creatures as such. The weird ‚~thing‚(TM) (too stay spoiler-free) is there, yes, but it appears only a few times in order to implement the possibility of an occultist presence. Even though the film ultimately fails to get rid of most of its clich√ (C)s, they‚(TM)re not really that striking and don‚(TM)t downgrade the overall experience. Surprisingly, even the ending is as satisfying as it is abrupt and forced.

Unfortunately, the characters are rather superficial and one-dimensional, and their inability to think clearly is the film‚(TM)s biggest problem. For a (un) trained eye the plot might seem predictable after some time, but the people involved in the whole horrendous intrigue can‚(TM)t comprehended that they‚(TM)re in grave danger, and that moving to a house, where people got killed before isn‚(TM)t always a reasonable thing (the blame is on Ethan Hawke‚(TM)s characters, just to be clear).

Sinister gives a reasonable amount of scares (although sometimes I wished for some more), and does so through a successful use of violent snuffs, grim and claustrophobic cinematography, and aforementioned distressing soundtrack. Even though Sinister doesn‚(TM)t really bring anything new to the table, it‚(TM)s both an eerie and enjoyable addition to the horror genre.

Johnny Guitar

Johnny Guitar is arguably the most spellbinding, psychosexual, genre-bending western ever made. While it didn‚(TM)t receive critical acclaim when it first came out, since then it has grown to become one of Nicholas Ray‚(TM)s indisputable classics. Through a full-bodied character-driven narrative Johnny Guitar stirs a debate about its many evident Freudian connotations.

The most bizarre thing about this film is the fact that at first it‚(TM)s rather hard to match it to one particular genre. Though the setting, the characters and their outfits fit a typical western perfectly, Johnny Guitar starts of quite unpredictably and stays this way till the very end. It‚(TM)s a radical creation, one that‚(TM)s not afraid to step beyond established boundaries, in order to show its mad, subversive, yet astonishingly creative nature.

When a lone ranger ridiculously named Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden, obviously with a guitar in his hand) steps into a saloon somewhere in the Far West no one comes of the whole affair unharmed. He‚(TM)s there to find solace and earn a living, but his arrival only foreshadows a dramatic turn of events. Soon an angry mob steps into the canteen, ravishingly mad at its owner, a beautiful yet mysterious woman named Vienna (Joan Crawford), and her four no-goodniks friends ‚" Dancin‚(TM) Kind and his entourage. After a robust exchange of views the group leaves the place, but promises revenge for the death of their fellow men, killed that day in a stagecoach holdup. Vienna knows that it‚(TM)s the work of her thuggish buddies, but still decides to aid them. However, she doesn‚(TM)t know that the leader of the mob, a psychotic, temperamental, and very persuasive Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge), will do everything in order to see Vienna‚(TM)s demise.

In the meantime, Johnny‚(TM)s true identity is revealed, and he‚(TM)s really not what he seems. Behind the tranquil, soft mask of a guitar player hides a dark past, which involves Vienna, a heartfelt romance, and a gun craze. Fortunately for the lady and her tough yet frightened friends, Johnny might be the savior everyone was looking for. In the amazingly climatic finale, the two groups take part in a deadly shootout.

Johnny Guitar is a tender, high camp, sometimes a bit too melodramatic, but still strangely unforgettable western with a lot of romance and sexual tension, all wrapped up in a nice, bold, politically relevant package. Emma is jealous of Vienna‚(TM)s easiness with men, becomes obsessed, and is finally ready to finish off her old rival. Now she finally got her motive, and she‚(TM)s ready to do some damage, unaware of the repulsion her behavior causes. Vienna is her counterpart, a strong and independent lady who is loved by all men and loathed by women. Johnny Guitar is probably the most unusual western ever, where female characters are in the center, and the duel between them is the film‚(TM)s most effective sequence. The tension, the sexual drive, and their anger combined make men look small to be even significant in the end.

Gozu
Gozu(2003)

Being a cryptic psychosexual journey, Gozu delivers one of the most surreal and mind-boggling journeys one will ever encounter. As bizarre as the film truly is, Takashi Miike was able to make a surprisingly compelling and satisfying flick out of a genre-bending, perverse, and totally unpredictable horror-comedy. It's a film that digs deep into the imagination of the viewer and stays there for a long time, tackling all that's sick-and-twisted without hesitation.

A temperamental and violent yakuza Ozaki (Sh√ī Aikawa) is deemed mentally unstable after he makes a weird remark about a small dog outside of a restaurant, calling him 'yakuza attack dog'. What's more, he kills him brutally in front of the whole gang and upsets the boss. (Renji Ishibashi). Soon after that, one of his fellow comrades Minami (Hideki Sone) is assigned to drive Ozaki to Nagoya and get rid of him in a mysterious place ingeniously called 'disposal site'. At first, he has second thoughts about the assignment, because of the long-lasting bond that's formed between the two men. However, even before he can make the final decision, Minami needs to make a short stop in a nearly-desrted, run-down suburb of Nagoya in order to make a quick phone call. This is when things begin to take a stupendously strange turn. Namely, Ozaki's body disappears from the car, and that's only the beginning of the whole chain of mysterious, mostly inexplicable events. After a superfluous confrontation with a few weird coffee-shop regulars, Minami runs into a guy named Nose (Sh√īhei Hino), who explains - in a rather secretive manner - that he might actually be able to help the man find his lost friend. In the meantime, the protagonist checks into a nearby in for the night, encountering there an eccentric old lady with a quaint gift (her breasts are the source of huge amounts of milk), who is also prone to torturing her mentally ill brother-helper. As Minami runs around town searching for Ozaki the reality that surrounds him gradually begins to change into a surreal, dream-like realm, where nothing can be explained in a proper manner. After a disturbing nightly meeting with a man equipped with a cow's head (hence the title), Minami finally finds a clue that might lead him to Ozaki. Still, what he's about to discover is really beyond imagination...

While Gozu aspires to be a deeply distressing and incomprehensible film, it surely brings out everything that's best and brightest about Miike's topsy-turvy mind. It's a fantastical journey that doesn't stop to perplex till the very end. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who's never before seen a Miike film, but for all the other hardcore fans it's a must-see. Gozu is a splendid ride, a shocking and confusing one, and even though the narrative is a showcase of improvisation and chaos, Gozu still maintains an amazingly high level of awesomeness.

Appointment With Danger
½

Appointment with Danger - Alan Ladd's last encounter with his beloved noir genre - is an erratic hit-and-miss showcase, which strikes as a picture both fairly suspenseful and too underdeveloped in its narrative structure. Though it has its pleasurable moments of ravishing intensity, Appointment with Danger is a rather forgettable flick that creates a disadvantage out of its overly routine approach to the subject.

The film focuses on Al Goddard (Alan Ladd), a special investigator for the US post office, who is called in to investigate a mysterious murder of his fellow co-worker. What starts off as a rather superficial intrigue with a lovely nun in the middle of the whole action, soon turns into a deadly intrigue concerning a group of greedy, handy thugs and a huge sum of money. In order to reveal their plan, Goddard poses as a witty crook who also wants to put his hands on the cash. While trying to infiltrate the gang and discover what the scheme is about, he communicates with the police and takes care of the nun, who is now in grave danger, as she's the only suspect in the aforementioned murder case. During the last, most decisive moments of the intrigue something goes wrong, and Goddard is forced to rely only on his own cunning. The movie concludes with an intense and climatic shootout in a quiet industrial district.

The most fascinating thing about this film is its cast. Apart from Alan Ladd as the protagonist, Lewis Allen cast Jack Webb and Harry Morgan as the ruthless murderers. The future stars of the TV series Dragnet bring a lot of joy to the cinephile's heart with their dark and nasty portrayals of two guileful schemers.

Overal, Appointment with Danger might not be film noir finest example, yet it still aspires to be a reasonably thrilling picture, which makes a good use of its stellar cast and moody cinematography. Though unsuccessful, it will please all the genre fans.

Vabank II
Vabank II(1985)
½

Slightly less convincing than its predecessor, Vabank II still maintains a good level of suspense, filling its narrative with a compelling, obscure intrigue and very subtle comedic touches. Along with the first installment, it remains to be one of the most successful Polish crime films. Vabank has a strong cast, mischievous plot, a great deal of witty dialogues, and a humorous propaganda subtext somewhere in the middle. The main entertainment value comes from the ongoing struggle between the two main characters.

Vabank
Vabank(1982)

A compelling heist tale mixed with a bit of very sublime comedy makes Vabank a true gem in the Polish film history. Very intriguing plot, Jan Machulski as the perfect leading man, a very suspenseful atmosphere, and an ending that will make your heart race.

Safety Not Guaranteed
½

First thing that needs to be said about this film is that it's entirely NOT about time travel. Or is it? This is actually a matter, which becomes decisive only in the last few minutes of the picture. Safety Not Guaranteed doesn't deem it necessary to explain whether travelling through time is really possible. More so, it diverges from this debatable topic in a truly convincing manner, creating a more comedic aura around its smart and ambitious storyline.

When a group of three cynical journalists from a Seattle-based newspaper - an egoistic and laid-back reporter Jeff and his two interns: intense, witty Darius and nerdy, socially awkward Arnau - discover a strange advertisement placed in a paper in a small town in Washington called Ocean View, they quickly decide to investigate. As the ad clearly states, an unknown man is seeking a companion for a time travel. Following the mysterious trail the trio very soon arrives in the village, and after a short period of time they discover the person behind all this mystic farce. His name is Mark, and he works as a grocery clerk in a nearby shop. When Jeff spooks him out with his provocative attitude, it's time for Darius to go into action. After a while she's able to convince Mark that she's as trustworthy as she's prepared for the dangerous journey.

In the meantime, Jeff reveals why he really wanted to ride to Ocean View in the first place. Namely, his old-time girlfriend lives her. Surprisingly so, this seemingly rom-com subplot follows an unconventional path and doesn't look forced. What's more, even the shy and withdrawn Arnau learns a bit about life and about himself in the process.

The relationship between Mark and Darius grows to a level of a heartfelt romance. They share their motivation for travelling back in time, and - through so many hours spend together - they realize that they're actually on the same wavelength. Avoiding many cliches, the film presents a story, where emotions seem real and the characters that depict them are convincing enough to be recognized genuine human beings. Those characters really have some dimension, and through many engaging dialogues they exhibit their most intimate sides.

While Safety Not Guaranteed might be recognized as a thought-provoking sci-fi flick, it')s more of a really imaginative and touching indie comedy with some fantastical aspirations. It digs deep and uncovers a perfectly satisfying storyline, in a film that will probably guide Colin Treverrow towards a successful career.

Save The Date

Though I can‚(TM)t deny that the film‚(TM)s storyline is overly clich√ (C)d and hence predictable as the story goes, I still stand by the reassuring assumption that Save the Date is one of the year‚(TM)s most watchable independent romantic comedies. While the film tries too hard to be fresh ‚" and ultimately fails ‚" it promises a perfectly laughable and heartfelt experience, making a good use of the catchy soundtrack and its cast of many promising indie-regulars. After a short conversation with Michael Mahan (during the American Film Festival in Wroclaw), the director of this picture, I rest assured that the film aspires to be mostly an enjoyable and entertaining comedy and that‚(TM)s its unquestionable strength.

Saying that the story exemplifies a real-life one would be perhaps an overstatement, but admitting that one can identify with the characters and the issues that they need to cope with would definitely be all right.

There is romance, sex, marriage, and pregnancy; there are break ups, fights, rock concerts, dances, and parties. Ironically so, the film doesn‚(TM)t seem dull even though it is a mash-up of all those things.

What‚(TM)s more, as corny as it may sound, Save the Date illustrates everything that the word ‚~indie‚(TM) brings to mind these days: indie music, indie actors, indie dialogues (words like ‚~like‚(TM), ‚~awesome‚(TM), ‚~cool‚(TM), ‚~dude‚(TM) ‚" you know what I mean), indie vibe even.

Save the Date is definitely not a movie for everyone. It‚(TM)s more of an evening-on-the-couch type of thing than a real deal, but still I would recommend it to everyone who is in need of a light-hearted kind of entertainment. Also, admirers of Lizzie Caplan will observe how she ‚" once again ‚" shows her true potential, gradually turning into a rom-com favorite.

Gayby
Gayby(2012)
½

In the clich√ (C)d world of comedies nothing seems unconventional these days. That the audiences can't compliant about the number of rom-coms coming out on the big screen is a fact. Still, it's excruciating to observe how most of them cut corners and follow a well known, often indescribably boring and tiring, path. Fortunately, for the sake of the genre, once in a while there is a comedy that really aspires to contradict trends. And Gayby is one of those films. It is as vivacious as it is entertaining. The film shows a strictly unromantic yet undeniably laughable story about two best friends ‚" a gay guy named Matt and a straight woman named Jenn ‚" planning on having a 'gayby' together (although, as Matt clearly explains, this is a proper word only when two gay people two strictly gay people want to be parents). Without any second thoughts they decide that the best, the most adequate way to get Jenn pregnant is through the traditional act of sex. Their daily routine consists of working ‚" Matt sells comic books at a nearby store and Jenn teaches hot yoga ‚" going on dates in the evenings, and making love (in this situation it sound kind of weird) during the nights. Unfortunately, after a couple of trials they realize that trying to conceive is harder than one might think. In the meantime, their sex- lives start to flourish, causing problems both for the couple's casual relationship and for their baby-making ordeal.

Gayby shows that low-budget, amateurish indie comedies can be really amusing sometimes. The dialogues are witty, kinky and perfectly humorous. While the story isn't really that innovative and rather predictable, the atmosphere is sentimental and heartfelt, just as the characters are genuinely likable. What's more, Gayby depicts ‚" in an utterly exaggerated yet comical manner ‚" a world, where gay guys swarm the streets and it's actually them who convince us of their enormous desire to raise those not-so-typical families.

How to Survive a Plague
½

How to Survive a Plague is definitely one of the year‚(TM)s most awe-inspiring, riveting, go-into-action documentaries. Through a mightily informative combination of recent interviews and archival footage the film exhibits a noteworthy fight against both ignorance and indifference towards such a deadly epidemic as the one caused by the HIV virus. This is also a serious, heartfelt, touching depiction of a movement that was ready to change something, even if it meant sacrificing a few soldiers along the way. And yes, the word ‚~soldiers‚(TM) is perfectly suitable when it comes to all those young people who devoted their whole lives to a global, far-reaching cause.

Year by year, How to Survive a Plague presents a through and insightful look at the actions that propelled the LGBT activists in some of their most tragic days. Undeniably, the story behind such coalitions as Act Up and TAG are exhilarating ones. Even though the then-deadly virus already infected many of those young people, they still didn‚(TM)t lose faith in the cause and decided to stand up against the government and its reluctance to help those in need. Lead by a few charismatic and devoted individuals Act Up changed to course of history and it‚(TM)s definitely not an exaggeration. By making the whole world aware of the seriousness of this ferocious AIDS plague the activists made the world a place friendly for all inhabitants of this planet, no matter their sexual orientation or skin color.

How to Survive a Plague is a clever, intriguing and fortifying documentary. Every scene of the film matters, every voice raised is a significant one. Decidedly so, the interviews shine a new light on the past events presented in the archival footage, and their coming together combines for a valuable film experience.

Compliance
Compliance(2012)
½

Bestiality is by far the first and foremost step towards the degradation of humanity as such. With the gradual loss of innocence come many incredibly ludicrous real-life tales, which not only exhibit the weaknesses of ordinary people, but poke fun at all those who undeniably contribute to the ubiquitous act of lampooning. Undeniably so, Compliance presents an excruciatingly realistic story, one that‚(TM)s as harrowing, as it is unnerving, but it doesn‚(TM)t stop at that. It depicts it in such a way that it‚(TM)s almost unbearable to watch. Given the deeply disturbing and mightily shocking imagery, the film denudes human gullibility and incredible silliness, and those are by far the most delicate terms that should be used in this case. Compliance plays with the audience, making its purposeful amateurishness disquieting and heavy-handed. Surprisingly, the connotations that those adjectives bring to mind are the film‚(TM)s spectacular advantages. Its exceptionally raw style and repelling visuals account for an agitating rollercoaster ride that doesn‚(TM)t promise safety till the very end. The movie leaves the audiences bone-tired, burned out and angered.

There isn‚(TM)t any sense in writing about the story, because the biggest kick one will get out of watching Compliance is by not reading about it previously. It‚(TM)s only crucial to note how a seemingly random tale about one of the fast food regulars in the USA turns out to be nothing short of hell for all its workers. The deliberate act of mixing a few burger-fries-grease-related images with the whole storyline is like contradicting the silly innocence of a workplace with the hard-hitting tragedy of a few human beings. Compliance doesn‚(TM)t offer any alterations to its perversely intimidating substance, and that‚(TM)s probably the thing that makes the film truly effective. The people feel real, the tragedy seems familiar, the setting is nonsensical yet adequate, the atmosphere is intensifying with every minute. Hopelessness is all that is left, and Compliance surely makes a good use of that.

The Master
The Master(2012)
½

Undeniably, the world these days loves a picture, which is smart in such a way that it stirs a never-ending debate about its inscrutable, mightily ambiguous meaning. More so in times when going to the cinema is strictly connected with low-class entertainment that lacks any deeper self-reflection. The Master's significance will rather easily remain a mysterious one, due to the fact that the film intentionally accumulates a huge amount of distinct themes and places them within the storyline without hinting at any apparent purpose. However, that really doesn't mean that the film is unwatchable in any way - quite the opposite. Being a thoroughly innovative and strangely mystic picture, The Master is able to move one's imagination, disturb and shock a little, and then astonish the audiences with its mind-boggling, often confusing declarations. While those contentious divagations aren't to be affiliated with any known theorems ad personam it's not hard to recognize them as somewhat ostentatious and ironical representations of authentic presumptions stated by some of the world's most-favorite cults.

The Master reluctantly aspires to be a confounding, cryptic and awe-inspiring creation that's not to be taken too seriously, yet - at the same time - it brings to the table an infinite amount of complex testimonies that might manipulate the viewer just as well as The Cause beguiles the main character of the film. Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), because that's his name, is a Naval veteran with a huge emotional baggage that's been thrown on his back during the World War II. Returning back to his homeland Freddie isn't certain of the future that awaits him there. Due to a number of horrifying experiences he became violent, socially awkward and has hard time finding a permanent job. However, on one seemingly peaceful night he decides to board an unknown ship. In one of the cabins he meets a cultivated, nonchalant, charismatic, yet mysterious man ludicrously called the master. With the gentleman's insistence Freddie embarks on a most-spiritual journey into his own psyche. His perception of the mind and its capabilities changes, and so does his attitude towards the reality that surrounds him. Through a series of rough brainwash sessions - it's hard to call them in any other way - the master makes people believe. Strange enough, because nobody is a hundred percent sure what's this 'thing' that everybody believes in so hard. It's a faith or sort yes, but what's the true purpose behind the whole quasi-spiritual movement remains unanswered towards the end of the film. And surprisingly, that works really fine - without any certain revelations the whole mysticism is harder to grasp.

Aside from the matters closely associated with cults and their actions, The Master discusses a considerable amount of topics and subject - some of them briefly, other more thoroughly. By looking at Freddie and what he's been through since he joined the Navy it's not difficult to observe how his behavior relates to the controversial notion of war-related traumas that haunt many soldiers around the world to these days. Overt or not - it's not important - there's a delicate homosexual subtext in the relationship between Freddie and Lancaster (thanks to the police the master's name is finally revealed). What's more, it often looks strangely one-sided. And that brings up another topic, this time connected with attachment and subservience. Freddie is the master's obedient marionette up to a point, but it's crucial to note how the relations change drastically after some time. The thin line between controlling and serving becomes blurry, as the characters and their dispositions alternate.

The film successfully conveys the vibrant atmosphere of the 50‚(TM)s, filling it with melancholic and attractive tunes. It seems as though the cinematographer applied a bunch of corresponding filters in order to give a somehow old-fashioned feel to all the images that the movie exhibits.

The list of interpretations is endless. Everyone will have a different opinion about this film. One thing that surely all the viewers can agree on is that Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman give one of the most captivating, stupendous performances of the year. Given his distorted posture and irascible behavior, Phoenix transforms himself into a man who's tired of life and it‚(TM)s as painful to watch as it is convincing. Seymour Hoffman, on the other hand, makes the philosophical and existential gibberish, that he tortures the audiences with, really believable and satisfying. Wandering for a moment from the substance of the movie, one should notice how the vibe presented by both of those actors creates an amazingly spellbinding aura, and that‚(TM)s definitely The Master‚(TM)s most indubitable quality.

Possessed
Possessed(1947)
½

Possessed bases its gut-wrenching substance on a series of mind-boggling flashbacks, which systematically tells the story of a mentally ill woman. When the audience first sees her, she is walking almost unconsciously on the street shouting 'David! David!' to all the passersby. After a incident in a diner she is taken to a psychopathic section of a local hospital. When she's finally capable of forming understandable sentences, she presents a story of deceit, murder, jealousy, all wrapped up in a strictly emotional package. Obsessed with a man who doesn't reciprocate her feelings, Louise (Joan Crawford) forms an ingenious plan to lure him back into her arms. After the death of a sick woman (Mrs. Graham) she was looking after, Louise marries her husband Dean, a wealthy and sophisticated gentleman. In order to make David jealous she walks around town pretending to be fully in love. All the emotional instability and traumatic experiences cause her to become very ill. Her head hurts, she hallucinates, and sometimes isn't able to distinguish between what's right and what's wrong. What's more, her husband's pretty daughter becomes infatuated with David and a hearty romance soon takes place. Out of her mind, Louise realizes that there's only way to change the way the things are going...

Possessed is a somber, very moody and dramatic visualization of an ill woman's darkest nightmare. She's psychotic, unbalanced, and as one doctor in the film clearly puts it: in a Biblical sense, we might say that such person is possessed of devils. Her only way out of the insanity is the most extreme one. It's sometimes too heavy and too uneven, yet Joan Crawford's marvelous performance enhances the experience of watching the film enormously.

The Swimmer
The Swimmer(1968)

'When you talk about The Swimmer, will you talk about yourself?' On a beautiful, hot and sunny day we see a man diving into a swimming pool. He's handsome, masculine, well-built, and he's back to the place he used to live in once. He grabs a drink and starts a rather insignificant conversation with an old-time friend. He's an explorer, an adventurer, and it seems as though he's in desperate need of some new experiences. He discovers that there's a long line of pools in this suburban neighborhood and suddenly decides to 'swim home'.

That's how his fascinating journey begins. And I assure you, it's neither an easy nor a pleasurable one. As the man moves from one pool to another, we gradually unravel his life story, piecing all the missing puzzles together. Through all the interactions with the local people his life story begins to form. Some of them adore him, others loathe him, some are friends, others are long-time enemies. The swimmer takes a dip, says a few words, and then he's nowhere to be found. He's like the ghost of a person who previously inhabited his body. Though the conversations that he has seem realistic, they're actually very stiff, incomprehensible, and always unfinished. Yet they tell us more than we need to know about this shady persona. Slowly, we learn about the excruciating story of defeat and humiliation. Behind the swimmer's faked smile hides a grim and dark secret, connected with a troubled past.

The film ingeniously moves from day to night and from youth to age, flowing through like a whole lifetime rather than a day. The Swimmer is a most-stylized and artistic film, and its meaning is unclear until the very last moments. It's not before his final, most gut-wrenching encounters, when we discover the allegory hidden in the picture's seemingly vague premise. Behind the face of a pretty upper-class suburbanite hides a tragic hero. His heartbreaking life story exemplifies the failure of the so-called American Dream. Surrounded by many pretentious, emotionless characters the swimmer tries to find solace and redemption, but won't be able to. He's not one of them anymore, given his wretched state. While his former neighbors bathe in the sun and enjoy alcohol-filled parties, the swimmer roams around reminding them of a failed attempt at a glorious life. They seem appalled, frightened even, they are disguised by his sudden appearance. Once he found love in their arms, now all he gets is angry looks and accusations.

Based on an imaginative short story by John Cheever, The Swimmer comes as a mannerist, surrealistic, unsettling drama that is as steep as it is sharp. It's Burt Lancaster's most memorable performance. Wondering around the suburbia dressed only in swimming trunks, he portrays not only a cheerless and beaten man, but also an idea that doesn't promise any comfort through its acute and penetrating premise.

After the Rain

After the Rain is an endearing, exceptionally tranquil yet expressive samurai film based on a short story by ShŇęgorŇ? Yamamoto. Akira Kurosawa, who wasn't able to finish the project due to a sudden death, wrote the script and was right in the middle of the production phase. Takashi Koizumi ‚" one of Kurosawa's most prominent partners in the filmmaking business ‚" promised to finish what his mentor has started. Looking at the final result it's perfectly safe to say that After the Rain is a mightily climatic and genuinely enthralling homage to the late director's unforgettable works. All it takes is just five minutes, and I'm sure that one won't be able to overlook many of the resemblances that emerge from the screen. As silly as it may sound, After the Rain looks at times as though Kurosawa directed it from beyond the grave.

The film, set in the Edo period, follow closely the adventures of a traveling ronin Ihei Misawa (Akira Terao). He has all the attributes of a true samurai, yet there's something very different about him. Namely, he stands out from the crowd of many anonymous sword-carrying warriors due to his overly joyful and helpful attitude towards those in need. During a heavy rain that floods the only way across the river, Ihei ‚" wearing an enormously friendly smile ‚" decides to invite all the locals, taking shelter in a nearby hotel, to a huge feast. Through his good deeds, unselfish behavior, and most-positive nature he quickly becomes a hero of sort for all the guests. When the rain stops and Ihei is finally able to roam further, he encounters a bunch of up-to-no-good swordsmen. Stopping the probably deadly fight and winning the approval of a passing officer leads to a surprising invitation from a local lord, Shigeki (a showy and exuberant yet graceful performance by Shiro Mifune, Toshiro Mifune's son). During their first meeting in the palace, Ihei reveals how ‚" thanks to a most clever and fanciful plan ‚" he got a hold of a huge amount of money: on his way to Edo (old Tokyo) the lone samurai visited many of the region's dojos and tricked their masters into payment by way of premature surrender.

Impressed and jubilant Shigeki decides to name him the Master-of-Arms of the fief. However, the decision meets with fierce criticism coming from the side of a resentful group of masters, whom Ihei previously ridiculed. Put to an ultimate test, the ronin is forced to pass the traditional demonstration, in which he needs to beat every opponent willing to prevent him from getting the respectable title. Everything goes smoothly until the moment when Shigeki himself challenges Ihei to a duel. Defeated and insulted, the lord's anger is indescribable, and soon he chooses to change his decision, making Ihei jobless once again. What's more, on his way back home the lone samurai is forced to fight a group of the aforementioned angry masters, in the film's only truly bloody scene.

After the Rain is a particularly feel-good samurai picture, which shows a very interesting insight into the protagonist's rich life, his relationship with a vulnerable yet loving wife (Yoshiko Miyazaki), and ‚" at the same time ‚" proves to be a fascinating lesson about the culture and customs that ruled Japan more than 200 years ago. Moreover, by cutting the movie abruptly without a certain finale Koizumi only increases the viewer's curiosity and anxiety concerning Ihei's unknown fate. Looking at After the Rain as a whole, I'm really convinced that Akira Kurosawa would've been proud of this picture.

Amour
Amour(2012)
½

The fact that Amour is an instant classic in the art-house world is as indisputable as the hard-hitting love between the two main characters is captivating. It's an extraordinarily touching ode to this drastically humane feeling, which has been known for its overpowering force and heartfelt altruistic disposition since the dawn of man. While remaining a thoroughly unsentimental and provocative picture, Amour delivers a most-demanding portrayal of an elderly couple's last days together. Those cultivated, sophisticated characters need to evaluate their long-lasting marriage and come to terms with their own emotions, and, simultaneously, discover the true meaning of love in itself. Decisions need to be made, and some of them might be shocking to say the least.

It's a beautiful but considerable piece of filmmaking, where a sombre atmosphere and disturbing imagery permeate every scene. Haneke's steady and visionary directorial hand promises many moving and heartbreaking sequences, while still providing a poetic exemplification of a well-lived life's concluding moments. It's impossible to find either a sense of redemption or a hint at liberation, no. Amour displays a marvelous character-driven narrative, where loving individuals diverge from the seemingly familiar path and start arguing with their own opinions and ideals.

Amour is a tender, detailed, two-hour visualization of a romance well beyond boundaries, and through its difficult notions it shows human existence in its most intimate and most elegiac state. That death seems inevitable from the very first minutes is certain, but the way that Haneke chooses in order to finally arrive at the upsetting conclusion is an uneasy one. It's a powerhouse production, which will leave the audiences in a most pensive mood.

Leave Her to Heaven

Gene Tierney's tour-de-force in a role of a psychopathic, pathological woman (Ellen Berent) on the verge of insanity makes Leave Her to Heaven the most noir-ish of all film noirs filmed in Technicolor. She is indeed the archetype of all the demented women which graced the screen in years to come.

Cornel Wilde plays a successful novelist Richard Harland, who falls in love with Ellen during a train trip. Soon they get engaged, and only then is Richard able to grasp the madness that eats his wife from the inside. Her severely troubled state progresses, and when it does no relative is left unharmed. As the days go by, her enormous obsession leads to a bunch of horrible incidents and is the source of a grave misery for everyone who as much as talks to Harland.

Leave Her to Heaven is a film about love and there's no doubt about it, but the love portrayed by Gene is so harrowing and unnerving that it makes one reconsider what the feeling really means. It's an emotional bloodbath, and a nightmarish realization of a man's most fatalistic visions. Once Richard gets himself into this deranged ordeal of a marriage he isn't able to escape his fate. His life is spiraling out of control as much as his willingness to live slowly decreases. The only person, who might help him is his wife's lovely younger sister Ruth, but she also becomes a victim of Ellen's sick scheme.

Leave Her to Heaven might come as an absurd melodrama for some, but its substance delivers many cringe-worthy moments, presenting one of those 'too good to be true' stories. It's as beautiful in its cinematography as it is frightening in its realization.

All Through the Night

All Through the Night might seriously be one of the most suspenseful and thrilling and - at the same time - most amusing and joyful comedy thrillers of the 1940's. It's a star-studded picture, which astounds with a noteworthy, most up-to-date, literate and fast-paced narrative. While the film storyline concerns a rather familiar topic of Nazi saboteurs in America during World War II, it gives an all-new, promising twist to the whole intrigue. All Through the Night makes great use of scrupulously-filmed on-location scenes, giving the audiences many spectacular and rewarding sequences (i.e. speedy car chases on the streets of New York, or Central Park being in the center of a deadly gunfight between Americans and Germans).

A group of laid back Broadway gamblers - lead by the charismatic and always-elegant Humphrey Bogart - stumble onto an intriguing scheme, which starts off when a friendly baker turns up dead in his shop. Every clue brings them closer to danger, as they discover that the whole mystification might be connected to a deadly ring of enemy agents operating in the USA in order to gradually destroy the country right from its heart. Following a few deadly encounters, kidnappings, shoot-outs (and marvelously laughable situations) the boys finally realize what they've gotten themselves into. And in the third act it's Bogey's and William Demarest's (ingeniously called Sunshine) time to shine. Namely, they try to persuade - speaking gibberish for the great amusement of the audiences - a room filled with Nazis that they're actually Germans too.

With clever and and faultless dialogues, adequate comedic interludes, fascinating plot and most-ravishing ending All Through the Night aspires to be a sharp propaganda flick with a truly satisfying patriotic attitude.

Cachť
Cachť(2005)

Cache is a distressing masterpiece, which leaves you confused, clueless, empty. It's that kind of a film which asks some serious and problematic questions but doesn't give any rewarding answers in the process. Without hesitation, Cache promises no relief, no happy endings and no emotional stability whatsoever.

It start off with a long, seemingly ordinary shot of a peaceful neighborhood somewhere in Paris. It's not until five minutes later that we discover it's actually a mysterious video recorded by some unknown characters, now seen on the TV screen belonging to a frightened family. We hear worried people chatting, we observe how a set of fuzzy lines appear on the screen. This family - terrorized by a seres of troubling surveillance tapes - is gradually tearing itself apart.

The film shows how one shocking event leads to a bunch of another, even more harrowing revelations. Cache is also a trip into the main character's (Georges) disturbing past, revealing how an arguably childish incident brought an onslaught of difficulties into his life, changing it for ever not only for him, but also for his innocent wife and child (or is he?).

This is a film where no character is likable, and no emotions are spared. Its increasingly unfeeling aura only boosts the state of unbalance and merciful empathy. It's tranquil yet considerable in its atmosphere, graceful yet painfully expressive in its imagery. Cache forces the audiences to look, and what one sees might not be might not comforting.

Conflict
Conflict(1945)

It's a disturbing and horrifying psychological thriller. With it's maliciously unnerving mood and heavy, dismal cinematography Conflict aspires to achieve an all-new level of ambiguity. The film is about a guilt-ridden man - Humphrey Bogart's arguably most sinister role ever - who gradually plunges deeper and deeper into state of a devastating mental illness. The more observant viewers might be able to uncover the whole mystery in the first act even, but for those who are in desperate need of a satisfying and suspenseful intrigue Conflict brings a seriously sapid mystery. Hinting at a thorough psychological evaluation in the beginning, Conflict analyzes how a fearless and brutal man - convinced that he's just killed his innocent wife - is trapped in a vortex of clues, which might lead to a mightily shocking revelation. Sydney Greenstreet - with his usual charm, sophisticated mannerism, and most-cheerful laughter - plays the psychoanalyst and a friend to Mr. Bogart. His impeccable intelligence is the film's most-promising quality. And Bogart, with all his devilish attitude and increasing fear is as convincing [and as stylish and graceful] as he was in Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon. Conflict is a lesser-known film noir, but it's crucial to note that it's clever premise and bunch of twisted and deranged sequences deliver a melodrama that's not to be argued with.

The Razor's Edge
½

Being an intellectually engrossing, enormously stylish, deeply emotional picture, The Razor's Edge is both the most captivating and the most satisfying adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's inspiring novel of the same title. Even though in its core subject the film has much to do with spirituality and self-realization, it also ponders such considerable topics as obsession, greed, alcoholism, war-related traumas, etc. Wrapped up in a neat package of astounding visuals and fascinating camera shots, The Razor's Edge proves to be a very successful collaboration between the director Edmund Goulding and the cinematographer Arthur C. Miller. Splendid performances by the stellar cast only confirm that The Razor's Edge is an irrefutable masterpiece of the Golden Era of Hollywood.

The literate and dramatic script gives a thorough psychological insight into all the character's minds. Tyrone Power plays Larry Darrell, the main character, who is about to begin a long and demanding search for the true meaning of life. Gene Tierney is his fianc√ (C)e Isabel Bradley, a girl who tries to trap him into a marriage she wants, but ultimately realizes that she won't be able to. Clifton Webb is Elliott Templeton, a shallow, pompous, and supercilious uncle who ‚" surprisingly so ‚" turns out to be a rather likable and reliable old gentleman.

Larry goes to France and then to India, discovering many new facts about life and fulfilling his destiny as the passionate truth-seeker. In the meantime, Isabel marries Gray Maturin (John Payne), a man who's always been in love with her. Along with her uncle and a few relatives they move to a classy palace located in France and stay there until the heavy depression hits them really hard.

The turning point of the film comes when a long-time family friend Sophie MacDonald (devastating performance by Anne Baxter) loses her husband and child in a car crash and starts drinking in order to forget about this horrible accident. After a while, all the characters meet up in France at the most unexpected time. Though married, Isabel is still fully in love with Larry. He, on the other hand, decides to help poor Sophie and proposes to her instead. Thing turn ugly, as Isabel tries to cause Sophie's final fall into alcoholism and dejection, just to get Larry only for herself. As the obsessive behavior progresses, she realizes that many people, even those that she truly cared about, desert her.

Starting in the period ingeniously named the roaring 20's and following up to the difficult times of the Great Depression, the film exhibits ‚" in an utterly realistic manner ‚" how a social and economic situation in the USA shaped the way people corresponded to one another. Pretentious, shallow and greedy members of the aristocracy cared only about their own, mostly material, needs. However, after the horrible stock market crash in 1929 everything suddenly changed. It's perfectly exemplified in the way Isabel Bradley's closest relatives handled the loss of money, and how it actually lead up to the beginning of the respected family's end.

Undoubtedly, Tyrone Power's performance is the greatest force of this picture. Avoiding many clich√ (C)s, he presents a man who is as confused as he is curious about life in general. Handsome and charismatic, it's not hard to see why Gene Tierney was so obsessed with his persona. Her awe-inspiring portrayal of a woman who can't distinguish between what's good and what's bad is as convincing as it is heartbreaking.

Exploring both an ill-fated love affair and a promising spiritual journey, the film is a 144-minute ode to effective and convincing filmmaking. Enhanced by marvelous supporting performances, The Razor's Edge cuts deep and uncovers a deeply sorrowful intrigue, promising neither second chances nor happy endings.

Christmas in Connecticut
½

A lighthearted, joyful comedy that gives the new, superbly comedic, meaning to a traditional Christmas party. Very amusing and hearty, Christmas in Connecticut presents a wonderfully cheerful love story with many slapstick elements. When a war hero Jefferson Jones comes back home and wants to spend the Holidays in a nice, homely atmosphere, fate sends him to the doorstep of a well-known food critic Elisabeth Lane. Unfortunately, she has lied for a long time to her readers about having a loving family and a house in the countryside. With the help of a few friends she arranges a drastically improvised make-believe ceremony. From the beginning nothing seems to go as planned and after a few laughable scenes everything goes berserk. Love takes over, and Elisabeth - despite having an unwedded, fake husband - falls in love with her handsome guest. The whole mystification goes out of control and the Christmas in ruined for the amusement of some, and for the disgust of others. Christmas in Connecticut is a screwball comedy that will definitely appeal to most viewers, more so during the annual family gatherings.

Oldboy
Oldboy(2005)

Being a gripping, thrilling and harrowing tale of revenge, Oldboy attacks the audience with its unsettling atmosphere and graphic scenes of brutality. From the very first minutes the film successfully grasps one's attention and doesn't stop to astound until the final, shocking moments. It's an intriguing, mysterious, and bloody seductive movie, which presents a story so gruesome and unforgiving that it's almost unbearable to watch. When Oh Dae-su is imprisoned for 15 years for unknown reasons and eventually gets out, he has only two questions in mind: why and who? While trying to capture his oppressors he wants to uncover the real purpose behind this outrageous event that ruined his life for good. With the help of a lovely young girl, he succumbs to the lone warrior's way and finds out more about himself and his life than he intended to. In the film the revenge goes both ways, and as soon as we discover what the whole story is about we won't be able to forget how powerful and, at the same time, discomforting the film really is.Chan Wook Park did an amazing job, but probably his greatest decision was casting the superb Min-sik Choi in the titular role. His frighteningly beastly attitude serves everyone right, as he defeats his enemy with cold blood and uncovers all the clues one after another, only to arrive at a conclusion that has much to do with a forgotten past.

Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas(2012)
½

A mind-numbing, philosophically-challenging movie that wants too much out of its complex plot-line. Intertwining five different stories, Cloud Atlas ponders many intriguing topics, such as reincarnation, determinism, faith, metamorphosis, and the way people's lives in different eras combine and form history as we know it. While though-provoking and engaging, the film doesn't necessarily arrive at a conclusion that is satisfactory enough for the audiences. Even though - through its most Hollywood-like ending - Cloud Atlas tries to answer all the question stated in its over-complicated mash-up of interconnected tales. It's safe to say that the movie purposefully wants to drag the viewers into its confusing universe with an especially incoherent storyline, giving them the sheer pleasure of connecting all the dots on their own. It's a weighty mixture of genres, all wrapped up in a neat package of astounding visual effects and eye-popping landscapes. Surprisingly, the same actors play unevenly in various segments, and the blame is on the directors' side (there is a distinction between the way the parts are directed and it's significant to note that there is a difference in the directors' styles). Cloud Atlas is an epic film, but in that case it's not definitely a compliment. It's premise is undeniably enormous, but it's substance calls for some sure rewrites. In defense of the whole movie it's crucial to say that the book of the same name was named one of the most 'unfilmable' of all. By trying to play subconsciously on people's imagination, the picture invites us to an unknown world filled with artificial characters with too many plastic surgeries, and to a place where some stories seem too redundant to be even meaningful in the intensified outcome. While ambitious, Cloud Atlas evaluates its themes briefly and arrives at a conclusion that's not to be grasped wholeheartedly.

Tokyo!
Tokyo!(2008)

While highly imaginative, Tokyo! doesn't really aspire to be a compelling flick. As intriguing as the three segments might actually be, they don't form a solid movie on its own rights. The first part is arguably the most entertaining one, the third part comes right after and is mildly amusing, and the second one is simply the worst of them all. Michael Gondry did a good job with the story of a woman lost in the big world without any special purpose in life. As the story goes she starts to see a light in the darkness and begins a strange transformation. Leos Carax made a segment so weird that it's actually unwatchable. It's chaotic nonsense filled with dull characters and boring, schematic plot techniques. The third part, directed by Bong Joon-ho shows a man - called hikikomori - who doesn't ever leave the house and has everything delivered to his door. One day, he meets a lovely pizza-girl and begins to fall in love. While the premise of the whole picture is undeniably zestful, Tokyo! delivers less fun and more disarray through its three tales.

Holy Motors
Holy Motors(2012)

After a short segment in Tokyo! Leos Carax presents another collaboration with Daniel Levant. In Holy Motors the protagonist wanders around town in his shiny, rich, white limo (the first thing that comes to mind is Cosmopolis) in order to go around a series of strange meetings. Every time he takes the form of a different persona, fulfilling his role as an assassin, hobo, monster-man, father, etc. Without a care in the world, he strolls around the streets abusing other people, and - what's rather funny - even when he's near death he miraculously revives inside the fortified limousine. While many of the appalling adventures are perfectly watchable in the sense of fantastic visual style and moody cinematography, they often falter in the narrative sense. Leos Carax wanted to create an artistic movie so badly, that he actually forgot about the adequacy of the final message of the story. It's a subtle triumph of form over substance, even though Holy Motors delivers a fine amount of chills and thrills and ponders degradation of humane values and the overpowering loneliness and sense of isolation in the contemporary world.

In the Mood for Love

One of the subtlest and most refreshing romance films in many years, In the Mood for Love delivers an amazing storyline enhanced by spellbinding visuals. This masterpiece shines a new light on the genre, giving the audiences an engaging insight into the relationship of two people with similar tastes yet with different visions of a love-filled life. When those two characters discover that their partners are cheating on them with one another, they start to form a closer bond, still without consuming their feelings. It's a stylish, very sensuous film that is as artistic in its form as it is stirring in its substance. With love and relations often comes loneliness, and In the Mood for Love is Kar-Wai Wong's persuasive attempt at exploring this conception.

Looper
Looper(2012)

Genuinely thrilling and imaginative, Looper ponders time travel at its most mind-bending. Aspiring to be one of the most innovative sci-fi's of the last decade it falters in the second act and slows the pace just for too long. While the whole theme about a telekinetic boy who is able to kill with his abusive powers seems a bit far-fetched Looper overcomes this potentially weak plot element with a very strong and satisfying ending. Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a young Bruce Willis is astonishingly believable (while the face looks kind of awkward), and Bruce Willis' comes striking back with his usual hit-and-kill attitude. Very engaging - even with some longueurs - Looper delivers a precious amount of though-provoking sci-fi experience and does it with the utmost precision, leaving no misconceptions behind.

Audition (‘dishon)

One of the finest and most successful blends of promising romance and hard-hitting horror. Audition builds up its seemingly straightforward story about love between two people and - when the right time comes - attacks the audiences with some of the most shocking images of sheer torture. Takashi Miike created an uncontested masterpiece, making Audition an indisputably unnerving psychological thriller that astounds with its enormous attention to details not only in its romance-filled sensations, but - unfortunately for the squeamish viewers - also in the gruesome scenes of physical and emotional torment. While the blood-infested sequences last for only a couple of minutes, the most distressing part comes from the close-ups of Asami Yamazaki's pleasure-driven doings. In the most ingenious and agitating way Audition shows how tremendously deceitful first appearances might actually be. While the film will always remain as controversial as it's been on the day of it's worldwide premiere, it still proves to be a truly stylish and compelling work that is as close to true art as no horror has probably never been.

Bill Cunningham New York

One of the most light-hearted and heartwarming documentaries of the decade. It's a story about an enormously happy and friendly man who just happens to be one of the most distinguished personas in the fashion industry. Surprisingly enough, Bill Cunningham isn't just another one of the many snobbish people who only take interest in wearing expensive clothes, eating in high-end restaurants and spending all days talking about material matters in the company of other supercilious characters. No, he's a normal guy who loves taking pictures of beautiful clothes. He's a fashion photographer for the New York Times, and his daily routine consists of riding on a bike to many spots in the city and finding natural beauty on the streets. He is a true pioneer in the street style society and a guru for many of the regular folks strolling around town in their own carefully-invented creations. This film is an homage to his work and to his gigantic love of life and his work. It also shows how one happy 80-year old man is able to restrain from many human urges and penetrate the city with his camera, making regular on-street photos look like true works of art.

Less Than Zero
½

Valuable characters don't overshadow the fact that the film wanders from the story presented in the book and becomes total chaos of uninviting intrigues created by a bunch of rich LA kids. It's a rather perfunctory depiction of the events that occured in the famous and controversial novel written by Bret Easton Ellis. Less Than Zero allures with its distinctive soundtrack and promising personas (Robert Downey Jr. most spectacular early performance), but the fact that it's story is as boring as a weary melodrama doesn't foreshadow too many thrills.

T-Men
T-Men(1947)
½

Evenly-paced documentary that surrounds itself with a truly spellbinding film-noir aura. A tale about two hard cops who - under new aliases - try to infiltrate a dangerous counterfeit ring. With their cleverly-build personalities they embark on a very intense and tough mission, which will end one of the most ruthless criminal gangs in the history of phony money distribution. Dennis O'Keefe and Dennis O'Brian give immensely astounding performances as the two titular T-Men. The only thing that irritates in the film is its unsteady and lame narration provided by one of the least encouraging voices in the docudrama genre.

Catfish
Catfish(2010)

The main problem of this movie is the fact that it builds up this ingenious and promising suspense plot just to overdo it in the third act. While its very rational on the emotional level, it doesn't really come as a believable documentary. It's not that this thrilling story about love and deceit couldn't happen in real life, but the way many of the scenes are purposefully staged makes one question the reality of this mystery-filled storyline. However, it makes you truly scared of the social network craze and the intrigue that binds many of the on-line relationships. Beware of friend requests and don't let the first impressions fool you.

The Blue Dahlia

Though the shaky chemistry between Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake brings a lot of energy into this dark and sombre murder story, William Bendix is the one who gives the movie the much needed sense of disorientation. After his wife is found dead in her apartment, her anger-driven husband becomes the prime suspect in the mysterious case. Dragged into the whole intrigue is also the woman's inscrutable lover and his alluring wife, who likes to run around town spending time with strange men. While being a object of a forceful manhunt, Johnny tries to investigate on his own and is soon entangled into a dangerous farce. The film's intense atmosphere concludes with a truly satisfying climax, which attacks the audiences with a spectacular twist. Very exciting and amusing, The Blue Dahlia comes as a noir film that allures with splendid performances and typically-gloomy ambiance.

You Only Live Once
½

A depressing, ambitious picture directed by Fritz Lang shows how quickly can a life spiral out of control, with utterly grievous consequences. A small-time crook named Eddie is out of prison and marries his long-time love. Unable to find work he is constantly miserable and thinks that he left his wife down. On one day, a bank robbery takes place and Eddie is the prime suspect. Sentenced to death, he realizes that there is no other way of escaping his fate than resolving to violence. In the most climatic moment of the film a parole grant arrives at the prison warden's office. However - given the circumstances and his attempt to run away - mentally unstable Eddie doesn't believe the story. He kills the prison chaplain and becomes the real killer-on-the-loose. Along with his beautiful and loving wife and their newborn baby, he decides to run away out of the country and find peace somewhere far away.
You Only Live Once is a visually-striking depiction of one man's attempt at rescuing his own well-being from the disastrous effects of a faulty trail. Henry Fonda gives an incredibly convincing performance as the worn-out, antipathetic protagonist. Sylvia Sidney aspires to be a true Golden-Era star through her touching portrayal of an optimistic yet worried wife.
With its sombre atmosphere and bitter feel of irrepressible hopelessness You Only Live Once marks Fritz Lang's rise to fame during his American period.

Libeled Lady
Libeled Lady(1936)

A very amusing screwball comedy with an all-star cast. It presents a ridiculously laughable farce about love, jealousy and a big libel suit that started it all. When a privileged woman (Loy) sues a newspaper for 5 million dollars, because of an article she's been slandered in, the editor of the paper (Tracy) comes up with an ingenious scheme that will make her drop the suit. He hires his old-time playboy colleague (Powell) and drags his angered wife-to-be (Harlow) into the whole intrigue. They are about to play a lawfully wedded couple that will make a big affair out of a romance between the playboy and the libeled lady. However, due to some funny circumstances love gets in the way and everything spirals out of control. Controlled by various emotions those people pair up in the most unsuspected way and are about to destroy the whole plot. While the suit is still on, the actors must take care of their own feelings and decide what's best for them.Libeled Lady is a perfectly acted screwball with lots of slapstick situations and many witty dialogues. It's an MGM star-showcase that does a good job of exhibiting its well-written storyline in the most splendid and farcical manner.

Dwae-ji-ui wang (The King of Pigs)
½

A haunting, hard-hitting animation about the problem of class struggle in South Korea and its disastrous connection to bullying. With its nightmarish art direction, it stimulates many radical emotions in the viewer, assaulting him with a most sombre tale of an atrocious past.

Two men struggling with domestic issues of their own meet after 15 years and reminisce about their extremely difficult school days. Their childhood was gradually being destroyed because of the ongoing, enormous and brutal pressure from the rich kids who ruled the school-grounds and often resolved to in-class violence. The fact that everybody around pretends that this horrible activity didn't even exist only made the whole issue worse and caused the richer kids to be even more confident of their impunity. The boys' last and only hope was their brave yet ferocious classmate Chul. He proved to be the only kid who wasn't afraid to stand up against the terror and tried to fight back using even more violence than his oppressors. Without any help from the outside the three friends came up with a most shocking plan - Chul will commit a public suicide. Without any hope for a brighter future they though of this extreme scheme as they only means to notifying the impassive adults about the horrible incidents that occur behind the school walls everyday.

Apart from evaluating the boys' decisions and presenting their differing viewpoints on the situation - and on what's about to happen - the film also reveals a grand mystery in its final act.

The plot is inspired by the director's dream, where his two friends decide to commit suicide as a revenge act for all the evil that's happened to them in the past.

The King of Pigs is a mightily dark and obscure anime, where horrible reality merges with confusing visions, only to deliver a stupendously convincing message to the Korean nation. Through the story of two men it shows that many childhood traumas have terrible lifelong effects. Memories are deceiving, but they play an important role in determining how people cope with their lives.

Seven Men From Now
½

An entertaining and well-written western that is also capable of delivering a credible amount of twists in its storyline. Randolph Scott plays an ex-sherrif out for revenge on the 7 men who killed his wife during a Wells Fargo office robbery. Wondering around sun-burned prairies he encounters a couple-in-need and later on decides to ride with them to the city of Silver Springs, where the whole grievous event took place. While he blames himself for what happened to his beloved wife, Stride's only concern is to find the murderers and shoot them dead at first sight. On the road he meets his old-time rivals Master and Clete, who join their group as well. The atmosphere intensifies as the men start to struggle, Annie Greer shows her true emotions, and the Wells Fargo robbers plan a deadly surprise for Stride. Watching Seven Men from Now proves to be a truly thrilling western experience, and a splendid character-driven showcase lead by Randolph Scott and Lee Marvin.

Skyfall
Skyfall(2012)

Major upgrade from the two previous James Bond flicks starring Daniel Craig. It's a darker, more valuable picture that vastly reflects on M's mysterious past and her emotionless attachment to MI6 agents. Hitting off with a fast-paced, thrilling action sequence, Skyfall continues to draw the viewer's attention with its very strong and succulent plot. After Bond's presumed dead the MI6 headquarters and all the service's operatives are under a deadly attack. 007 needs to get back from his pleasurable and much-needed vacation just to uncover the whole intriguing plot behind the explosive farce. Relying on his irrefutable skills, help of a young brainiac and a beautiful, seductive colleague Bond embarks on a sensationally agitating and breathtaking adventure. Daniel Craig gives a steady performance (one of his best actually), Javier Bardem is indisputably amazing as the dangerous villain, who was also an agent back in the days. Skyfall goes back to the roots and makes this Bond installment a truly entertaining one, without any restraints from brutal violence and impressive on-location shots.

Hiroshima Mon Amour

State-of-the-arc achievement from Alain Resnais. Hiroshima Mon Amour ponders on the major topic of reminiscing about the difficult past and its relation to our present emotions and behavior. Juxtaposing the unlikely French-Japanese romance with the horribly touching images from after the Hiroshima bombing makes watching this film a truly memorable experience. Evaluating the two viewpoints on the whole grievous situation, we see how two completely different people - strangers in the city recovering from an enormous disaster - are able to open up and show their feelings to one another. Hiroshima Mon Amour is an artistic vision of both the director and the cinematographer, who explicitly invites the audience to explore the city in a distressing atmosphere, where dark colors stand for the sensations that the characters exhibit. With its New Wave attributions and embroiled yet insightful narrative technique the film reveals the perturbed human psyche and shows how every war affects the way we relate to the world and to people around us.

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
½

Although 80 years have passed since the premiere of this film it still remains one of the most smashing, distressing and harrowing depictions of prison violence in history. The story of James Allen (brilliantly and believably played by the up-and-coming Paul Muni) is a serious, not-so-typical cautionary tale. Upon his return home James - against his family's requests - rejects the job offer from his earlier employer and decides to follow the dream of becoming a prominent architect. Unfortunately, the country's economic instability shows its true face when James rides around the country without any chances of finding real work. If this wasn't enough, one day he meets a shady character who invites him for a free burger at a nearby joint. Soon it becomes clear that this man is actually a small-time robber, and James is dragged into the whole intrigue with him, just to be found guilty with a proper trail and sentenced for 10 years on a chain gang. The enormous brutality and inhumane treatment of the prisoners make I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang a real punch-in-the-face. One day James finally finds a way of escaping from the nightmare and begins to re-live his life and finally fulfills his lifelong dream. While he soon becomes a master craftsman in the architectural industry, new problems arise afterwards. He is pressured into marrying his landlady - who happens to know his past - and when he begins to have feelings for another woman, she starts threatening his huge secret. Before long he is once again - this time voluntarily, due to his prior agreement with the prison chieftains - sentenced to hard work in the chain gang. Hoping for a one-month stay he endures another 10 years in the horrible, atrocious conditions. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is a perfectly astounding expose of the unstable and literally bestial chain gang system. With its sinister ambiance and hard-hitting imagery, the film presents a grievous story of one innocent man's attempt at rescuing what's left of his already dilapidated life.

Oblawa
Oblawa(2012)
½

One of the strongest Polish films of the year and clearly a psychological experience that revives the faith in the country's film industry. It's a traumatizing depiction of harrowing World War II events that took place in just a few days time. With a confusing (at first) yet inspiring narrative style Oblawa achieves the much-needed level of a perfectly tense drama. Sombre and atrocious in the evaluation of human nature, Oblawa never stops to proclaim its visibly denuding nature. Masculine, brutal and rude, it's definitely not a movie for the faint of heart.

Pursued
Pursued(1947)

It's an exceptionally thrilling and engaging mix of a typical western and distressing noir film that subconsciously insinuates a gut-wrenching proclamation of genuine Freudian theories. Jeb - a temperamental loner living with an adoptive family - is haunted by some mysterious demons of the past. His only recollection of a horrible event that took place a long ago is an image of cowboy boots clanging dreadfully with flashy spurs. Time passes, and Jeb deepens the already burning feelings for his foster sister Thorley, and - at the same time - intensifies the hatred towards his brother Adam. Mentally unstable, Jeb plunges even further into the self-concious trauma when he kills a man - who threatened him earlier with fired shots - and discovers that the person was really his brother. Pursued by a gang of vicious brutes and abandoned by his beloved wife-to-be, Jeb decides to stand against his biggest fears and unravel the dark secret that's been assaulting him for so many years. Pursued is a perfectly intense and engaging film that borrows all that's best from many different genres. Clever use of flashbacks, distorted black-and-white cinematography, and picturesque New Mexican imagery combine for an outstanding amount of disparate sensations.

Children of Men
½

Children of Men is undoubtedly one of the strongest sci-fi films of the last decade. The story, based on a thought-provoking novel by P.D. James, is very evenly paced and has a certain gripping effect on the viewer, right until the very last minutes. Cinematography is perfectly moody and obscure, making the futuristic London look like a war-infested playground where no one is safe. The film shows how - in difficult, brutal times of infertility - one man tries to save a miraculously pregnant woman from the omnipresent chaos. This man named Theo, firstly a typical bureaucratic non-believer, starts to follow his senses and begins to show his true nature, as the bold and protective man on a dangerous mission towards the rebirth of mankind. The film follows closely all the events up to the climatic moment of an immigrant uprising and the thrilling battle for life and death. The camera movement is greatly exhilarating, and makes the viewer feel as though he is right in the middle of the whole action. The performances are believable, as the actors we see on screen are able to denude all their deepest emotions, bravely exhibiting fear, angst, anxiousness, and even faith in a forthcoming happy ending. Overall, it's truly a violent, heartbreaking, intriguing, full-bodied sci-fi worth watching.

The Cove
The Cove(2009)
½

One of the most powerful documentaries I've ever seen. It feels like a regular thriller, it's insightful like a successful documentary should be, it exposes one of the most ferocious animal-cruelty crimes on the planet, it combines instructive interviews with superb hidden-camera work, and it moves deeply with some shocking and horrifying scenes of pure bestiality. This brilliant and detailed investigation of a covert dolphin-killing operation in Taiji, Japan makes the audience really believe in the cause, and leaves a huge impression, which makes one realize how amazing and intelligent dolphins truly are. Many things has been said about this film, but I'm going to say something once again - it's a spy-thrillier-like documentary that no one should ignore.

Perfect Blue
Perfect Blue(1999)

An eerie and distressing psychological thriller that is as scary as it is actually confusing in the end. It's a Hitchockian showcase, where reality merges with fiction, just to create an astonishingly complex cat-and-mouse game, with proper amounts of blood and gore surrounding it the whole time.

When a young and sweet retired pop-star, beloved by many die-hard fans, tries to shine in the film industry - sullying her own good name with atrocious TV-show roles and nude photo sessions - the past comes back to haunt her in the most expressive and frightening way possible - through confounding distortion of reality and many deceptive visions. There isn't a sense of tranquility - even though the main character might aspire to achieve it - as the audience isn't sure who is who in this surrealistic expression of a celebrity's worst nightmare.

Perfect Blue plays some both astounding and discomforting visual tricks on the viewer's mind, dragging one deeper and deeper into the whole frightful intrigue. Although Perfect Blue goes too far and makes the whole storyline a bit overdone - slightly weakening the final effect - it still is a mesmerizing anime that might haunt with its strong attention to mind-boggling imagery and gruesome scenes of animated violence.

First Winter
First Winter(2012)

It's a hipsteri-fic kind of entertainment, where a bunch of weird, bearded dudes and their laid-back girlfriends try to survive through a rough winter (looking like a strange, colossal apocalyptic nightmare, where nothing spectacular really happens, yet we still have to be convinced that there is no way those people can escape from the deserted mad-house located somewhere far in the vast snow fields). Given their perverse attitude towards the sex-infused, drug-filled routine, they aren't able to reveal all their true feelings when placed in front of a grave tragedy - shortage of food, and then the death of one of their friends. Beautifully shot and enhanced by some poetic visuals, First Winter comes as an intriguing, worrisome look at the behavior of young people during a crisis. Strangely, it's also an interesting encounter with - what could be called - some kind of a bizarre sect, where everything is a big mystification organized by the guru of the whole group. Look for yourselves, as Benjamin Dickinson created an inviting film that might tire some because of too many unneeded longueurs, and satisfy others due to its fascinating camera work.

Rentaneko (Rent-a-Cat)

A light-hearted and bewitching film that brings out all that's best and brightest about Japan. It's a kawaii-style affair that through - as funny as it may sound - the seemingly simple tale about a cat-renting business evaluates the problem of loneliness in the harsh, contemporary world of ours. The main character, a woman named Sayoko, lives with her lovable cats, spending every second in their company. During her every-day stroll around the neighborhood she continues to develop a most comical 'fame' as the rent-a-cat lady. While many lonely people use her services with much gratitude, she tries to follow the big dreams of finding the love of her life, unfortunately without much results. Through the routine that controls her life she gradually begins to realize that building a close relationship with an ordinary cat is much simpler than doing so with a human being. With its charming and alluring feel, adorable felines walking all around the screen, and many laughable situations, Rent-a-Cat is a Japanese comedy that will lighten up your day.

Keep the Lights On
½

While shocking and graphic in some of its scenes of sex and drug abuse, Keep the Lights on maintains a very even pace in its self-proclaiming exhibition of love at its purest. It's both a gut-wrenching and sensuous film that denudes what's most fragile about human emotions. Keep the Lights on is a persuasive evaluation of one difficult relationship, exploring all the little subtleties that make the main characters spiral out of control through the self-imploding aspects of their behavior. Very intimate and intricate at times, the movie will shock some and astound others.

The Imposter
The Imposter(2012)
½

An ingenious documentary that is as thought-provoking as it is inconceivable in its story. The effect of the subject matter is greatly enhanced through the engaging contrast of two separate viewpoints. When a young 13-year old goes missing in Texas the whole family is gradually losing faith that they'll see him alive again. However, on one seemingly miraculous day three years later, a mysterious teenager is found in a deserted phone-booth in Linares, Spain. All points prove that he just might be the long-lost American (even when we immediately know that he is not). What's more surprising - given his posture, totally different face, eyes, and French accent - his Texan relatives seem to be convinced that he is definitely one of their own. Is it just a matter of faith and fake anticipation, or is it a suspenseful intrigue that is supposed to cover up a much bigger, horrible secret? Why should anyone trust a stranger and bring him home, without getting all the facts right? After a while FBI and a lone private investigator are on the case, trying to find out what's really happened and what made the family believe that a 23-year old Frenchman is an American citizen of flesh and bones. It's an astonishing realization that a meticulous impostor was able to trick so many people into believing that he is someone else, stealing the identity and finally beginning the live out the precious American Dream. With a most exciting turn of events, The Imposter starts to shock even further, uncovering all the repellent aspects of the perturbed human behavior. Through its insightful interviews with both the missing boy's family members and the fraud himself, the movie develops a whole new level in the documentary-making scene, brining all that's really offensive and ridiculous at the same time. With its fantastically distressing pace, It's a thrill-ride that no one should omit.

The Bird People in China

One of the most underrated movies directed by Takashi Miike. It's a poetic art-house production, which focuses on the most covert aspects of human psyche, evaluating the dream-like realm of our minds. A Tokyo-based salaryman is sent to the most remote place in China (where no information goes in or goes out) on a mysterious mission to follow a precious Jade jewell trail. Along with him comes a fierce yakuza enforcer. While the two men arrive in a strange village, they discover more than they really bargained for. It's an adventure of the most inscrutable kind, showing how the unknown can change the way we perceive our world. With a contemplative storyline, mesmerizing imagery, sombre sense of humor, and a most haunting song ever, The Bird People in China comes as a very strong position in Takashi Miike's directorial career, and as a perfectly satisfying exploration of the human emotions.

In Another Country
½

It's a melancholic ode to the beautiful Korean landscapes and their distinct picturesque value. Isabelle Huppert plays three different French women in three separate yet perfectly similar segments about loneliness, love, desires, all surrounded by a greatly heartwarming feel. With its proper humorist approach to the subject of separation in a far-flung place, In Another Country plays a charming and valuable role in the genre, giving an alternative look at the possibilities of a rom-com. It's a lightweight entertainment experience, enhanced by some joyful and likable characters, and the meditative ambiance, which brings all that's best about traveling. Sang-soo Hong treats the subject matter with utmost precision, and shows his skills in developing every segment with a whole new light-hearted touch.

End of Watch
End of Watch(2012)

Fast-paced, exciting, intense movie that gives a fresh insight into the cop-films genre. With magnetic performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, End of Watch brings all that's best from the gun-driven, car-chasing movies about tough policemen working the street day and night. The spectacular, innovative camerawork places the audience right in the middle of the thrilling action. With unscrupulous attention to real-life violence, the movie's atmosphere intensifies with every minute. There is a bunch of nice, adequately interwoven romantic scenes. Undeniably, the energy beaming from the two main characters is hypnotizing, both when they're fighting the bad guys and when they're driving around in the car telling heavy jokes and swearing like hell. End of Watch has some minor flaws in the storytelling department, but with the amazing, satisfying entertainment value there is really nothing that can't be said against its energy. Well, only the typically Hollywood ending may be a bit irritating.

Blancanieves
Blancanieves(2013)

Great re-imagination of the Hollywood-favorite tale of a young girl named Snow White. It's a perfectly convincing homage to the Silent Era, with an engaging and laughable story, genuine and right-on-spot characters, and the fantastic Spanish feel that permeates the movie's set pieces. Blancanieves tales the story of a modern Snow White with utmost care, and attention to details, giving the viewer a non-stoping exhilarating roller coaster of great scenes, which merge beautifully up to the point of the fantastic bull-fighting climax. The film is definitely more entertaining and more convincing than Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman combined.

Grassroots
Grassroots(2012)
½

Grassroots presents an exhilarating story about a few dudes trying to make one of their own a valuable member of the Seattle City Council. With a rather silly campaign, which only promotes the quiet and ecologically-valid monorail, Grant Cogswell decides that he must defeat a long-time Councilman, who, in his opinion, is only making Seattle worse every day. With a bit of romance, some adequate situational jokes, and insightful look at the grassroots movement, the film isn't as bad as some people might claim. The only thing which really bugged me was the fact that the main character and political contender, given his attitude and behavioral tentativeness, was truly nerve-racking and not very likable. And still, the 'power to the people' approach makes the movie a showcase of too-cool-to-be-true guys delivering a rather unbelievable political farce.

Foreign Correspondent

A serious Hitchcock gem, which uncovers the controversial theme of Nazi conspirators during World War II, and does it with the most exquisite visual quality. The story is well-written, and doesn't fail to astound with it seriousness and very engaging dialogue-driven sequences. Joel McRea gives his most spectacular performance as the American journalist, who takes the job as a foreign correspondent in Europe and is soon on a trail of perfectly dangerous criminal, who are always one step ahead of their peace-loving enemies. It's an unforgettable showcase of some of the most magnificent set pieces in the Golden Era of Hollywood. From the streets of London, thorough tranquil countrysides and windmills, to intense in-flight scenes, the movie's eye-popping visuals will be forever remembered as one of the Hitchock's finest. It's amusing, interesting, thrilling - as any great suspense film should be.

Paris Manhattan
½

It's a rather silly whimsical tale that rom-com fanatics will probably admire, and die-hard Woody Allen fans will neglect. Paris Manhattan tries to restore the 80's-Allen charm, but ultimately fails to draw the viewers attention. With some cheap tricks, like adding some of the memorable quotes from the famous director's films, it doesn't achieve a respectable comedic level, and becomes to derivative to be laughable. The characters are at least nerve-racking, and their affairs become ridiculous after only a few minutes. The subtle French feel is the only thing that may actually be accounted for as a plus. It's a good movie for a rainy day on the couch, but nothing more really.

Fallen Angel
Fallen Angel(1945)
½

A melodrama of the most noir-ish kind. Fallen Angel astounds with its accurate black-and-white cinematography and tense atmosphere, as the audience experiences the adventures of a lonely, sleazy con man who comes to a seemingly quiet town and gets more than he bargained for. Through a pathological threesome with two beautiful ladies (one to love, one to get money from) he plunges deeper and deeper into the abyss of murder and treason. Through its pleasurable plot twists, Fallen Angel arouses the curiosity of the viewer and judges the deceitful antagonists of the film with a most villainous care.

Mul-go-gi (A Fish)
½

Chaotic and incomprehensible in its narrative technique, A Fish loses its sense of mystery and suspense with every following minute. It becomes bitter and rather indigestible due to the prolonged scenes of nothingness. Also, mixing the main storyline with a silly and ridiculous tale about two fishermen does't really beautify the experience of watching this movie, but rather brutalizes its core substance. Even though it may be evaluated as a whole-hearted movie about the course of life and its inevitable ending, A Fish presents all the mind-bending aspect of its highly philosophical deepness with lack of interest. The characters take a ride into their own convoluted minds and discover that looks might sometimes be tricky, and in the end nothing is what it seemed to be at first.

The Sessions
The Sessions(2012)
½

It's a tour de force of acting for John Hawkes. He is finally able to show his true skills and does it with the most amusing and heartwarming way possible. Playing a man confined to an iron lung since he was a child, Mr. Hawkes presents a perfectly optimistic vision of a paralyzed man who, at the age 38, decides that he needs to finally lose his virginity. Genuinely laughable and relaxing, The Sessions shows a sex-infused journey that never stops to amaze with its accurate comedic sensibility and some arguably serious sequences. It's a very bold movie, with some graphic sexual scenes (a round of applause for Helen Hunt) and witty dialogues. A very intimate look on a fragile man and his deepest fears, which are finally overpowered with the help of an enthusiastic sex therapist and a highly adorable priest. One of the most refreshing comedies of the year.

Samsara
Samsara(2012)
½

It's all about the visuals, really. If you've seen most of the places shown in the film you probably already know what to expect. If you didn't, then that's your chance to discover all of the world's wonder, in this spellbinding odyssey of a film. Without a visible narration, and mostly without any ostentatious subtexts (like the one about animal cruelty), Samsara ponders on a difficult subject of life and death, and the circle of life that connects us to the world every day. It presents an insightful look on the aspect of daily routines all around the globe, juxtaposing various vultures and social groups just to evaluate the notion of being human itself. Samsara is pitch-perfect in its visuals, although the amount of perfectly stunning shots was too low for my taste. However, everyone will experience it differently, so it's a recommended movie for sure.

Ace Attorney
Ace Attorney(2012)

It perfectly reflects the feel from the video games, and amuses with its silly humor and mind-bending, totally random scenes of utter chaos. Ace Attorney's mysterious cases are actually pretty obvious to be figured out after a few minutes, yet they still bring a lot of fun. With likable, weird characters, fantastic costumes, smashing special effects, and memorable intensity attached to the courtroom sequences, Ace Attorney is one of the most successful game adaptations ever.

The Shop Around the Corner

With a subtle melancholic overtone, The Shop Around the Corner amuses with its perfectly enchanting and fetching atmosphere. It's a different kind of a love story, one that seems fresh and up-to-date even nowadays. A man and a woman work at the same gift-shop, arguing and fighting all the time. However, unknowingly, they're quickly falling in love with each other through the post. As laughable as it might sound, they're sending each other love letters through their pen-pal connection and, at the same time, assaulting each other verbally every day in the real-life. It's a romantic comedy of mistakes and hidden feelings, enhanced by the fantastic supporting cast, which adds a few engaging subplots to the whole. It's got this totally adorable feel, that will later be repeated in another marvelous comedies with James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan in the lead. A classic in its genre.

The Glass Key

A sharp and engaging tale about political corruption, and a grizzly murder case somewhere in the middle. Brilliant performances by the whole cast greatly strengthen the experience. The Glass Key proves to have its deeply suspenseful moments, a truly hypnotizing black-and-white cinematography and sharp dialogues. It's a pitch-perfect depiction of the criminal underworld, which has its ties to the political sphere, and the demented people that can't distinguish between good and bad until a crime is committed.

The Verdict
The Verdict(1946)

A greatly intriguing mystery tale, strengthened by Sydney Greenstreet's and Peter Lorre's fantastic performances, as the sneaky couple of friends that want to outsmart an unfriendly Scotland Yard chief. It's undoubtedly a fascinating directorial debut of Don Siegel, marking his entry into the film noir genre. With a profound macabre touch and greatly distressing ambiance, The Verdict proves to show a somehow mind-bending case of a perfect murder, where the details are too vague and the suspect are too doubtful at some point. Apart from being a gripping picture, it's also a fine statement against circumstantial evidence and death sentence.

Killer's Kiss
½

Stanley Kubrick's early gem is a minimalistic feature that grasps the viewer's attention through its tense, suspenseful and moody storyline. Killer Kiss offers rich visuals in the specific film noir style, envisioning a bigger result with only little additions. It's a train-wreck of a story, where mostly sinister things happen, people die and love is unfulfilled. With little dialogues, it possesses a neat aura that is able to engage the viewer. Great chase scene, and a most climatic battle in the finale, perfectly blended with the psychotically-looking mannequins.

Eyes Without a Face

Disturbing, distressing, and utterly abhorrent in its core material, Eyes Without a Face comes as a rather distinct mediation on the possibilities of hazardous surgical operations. Moreover, it's also an insightful look at one father's obsession and his unscrupulous attempts at reviving his only daughter, through the delicate process of face transplantation. Although it possesses a depressing, sombre atmosphere, its visual side corresponds to a subtle poetic feel attach to the film. Eyes Without a Face is definitely not a horror movie as some may claim, but it's a thrilling encounter with the psychological side of the filmmaking scene. Still, there is one scene that may disgust the audience greatly. Goeroges Franju created a motion picture that will have a huge influence on the genre films in the future.

Hokuto no ken (Fist of the North Star)

Although the animation looks rough and is rather meager, and the english dub leaves a lot to be desired, Fist of the North Star attracts with its fascinating storyline about a post-apocalyptic universe, where people survive on the basis of the old-fashioned 'survival of the fittest' mode. The film shows a well-drafted adventure of a man named Kenshiro, as he travels through the destroyed Earth in search for his beloved fiancee, seeking both revenge and redemption. Along the road he meets a lot of thugs, most of them being his relatives or former friends. Fighting his way through, he becomes closer to gaining what's been longing for all along. Although the film's graphic violence and many brutal scenes might not appeal to the younger audience, it's an animated hit that most of the film geeks should see at least once.

Summer Wars (Sama Wozu)

Action-packed, beautiful and detailed in its animation, Summer Wars comes as one of the strongest position in the new wave of anime movies. Through a successful blend of real-life reality and sci-fi virtual reality it mixes mind-bending video game sequences with heartfelt story of one's family struggle to cope with a huge loss, and ultimately, their fight to save the whole humanity. Natsuki, a young math genius is dragged into a Oz-universve intrigue, and with the help of his lovely crush, and her whole crazy relatives, he tries to stop a AI program that wants to destroy both the in-game world and the the Earth itself. Amusing, cheerful, and fresh, Summer Wars is a sure must-see in the genre.

From Up On Poppy Hill
½

Heartfelt and enchanting, From Up On Poppy Hill is a serious upgrade from the unsuccessful Tales from Earthsea by Goro Miyazaki. Although the story lacks depth sometimes, and seems to be a bit underdeveloped in its love theme, it still is an engaging anime with a proper nostalgic feel. The animation is, as always in the movies produced by Studio Ghibli, top-notch. Al in all, it's definitely a sweet and beautiful, yet moving, story for the whole family.

Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur le pianiste)

Minimalistic in its essence, Shoot the Piano Player shows that it's undeniably influenced by the American film noir wave. A former piano prodigy runs away from the past and hides in a small-time bar under the name Charlie Kohler. However, his seemingly peaceful life is about to turn upside down, because of a sudden visit from his crooked brother. People start to die, mysteries behind to unravel, love is exhibited on many fronts, and Edouard (that's his real name) is accidentally dragged into the whole criminal intrigue. Francois Truffaut created a masterpiece, with its involving gangster-like appeal, perfectly catchy tunes in the background, a likable leading man, and seductive women appearing all around. The plot is very well-paced and well-written, and doesn't stop to absorb one's attention until the very end.

Kiss of Death

Although slow at the beginning, Kiss of Death fast-paced thrilling experience in the second and third acts makes up for it. It's a rather comfortless story of a small-time crook named Nick Bianco, who one day decides to squeal on his former associates in order to get out of jail and live a peaceful life with his family. However, one of those guys from joint, also involved in some criminal activity, gets out without a sentence and starts to mess with Bianco's mind, promising forthcoming revenge. It's a riveting tale of second chances, making up for the old times, and sacrificing one's own good for the sake of the dearly beloved. Perfectly thrilling, intense, and moody, Kiss of Death proves to have the guts to be both a refreshing moralizing tale and a somber noir film. One of Victor Mature's best performances ever.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
½

Fritz Lang's bold statement against capital punishment. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt shows a rather suspenseful, and thought-provoking story about a writer, who willingly decides to become a murder suspect, in order to show how circumstantial evidence might actually lead to innocent people being punished. With some pretty surprising twist, sombre noir atmosphere, absorbing dialogues, and decent courtroom scenes, this last movie directed by Fritz Lang in America marks his most successful filmmaking period.

The Set-Up
The Set-Up(1949)
½

Main quality of The Set-Up is in its long, thrilling, energetic, and brutal boxing scene. Robert Ryan shows he has guts, in this noir-ish piece that combines ruthless sport with criminal operations. The washed-up boxer tries to prove to himself, to his deceitful trainer, and to his lovely wife, that at 35 years he still has the strength and stamina to beat a younger guy. Apart from its intense appeal, The Set-Up is also a great insight into the boxing cloakroom, with a close look at the fighters' weaknesses and pain.

Sanatorium pod Klepsydra (The Hour-Glass Sanatorium) (The Sandglass)
½

This is a beautiful, surrealistic meditation on the notion of time and its uncontrollable, unavoidable flow. The Hour-Glass Sanatorium shows its true dream-like nature in the vivid imagery, spectacular sets, and thought-provoking dialogues. The mind-bending narrative shows Joseph's mystical journey into the deepest parts of a curious mind, evaluating the most confusing aspects of the human psyche on the way. You don't have to understand all of what's happening in the movie, you just have to feel its addictive, eerie aura and reflect on its psychological, metaphysical divagations. Wojciech Has created an eye-opening film, which will always be remembered as a haunting tale about how we relate to the past, and how this relation shapes our future.

Jungfrukšllan (The Virgin Spring)
½

The Virgin Spring is definitely one of the most haunting, and one of the most symbolic of all of Bergman's films. It aspires to be a spiritual journey into the deepest parts of our minds, as it makes the audience question the actions shown in the movie, but it doesn't give any answers itself. This spellbinding creation touches many important and controversial topics, such as selfishness, vengeance, superfluous brutality, sexual assault, and many notions connected with various religion (Paganism, Norse Mythology etc.). It's a deeply disquieting film, which tells a story about a unimaginably beautiful girl, who one day embarks on a journey to the church in order to light the Virgin candles. However, she never makes hit, because of two ruthless thugs, who rape and murder her in front of their young brother. And it's only the beginning. The whole shocking event makes way for a disturbing aftermath, as the killers unknowingly take shelter in the girl's parents' house. When the loving father realizes, who his guests really are, he goes berserk and finishes them off ruthlessly one after another. Even though it's human to say that killing is never the answer, some may argue whether his decision to be the judge and the executioner is justifiable or not. Fantastically paced and compellingly narrated, The Virgin Diaries proves to be a moralizing tale of the most brutal, and at the same time, most powerful kind, showing its purifying nature in the highly-aesthetic visuals.

Breathless
Breathless(1961)

A film that redefined the whole notion of making and creating moving images. Breathless gave a totally fresh feel to the European cinema, starting the chic nouvelle vague period in France. Its atypical, chaotic way of editing, distinct narrative form, and the easiness seen in mixing bourgeois matters with regular pop culture attributes completely stunned, and astounded the audience. It beams with newfound energy that inspired more and more artists all over the world. It's not the story or the character that matters, but the style, the elegance, the offbeat sensations and the free-thinking qualities found in the smooth dialogues.

The Saragossa Manuscript

The Saragossa Manuscript may undoubtedly be called one of the greatest epics in the history of European cinema. It surrealistic fantasy-like substance, so wonderfully plotted into its genius story-within-a-story narrative, shows the life and adventures of a lonely soldier bound for Madrid, who one night stops at a deserted inn and meets two lovely Arabian girls. After a night spend with them, everything changes in his life, as he embarks a journey into the deepest corners of his own mind, and to the minds of the people he runs across close to the cursed mountains, where demons are supposed to appear and haunt all the passers-by. Every person, which Alfons meets, has a story to share, more or less humorous and intriguing, but curiously enlightening. Certainly, this is a narrative masterpiece, a film that is as groundbreaking as it is instructive. Even though there are so many tales told one after another, the viewer doesn't lost track of all the events. Later on, everything that's happened actually merges in an utmost unexpected way. The stellar cast, made up of Poland's greatest post-war actors, only enhances the whole amazingly eerie and dream-like experience. Full of symbolism and allusions, it grips you and doesn't let go for those three remarkable hours. Definitely worth a watch.

Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l'ťchafaud)
½

A very chilling and suspenseful new wave thriller, which shows how a seemingly perfect murder might go berserk because of a single little mistake. With its soothing soundtrack performed by Louie Armstrong, and with its elegant cinematography made by Henri Deca√ę, Elevator to the Gallows flows wonderfully as a very successful neo noir. It has a distressing claustrophobic feel given by the intertwining elevator scenes, where the leading man got trapped after he committed a murder. Moreover, there is a devilish femme fatale strolling around the beautiful nightly Paris looking for her lover, and two reckless youngsters, who unintentionally drag themselves into the whole intrigue. Although the theme is classic, it doesn't seem derivative and looks surprisingly fresh in the French surroundings.

Popiůl i diament (Ashes and Diamonds)

Bering one of the most turbulent anti-war movies in Polish history, Ashes and Diamonds have its share of the astounding melancholic glory. It's a realistic tale about the decisions that we make, the way the shape our lives, and about the actions that we must do, even though they don't always agree with our beliefs. Through the story of Maciek, a young partizan on a mission to kill a high-ranked communist, Wajda wanted to announce that sometimes killing evil, powerful people might not be the way to succeed. Maciek has to follow orders, but after one horrible accident two innocent people die, and he suddenly starts to change his mind. Moreover, after a brief affair with a pretty bartender girl Krystyna, he seems to hesitate even more. Maciek is under a huge pressure from his superiors, and even though his emotions guide him in another direction, he finally decides to pull the trigger and end the whole farce.
Stupendously patriotic and hearth-warming, Ashes and Diamonds marks Cybulski's most memorable performance. His i-don't-care way of acting and alluring bravura, compared to those of James Dean, show an actor who isn't afraid to make a statement about his skills.

Blackmail
Blackmail(1929)
½

Hitchock's indisputably great transition between the silent and the sound eras, with this rather silly murder story. What it lacks in excitement and suspense, it makes up for in technical innovations. The story shows a woman named Alice killing a painter who tried to rape her. After a brief investigation, her Scotland Yard boyfriend Frank realizes that's her who killed the man. All would've been it it weren't for a mysterious blackmailer suddenly showing up in Alice's shop. Then, suddenly, the tables turn and the blackmailer becomes, so to say, blackmailed. The climatic chase scene in The British Museum proves to be a preview of his standard stupendous finales in well-known spaces. Hitchcock's adequate beginning of a fantastic career.

Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen)
½

The most haunting of all of Bergman's films. While it's not as greatly appreciated as his other hit titles, Hour of the Wolf proves to have an overpowering energy, which allows the film's core substance to reflect on the connexion between mental illness and demons that haunt us within. Through the story utterly surreal about Johan, a painter possessed by evil illusions, Bergman wanted to make the viewer realize what it really means to be a self-centered artistic persona in the ever-changing world. Johan isn't able to sleep. While awake, he imagines all the strange and despicable people, who he later introduces as demons to his frightened wife. She, on the other hand, contemplates on one specific possibility: when two people love each other very much, they can actually share the same dreams and thoughts, merging their deepest fears and needs, ultimately leading for the two to become a unified entity. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann give truly believable and positively eerie performances, as the pair bound for a forthcoming psychological downfall. The film creates a very nightmarish and sombre atmosphere, assaulting the viewer with perfectly horrifying and distressing images. Even though Hour of the Wolf won't necessarily attract a broader audience, it's still a fantastic and refreshing twist to an exemplary gothic horror tale.

Salto (Jump)
Salto (Jump)(1965)

Blending realism with surrealism, Salto shows how one man's arrival at a peaceful town changes the whole community's attitude towards each other and life itself. Zbigniew Cybulski plays a mysterious loner, who claims that he's been in the village before, yet no one seems to know him. Telling different stories about his life, he comes as a frightened and incomprehensible person. Clever and thought-provoking dialogues showcase the movie's ability to contemplate about life-and-death issues and the individualism that tears us from the entirety.

50/50
50/50(2011)

Based on a true story, 50/50 comes as a surprisingly fit combination of sorrowful cancer-related drama and vigorous, clever comedy. Joseph Gordon-Levitt emerges from the screen as a brave, young man who is diagnosed with a cancer. His battle to overcome the tumor proves to be an eye-opening experience, which shows who his true friends are. Adam goes through a difficult transformation, very believably depicted by the leading actor. Touching, yet laughable, serious, yet quirky, 50/50 breaks a barrier between what can be and what can't be shown in a successful comedy.

The Gunfighter

Very nostalgic take on the life and death of a famous gunslinger, and his hard struggle to reunite with his family. Johnny Ringo's undisputed fame proves to be his own curse, as wherever he goes he meets unwanted trouble. Even though he thought over his whole career as a notorious shooter and decided to leave the past behind, he has to go through one last ordeal in order to be freed from it all. Gregory Peck and Milliard Mitchell give great performances.

Diabolique (Les Diaboliques)
½

The overpowering suspense in Diabolique is timeless. Its one of the most effective mystery thrillers in the genre. The dark and macabre plot keeps you wanting for more all the time, and keeps you enveloped in the thorough psychological battle of the two female characters. It shows how a seemingly faultless murder plot goes awry, just to reach its climax with the most unbearable and shocking ending.

A History of Violence
½

Flawless direction and engaging script make A History of Violence a truly intriguing film about the notion of violence in the contemporary society. Through its brutal and blood-infested tale it shows how the society reacts to acts of crude violence, and how different points of view are able to alter the perception of brutality. Through the history of a seemingly peaceful and care-taking man named Tom, it proves that sometimes the truth lies deep beneath the surface, and when the right time comes, it shows its true, shocking self. Full of climatic music, thrilling scenes, burning love it also showcases Mortensen's unrestrained acting skills.

Blind Chance (Przypadek)

Blind Chance proves to be a enlightening, in-depth analysis of determinism and its basic assumptions. Without a doubt, it makes the viewer think about the possibilities of fate guiding our lives, and whether our choices are actually ours or just blind chances, on which we don't really have any influence. Witek is a medical student who just lost his father. After speaking with him for the last time, he decides to leave Lodz and move to Warsaw. Three different variations appear on screen, showing how Witek's action (catching the train, not catching it) determine his future. Very engaging, clever, profound, with a great performance by young Boguslaw Linda. Kieslowski shows his indisputable talent, by showing the psychological evaluation of a man in correspondence to broader metaphysical divagations.

Raw Deal
Raw Deal(1948)

A tough and unsentimental guy named Joe takes the rap for a mysterious gangster Ricky, who now owes him 50 thousand dollars. Guided by revenge-thoughts he goes on a hunt for his former partner. Loved by two totally different women, he needs to make a decision before it's too late for emotions. This noir piece shows its true nature through the clever dialogues, a well-written and compelling story, unpredictable photography and a climatic and unsettling finale.

Suddenly
Suddenly(1954)

Even though Suddenly has some sudden moments of greatness, it's rather a tedious attempt at making a thrilling noir film. The storyline is provocative and invites to a debate about president assassinations plot that actually did work out (Tod Shaw at one point claims: it never worked out and it won't now). Frank Sinatra in his probably most outstanding performance ever, as the impulsive thug who cares only about money.

Vinci
Vinci(2004)
½

Juliusz Machulski comes back with yet another satisfying crime movie, which tells a story of a very complex heist plan, and the risky actions that all of the participants have to go through. The objective is to steal a valuable painting by Da Vinci (hence the title). However, as it's often proved in those sort of movies, something goes wrong and the team is left with a huge trouble on their hands. Great cast, intriguing dialogues, and a well-written script.

The Wedding (Wesele)

Based on one of the most famous plays by Stanislaw Wyspianski, The Wedding follows events at the titular feast. There, reality merges with fantasy, just to create a mysterious aura surrounding the whole party. Some of the guests have strange visions, others are too drunk to even respond. It's a mythical film, which expresses the author's deep patriotism and hatred towards the three invaders - Prussia, Austria, Russia. Its substance is full of ambiguous messages, dialogues that are full of passion and vigor, and the whole is perfectly strengthened by a stellar cast.

Sami Swoi
Sami Swoi(1967)

A cult comedy that makes you laugh every time you see it. It shows a typical Polish countryside, and two inimical families who have to cope with many problems of their own doing. It has many fantastic one-liners, many perfectly laughable scenes, in which the two clans play pranks on each other at one time, and reconcile at the other. The oldest members can't stand their neighbors, while the youngest ones easily fall in love. A great character-driven comedy.

Kiler
Kiler(1997)
½

A cult Polish gangster comedy, with a very catchy soundtrack. A common taxicab driver transforms himself into a ruthless killer in a very laughable case of mistaken identity. At first he is frightened, but after some time he gains access to the criminal underworld and start to take great pleasure in all the luxury and girls and booze etc. However, everything will soon change, after an illicit romance takes place and local mafia starts to tread on his heels...

Seksmisja (Sexmission)

Great sci-fi comedy from one of the most talented Polish directors. With a subtle sexual overtone, it shows how two men have to cope in a world full of women. This female-infested place might sound like a paradise, but beneath its visual substance it's rather a psychological torment. Great Jerzy Stuhr in a most laughable role, memorable one-liners, and a most surprising ending.

Kingsajz
Kingsajz(1987)

It's a mildly amusing Polish comedy about a fantasy little world called Szuflandia and about one of its dwarf citizens, who by chance is turned into a real-life man. He embarks on a journey in the new place, realizing what actually was missing in his old society - women. And every man needs them, as it seems. Some laughs, fine acting, but definitely Kingsajz isn't as good as Sexmission.

E=MC
E=MC(2003)

Rude, crude and violent, E=mc2 is a comedy that not many people will find attractive. With its totally dumb plot and one-dimensional characters this movie doesn't have a purpose. It just shows how thugs play around with other thugs and their silly girls.

The Lineup
The Lineup(1958)

Violent, exciting, and very intense in its climax, The Lineup shows its true guts through the smooth and puzzling dialogues and well-drafted script. A smuggling scheme gone awry, in which one psychopathic man and his sophisticated mentor try to retrieve a huge amount of heroine from casual travelers. Don Siegel once again shows his steady hand and proves to have a talent for very dramatic noir pieces.

The Letter
The Letter(1940)
½

Without Betty Devis' spellbinding performance, The Letter would have probably ended up as a below-average noir piece. In all its horrifying glory, the story presented here leaves a lot to be desired. It's very easy and not necessarily engaging. While the acting is steadfast and the cinematography is perfectly moody, this melodrama proves to be just a little haunting tale about love and betrayal.

The Convert
The Convert(1994)
½

Pretty touching and grievous tragicomedy about an innocent man, who found himself arrested for a bit of patriotism that arose in his heart, right after he saw a huge group of unionists marching and singing passionate songs about Polish pride. Tortured and insulted, he went through a nightmare in one of the country's prison. Still, this proves to be just a beginning of his bitter story. A well-received movie, which was surprisingly made by an accident, when the director had a break during the shooting of his other feature.

The Childhood Of Icarus (L'enfance D'icare)

Guillaume Depardieu's last movie. It explores the theme of risky genetic engineering, in times when making a man virtually immortal through regeneration may prove scientifically possible. The Childhood of Icarus asks about the importance of life and death, but doesn't show the guts to give any answers. While the essence of its message might be generally significant, the way in which Alex Iordachescu presents this thought-provoking subject leaves something to be desired. Still, Depardieu gives an emotional and sometimes excruciating performance as a man, who chooses to be a guinea pig for the experiment that was doomed to failure from the very beginning.

A Short Film About Love
½

This crafty movie that explores the essence of the human condition, presents a haunting tale about voyeurism and downfall of love in general. A Short Film About Love Olaf Lubaszenko as a 19-year old postal worker Tomek and Grazyna Szapolowska as 30-something artist. His daily life constists of working, and his nightly life concentrates on spying on the sexually active next-block neighbor. His huge obsession leads him to a confrontation with Magda, when he angrily that he in fact is a peeping Tom and gets pleasure in watching her through the telescope. After a sad little accident and Tomek's sudden suicide attempt, the situation starts to take a completely different turn...
Deeply emotional, and utterly morose A Short Film About Love proves to have a manipulative power, in all its tranquil nature.

A Royal Affair

Historically relevant, A Royal Affair shows its true period-drama nature in the very intelligent and detailed storyline, steadfast and conspicuous acting, and, most of all, sumptuous and glorious interiors, which actually enhance the visual experience significantly. The film expressively reminds the world once again about the illicit affair between Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander), the beautiful Queen of Denmark, and the enlightened, German-born physician named Johann Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen). In all its courtly essence, A Royal Affair presents this 18th century tale with utmost thoroughness, adding huge amounts of tension to its naturalistic substance with every following minute. While it‚(TM)s mostly recognized for the meaningful romantic overtone, this film presents much more than that, even though the star-crossed lovers prove to have the biggest impact on the unexpected turn of events.

It starts very similarly to Sofia Coppola‚(TM)s Marie Antoinette, with a young princess bound to marry a king she doesn‚(TM)t even know, through the old-fashioned way of a royal transaction. Right after the Queen finally sets her lovely eyes on the mysterious husband-to-be one thing is certain ‚" there is something wrong with his majestic appearance. Christian VII (Mikkel Boe F√łlsgaard) giggles nervously, and is more interested in greeting his own dog than the woman, with whom he will probably (but not likely) spend the rest of his palace life. Right after the both absolutely awkward and truly humorous announcement of King‚(TM)s nightly visit in his wife‚(TM)s bedroom, and Caroline‚(TM)s anxiously awaited pregnancy, it becomes perfectly clear that the pair won‚(TM)t present itself in the expected, regal way. Those two characters don‚(TM)t even intend to give the appearance of being fully in love with each other. The king wanders angrily around the luxurious chambers making fun of everyone, not knowing that he ostentatiously presents all of his biggest weaknesses. At the same time, the Queen spends most of her time with the newborn baby. When Christian proclaims his forthcoming trip around Europe nobody realizes that big and sudden changes are about to happen. During the journey King‚(TM)s mental illness becomes worse. He needs a private doctor and he needs him quick. This is the moment when Johan Struensee first shows his handsome face. Apart from his unquestionable medical abilities, he proves to be a great admirer of the Enlightenment movement‚(TM)s greatest thinkers and their innovative works, and that‚(TM)s what makes him an ideal partner for the King. After returning to the country, their companionship grows stronger every day. Unfortunately, so does Johan‚(TM)s affection towards Queen‚(TM)s awe-inspiring persona. After a while, it becomes awfully obvious that they won‚(TM)t be able to suppress their deepest urges and a risky romance will soon take place, one that might actually begin a new era in the history of Denmark. Scheming behind the back of the wig-wearing, ignorant council, Caroline and Struensee use the gullible King for the sake of a greater good ‚" they create many new and reformative laws, and using Christian‚(TM)s powerful, yet unstable hand they end up improving the whole land and its citizens‚(TM) life, rushing Denmark towards the desired Enlightenment.

As history so often shows, when there is the optimistic, hard-working side there must also be the pessimistic, mischievous one. In A Royal Affair, it takes the form of an ominous, recalcitrant aristocrat named Ove H√łegh-Guldberg (David Dencik). Conspiring along with Christian‚(TM)s stepmother Juliane Marie (Trine Dyrholm) he comes up with a perfect plan to get rid of the unwanted German and, at the same time, bring back Denmark‚(TM)s old ‚~glory‚(TM). Revealing the shocking truth about Queen being pregnant with Struensee he wreaks havoc among the society. The return of the Dark Ages is upon Denmark, and no one is able to stop this devastating process, as the King gave in to Ove‚(TM)s strong and convincing character, and, ultimately, to his own illness. Johann and Caroline are banished from the Kingdom, just to see that, sadly, their thorough plan wasn‚(TM)t actually meant to help anyone.

With its splendidly high entertainment value, A Royal Affair turns out to be a history lesson for everyone. The considerable attention to details in plot and in art design enhances the experience significantly. The costumes are pitch-perfect, the music flows adequately to the events, and the ongoing transition in the film‚(TM)s atmosphere intensifies the reception of the whole. A Royal Affair possesses a great energy, which shows its true strength in all the performances. Without offending anyone from the amazing cast, it‚(TM)s important to note that Mads Mikkelsen gave the most award-worthy performance, showing the straightforwardly persuasive impassiveness that may really convince his fans and anti-fans alike. Therefore, those irrefutable acting skills, combined with a well-written script and steady direction, make A Royal Affair one of the most memorable Danish movies of the last decade.

The Dark Knight Rises
½

Great finale to a wonderful trilogy. Nolan created the most promising adventurous of Batman ever, and did it with his fantastically ingenious style and scrupulous attention to details. An epic conclusion that isn't any less engaging than two previous titles. It's deeply intense, with memorable dialogues, beautiful soundtrack, steady cinematography, wonderful art direction, and a villain that may cause nightmares. The Dark Knight Rises will astound you, and make you cry that this brave trilogy has actually ended.

American Graffiti
½

A few years before Star Wars, George Lucas directed American Graffiti. And it was good. I mean, really good. I probably haven't seen a more realistic and engaging movie about teenagers. In comparison to most of the other teen flicks that are really nothing but a bunch of silly comedies without any deeper sense, American Graffiti actually has a point and it's put out on the table very clearly.

Because of the marvelous atmosphere and a truly superb soundtrack (so many fabulous songs played throughout, accompanied by one funky DJ's comment and jokes) I wished that I could turn back time and be a teenager in one of the American cities in the 60's era.

This coming of age tale shows the one-night journeys of a group of boys, strolling around the glistening roads of Modesto. Two of them, Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve (Ron Howard), are about to go to college back east in the morning. The first one is having some second thoughts about this big life-changing decision, while the second is really glad that he will have a chance to make a change and study someplace else. Along with John (Paul Le Mat) and Terry (Charles Martin Smith) they experience a bunch of crazy, funny and very entertaining adventures. Every one of them does something that he probably wouldn't be able to do on a totally different night of the year. This is the one occasion that lets them do whatever they feel like doing, without any regrets. All the drinking, fighting, fooling around, stealing, picking up girls, making love - it feels like there would be no tomorrow. And in that one special night some individuals can go through a sudden transition, just to realize what they truly want in the first place.

George Lucas showed, obviously not for the last time, that his directorial skills are on the highest level. Not many directors would be able to present the overall complex and very peculiar sensations that young people are going through in such a truthful manner. The viewer can reminisce about his teenage years and relate to all the issues and emotions that the characters exhibit on screen.

All of the four main actors are simply marvelous and really convincing. Richard Dreyfuss is great as a guy, who spends the whole night looking for that one pretty girl, and eventually engages in some risky pranks with a gang trio. Ron Howard as a boy, who deals with some girlfriend problems, and ultimately understands that true happiness is right in front of him. Paul Le Mat's adorable James Dean impersonation makes him look like a handsome and tough guy, with all the catchy taunts and car races. And the last, but probably the funniest and the coolest one ‚" Terry (played by the amazing Charles Martin Smith), a nerdy guy who finds out that spending an amazing night with a cute girl could be easier than he thought.

All in all, American Graffiti is a splendid teen movie that is actually both funny and serious, and presents the problems of the youth in an utmost believable way. Everyone, who ever had to go trough this troubling period in a life called 'growing up', has to see this film, as it shows that the years of fun and freedom aren't always exactly what they seem like.

Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon)
½

Probably the most important creation, which actually shaped the whole film history. Very innovative for its times, with a perfectly laughable and adventurous story. It serves as a basis for all the future science-fiction works.

A Short Film About Killing
½

With its disturbingly graphic scenes of utmost violence, A Short Film About Killing proves to be a powerful attack on the capital punishment, and killing in general. It opens with a grim image of a dead rat lying in the sewers, and a strangled cat hanging lifelessly. The title appears on screen in a gory manner, and it's all accompanied by laughter of small children. The main plot depicts a story about Jacek, a young drifter in Warsaw, who performs some mildly shocking acts of roguery around town, until the unforgettable climax, in which he commits the most unscrupulous and atrocious crime of all - he kills a taxi driver with cold blood, and then steals his cab. Fast forward a couple of months, and we see how Jacek is sentenced to death by hanging in one of the Polish prisons. In all this grievous story, there is also an optimistic aspiring advocate Piotr, who passed the exam and got his job on the exact same day that Jacek murdered the irritable, yet completely innocent man. He wasn't able to defend him from the fate, and now he also pays the price, as he plunges deeper and deeper into the sorrow and horror of all the past and future events. The film was so meaningful in Poland that the authorities actually suspended capital punishment until further notice (nowadays the country's free from it). Very graphic and harrowing, A Short Film About Killing might give the viewer nightmares. Its very dark colors, mournful music, depressing atmosphere, and sorely effective message combine for a most memorable film. Krzysztof Kieslowski's striking naturalistic overtone bears a serious importance in this beastly world of ours.

Bottle Rocket

Wes Anderson's first movie surely generates a lot of laughs. This pleasurable, little comedy shows some facetious adventures of three friends, right after they decide to rob a book shop. They drive away in order to wait for the whole situation to go into oblivion. While on the run, one of them meets a true love in the figure of a motel housekeeper. After the boys run out of money they come back to their hometown, just to get drawn into another intrigue involving a heist. Wes Anderson's peculiar filmmaking style overweights the substance here, making the movie very inviting. Good start to a great career.

Rejs (A Trip Down the River)
½

While on a ship moving slowly across the Vistula river, a group of strangers follow a series of amazingly hilarious and ludicrous events. The dialogues are absurd at the least, the ongoing quiz is as grotesque as the questions asked in it. The cast did a splendid job, seeing that all the characters are perfectly comical. Sharp story flows in this vast sea of satire.

Brunet wieczorowa pora (Brunet Will Call)
½

Brunet Will Call creates a thriller-like mood, with its ludicrous story of a incidental Gypsy forecast. Following an enormous amount of fantastic nonsensical situations, it also proves to be a well-drafted commentary on the social scene in Poland. Krzysztof Kowalski is great in the lead, and all the other famous actors follow him proudly.

Poszukiwany Poszukiwana
½

Wojciech Pokora in his most memorable role. Although it caused a bit of a discussion, as he made a risky movie and played a man in drag, he created one of the funniest characters in Polish cinema history. Great gags, amusing scenes and adequately ridiculous situations. Well worth a watch.

Co Mi Zrobisz Jak Mnie Zlapiesz
½

Hilarious satire on the situation in Poland circa 1970's. While the ridiculousness might be exaggerated at times, it proves to be an intriguing and utterly laughable commentary on Polish citizens and their every-day 'adventures'.

Stranger on the Third Floor

Made on a very low budget, this short little movie is very often called the first true noir. It has a distinctly gloomy atmosphere, disturbingly nightmarish dream sequence, and claustrophobic cinematography. Peter Lorre shows his creepy charm once again. Although the story is simple, it has its moments of ambiguity.

Controlled Calls (Rozmowy kontrolowane)

A splendid social satire with utterly hilarious gags and situational jokes, and a thorough look at the absurdity of Communism in post-war Poland. Foreigners may not understand the true meaning of most scenes, yet I still recommend it to everyone.

The Darjeeling Limited
½

Although The Darjeeling Limited has the usual Wes Anderson charm and style, it's not as thoroughly entertaining as his previous movies. The characters are all genuinely likable, yet their depressing attitude doesn't necessarily do as well as it intended to. Nevertheless, the visuals of Indian landscapes are eye-popping, the direction is steady, and the irreproachable use of variant camera angles gives the movie a smooth touch. Relationship between the three main actors is believable, but the story loses its way somewhere in-between the lines.

Rushmore
Rushmore(1998)

Indisputably, one of the eeriest, the most positively ridiculous comedies of all times. With its splendidly entertaining storyline, and great performance by Jason Schwartzmann in the lead, Rushmore shows that love can make people do bizarre things. Bill Murray and his peculiar way of acting enhance the experience of watching the film. With a distinct slapstick attitude, Rushmore marks Wes Anderson's rise to glory.

The Royal Tenenbaums

As poignant as it may seem at times, this little whimsy of a comedy about one dysfunctional family's reunion brings a lot of joy through its unforgettable storyline and clever dialogues. The well-known cast gives a pleasurable show, as they al fit together perfectly and create a very specific, quaint atmosphere. It presents, in a utmost funny way, how burnt out child prodigies struggle to communicate with each other, unraveling all their hidden desires and fears. Wes Anderson's movies always have such a magical, unparalleled feel attached to them, and The Royal Tenenbaums certainly delivers it too. Recommended.

Stage Fright
Stage Fright(1950)
½

This is Hitchcock's under-appreciated little gem, which makes great use of a device called 'false retrospection'. In this story of murder and theatre, there are many allusions to the movie's title. Jane Wyman's best performance, Marlene Dietrich is superb as the self-centered, bitchy star, and Alastair Sim won me over with his charismatic and laughable act as a helpful dad. Not Hitchock's best, but definitely a film worth seeing, due to its engaging plot, black humor, splendid art direction, and thrilling finale.

On the Road
On the Road(2012)
½

After many years, and many unfruitful trials, Jack Kerouac's generation-defining semi-autobiographical novel On the Road finally got its chance to shine on the big screen. First of all, it's crucial to note that the book is not easily adaptable, and the task might be hard even for an experienced filmmaker such as Walter Salles, who directed another road-trip film The Motorcycle Diaries back in 2004. Although there may be many accusations against the uneven storyline, in the visual sense On the Road is definitely a thing of beauty. Many of the places seen through the eyes of the novel's protagonist come alive and look stunning.

Speaking about the book, it has an exceptionally rapid pace, uncommon writing style, and extremely specific way of showcasing the whole reading experience. Thus, with those unmistakable qualities, it gains momentum. In a sense, it devours the reader with its addictiveness and gloriously tempting emotional sensations. It's often said that it's not the story that really counts, rather the spellbinding and burning energy, which shouts out of the novel's pages. While the readers may not remember most of the content, they will surely recall its electrifying power.

Unfortunately, the movie's hit-and-miss plot components don't share the same effectiveness. Sal Paradise's (Sam Riley) adventitious journey isn't as appealing as it should be. There are too many longueurs and sudden, perfectly avoidable, moments of stagnancy. However, the film stays truly relevant to the memorable story presented in the novel. After his father's death, Sal meets a charismatic, handsome, rebellious, up-to-no-good guy named Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) - a perfect example of the Beat culture - and his 16 year-old, moody, and very straightforward girl Marylou (Kristen Stewart). Under the influence of Dean's turbulent, yet strangely seductive, attitude ‚" and many kids of drugs ‚" Sal decides to grab his bag, and starts a life changing adventure towards self-discovery. The story is depicted in separate fragments, which arrive in a perfect order in time, and reveal most of the journey's ups and downs. While on the road, the protagonist meets many interesting individuals, who are able to bring both joy and sorrow. There is the openly gay poet Carlo Marx (Tom Sturridge), Dean's new wife Camilla (Kirsten Dunst), a peculiar, yet intelligent 'teacher' Old Bull Lee (Viggo Mortensen), and his wife Jane (Amy Adams) among others. Indisputably, the main star of the whole show is Dean. His 'I don't care' approach makes him the heart of the party, the guru, the sex-loving egocentric, who, at the same time, is perfectly charming and inviting. He's the guy that your mother told you not to spend time with.

What's missing in the film is Jack Kerouac insightful, sprightly, and galvanizing voice. Even though the book might seem redundant at times, the way Kerouac delivers all of the spiciest details is captivating. In the movie, the events lack its entertaining ability after a while and become annoying. Still, once again, it's important to mention the eye-popping art direction and photography. Without their sensational appeal the movie wouldn't create such a magical aura around itself. To all of this, Walter Salles added a bit of his smooth, stylistic verve, which gives some of the scenes a continuous, uninterrupted flow, strengthening the overall experience. Then there is also the catchy, jazzy soundtrack ‚" without its hip mannerism the film wouldn't possess such enchanting atmosphere.

Garret Hedlund did a great job of portraying Moriarty. He steals every scene he's in, and in the end comes as the brightest star of all. While Sam Riley is rather convincing as Paradise, his character has one major flaw: he stays on the side too much, and proves to be an figure who's not to be experienced, as he should be, but just seen as one out of many other individuals. Kristen Stewart is surprisingly adequate as Marylou, because she presents herself as an actress once again, not a marionette straight out from Twilight.

On the Road probably isn't an adaptation that Jack Kerouac's dear fans had hoped for, but it still brings joy through its tale of a journey of the wildest kind. With its expressive and graphic approach to sex and drugs, and its undisputed rock & roll style, the film rides on the verge of sanity. The 'mad' people of the Beat generation got their kick out of newfound feelings and sensations and, as On the Road ultimately proves, they weren't always pleasant when in contact with reality. And even though On the Road might have some shortcomings, the way it portrays those quaint sensations is its main advantage.

House By the River

House by the River is one of those noir movies that perfectly fit into the horror genre. Its sombre atmosphere, macabre feel, use of light and shady cinematography compose a masterful amount of greatly thrilling and scary sensations. Stephen Byrne murders his maid, and then asks his brother John for help with burying the body in the nearby river. After a series of accidents, its John who's blamed for the girl's death. What's more, Stephen is perfectly ok with that and even starts to write a book about this horrifying case. Its a good brother vs. evil brother showcase of the most electrifying kind. Fritz Lang's under-appreciated work.

The Dark Mirror
½

Although a bit prejudiced and cliched in its depiction of twin sisters - evil one vs. good one - the movie still shows a great amount of suspense and tension during the thorough psychological examination, in order to find out which one of them killed a man. Olivia De Havilland did an amazing job of portraying two, completely opposite personalities, and did it so believable that you might think she actually got a twin sister also. While the mystery itself isn't really demanding, The Dark Mirror proves to be a decent noir film with an eerie atmosphere and a few perfectly moody scenes.

Sweet Smell of Success
½

Electrifying, swell, jazzy, and poignant at times - Sweet Smell of Success is a crime thriller that distingiushes itself from the crowd through its marvelous performances, catchy tunes, strong and inspired script, and great camerawork. Burt Lancaster plays J. J. Hunsecker, a self-centered, egotistic maniac who wants to destroy his sister's (Susan) relationship with an upcoming jazz star by no means necessary. Tony Curtis plays Sidney Falco, a sleazy and immoral press agent, who intends to do everything in order to get even the slightest item into J. J.'s famous column. And he finally sees his chance, when he's ordered to do the dirty job of breaking two lovebirds apart. This fantastic films shows the dark side of show business and reveals the true, shocking nature of some people, who publicly seem rather normal. Without a doubt, Sweet Smell of Success is a high achiever in the world of noir films.

The Big Combo

Purposely chilling, tense and ruthless noir that shows the old time fight between good and evil. One persistent cop named Diamond is trying to find something that will finally make him able to arrest a big-time crook and gangster Mr. Brown. After many clues, tortures, and unnecessary murders he comes across one person who might be the key to ending this seven-year long case. There is a shocking scene, when Mr Brown removes a deaf man's hearing aid and lets his goons shoot him. Very murky and sombre, The Big Combo is an A-grade noir experience.

Phantom Lady
Phantom Lady(1944)
½

When a man is convicted for a murder he didn't commit, his pretty and clever secretary goes on a hunt for the truth. Aided by an Inspector, who actually started to believe that Jack Marlow isn't the killer, she finds many clues but gets no answer until the very moody, traumatic and intense finale that will conclude the story in a game of life-and-death. Although there are some misses in the plot, it still is perfectly suspenseful and inviting. Great Ella Ranes only enhances the experience.

The Wrong Man

Excruciatingly realistic tale about an everyman, whose life starts spiraling out of control and ends up being a total wreck, because of a horrible turn of events on one seemingly normal day. Accused of a crime he didn't commit, Henry isn't able to persuade the jury and the townsfolk that he didn't rob a bank. Due to unreliable witnesses, their confessions, and bits of evidence, he is put on trial, which is too biased to end up happily. While he will never be able to recover from this traumatic events, and this occurrences will haunt him forever, the person, who suffers most is his wife. Though emotionally unstable, the impact of this nightmare puts her in a mental institution. With its somber, though tranquil at times, tone The Wrong Man is a haunting story. It gains much strength from the fact that it was excclusively shot on location, where the case took place. Henry Fonda's tour de force, and Vera Miles is so realistic in her portrayal of his wife, that it's really painful to watch at times. Lesser-known Hitchcock, but nevertheless its realism will haunt the viewer forever.

Strangers on a Train

This might actually be my favorite Hitchcockian thriller ever. With its utmost realistic and thought-provoking story Hitchcock wanted to show the world that even some of the regular folks have their moments of sheer evil. When given a chance, they're able to construct a plan so diabolical in its simplicity, that its execution may be only a matter of time and a matter of blackmailing and ferocious persuasive skills. With its drastically spellbinding noir atmosphere, and a mood so tense that it's almost distressing, Strangers on a Train shows a story so unusual, yet, surprisingly, so believable in its deep horror that it makes the viewer contemplate about its purpose and how he/she would react, drawn into a deadly intrigue of the most horrible kind. Farley Granger is stupendous and the loathsome, but perfectly adequate man, whose murderous plan seems to give him so much fun. Robert Walker is great as the man, who is unwittingly placed in a bizarre situation, without even a chance of turning back. With is well-written script, beautiful visual sets, memorable scenes (the killing and close-up of the glasses), and Hitchcock's most precise direction, Stranger on a Train marks another milestone in the Master's career.

The Naked City

Although narration in films doesn't seem necessarily appealing, in The Naked City it works surprisingly good. Some of the remarks are witty, some of them are laughable, and they all form a nice addition to this crime movie. Two policemen desperate to solve a murder case, a few suspects that don't want to cooperate with the law, and a man who hides somewhere deep in New York, the one who is responsible for killing a beautiful model, thus starting the whole complex investigation process. It's climatic, it's sombre, it's clever - and it all happens in the city that never sleeps. Very intense manhunt scene in the end only strengthens the experience. The Naked City proved to be a great inspiration for all the modern detective stories.

The Chamber
The Chamber(1996)

Although it's excruciating and purposely emotional on every level, it seems a bit too over-talked most of the time. It's not as suspenseful as most of the previous adaptations of John Grisham's novels. However, I must say that Chris O'Donnell and Gene Hackman shows outstanding acting skills in this clash of two distant generations, with their contradicting viewpoints. Don't underestimate the tearjerker finale.

Berlin Express
½

Very political, suspenseful and patriotic (and that accounts for all the countries' representatives that take part in the story) film that astounds with its fantastic, breathtaking, and at the same time devastating, photography. Its idealistic vision shows a group of strangers that unite for a greater cause - finding a kidnapped German peacemaker. While its perfectly exaggerated ending might cause you to cry, the recurrent voiceover might get on your nerves very quickly. Although its informative and weighty, it certainly downgrades the experience of watching first part of Berlin Express.

The Dark Corner

Brad Galt knows that someone is out to get him, but he isn't sure who and why. He has some ideas, yet they prove to be misleading. After he's framed for murder of an old 'friend' of his, he goes on a hunt for the man who's responsible for the whole mess. Always accompanied by his beautiful, clever and helpful secretary Kathleen he soon discovers a mystery that connects with an old art collector, obsessed with his lovely young wife. Great suspense, moody music, and top-notch performances by Mark Stevens and Lucille Ball. It's always good to see the sleazy William Bendux, this time as a guy named White Suit. Note the truly adorable reference to the Thin Man series.

The Reckless Moment

Although it lacks a uniform pace, The Reckless Moment proves to be a gritty and nightmarish noir, which tells a story of one woman's horrible discovery and a most disastrous aftermath. When her daughter's lover is found dead, Lucia Harper hides his body, as she is sure that the person, who is responsible for the murder is her own baby girl Bea. The moment when she decided to get rid of the evidence ended up as a truly reckless one. She gets blackmailed, but she isn't able to pay. Fortunately, the man who wanted to get rich through this ordeal, Donnelly, falls in love with Lucia. Soon another man will come to visit her. However this one wouldn't be as charming and persuasive as Donnelly. A moralistic melodrama with a breathtaking performance by Joan Bennett. Great script, art direction, and nightmarish feel, strengthened by the black-and-white cinematography, add up to the suspense.

Angel Face
Angel Face(1952)

Very disturbing and dire blend of a melodrama and film noir. Angel Face shows its true, psychotic face in the persona of Diane Treymayne, a wealthy, stepmother-hating 19-year old girl, who seduces an ambulance driver named Frank, and soon gets him to work for her family and live in their house. Even though he tries to get away from her abusing grasps, he is still infatuated with her affected charm. Sinking deeper and deeper for Diane's own amusement, Frank soon is dragged into one hell of a ride. Great piano score creates a distressing mood and a perfectly sombre atmosphere in some of the movie's most important scenes. Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons did an incredible job here. Otto Preminger created yet another stupendous noir.

Criss Cross
Criss Cross(1949)

Strong and exhaustive noir about exorbitant obsession. Steve Thompson decides to join a gang of crooks on a heist that will presumably make him rich (yet that isn't what he's truly after) and let him have the love of his life back. Although the risk is really high Steve gets in on the job. However, the results turn out to be disastrous and the distressing aftermath soon shows its dark face. Perfect use of a long retrospection to explain what was going on in the protagonist's life up until the moment of the operation. Perfectly tense atmosphere and swift pace, in combination with wonderful acting by Lancaster and De Carlo, give Criss Cross a high position in the noir rank.

I Wake Up Screaming

A suspense story told in the most complex way. Until the end the viewer isn't sure who actually committed the murder of a beautiful and aspiring young model. A famous sports promoter is trying to prove his innocence, while romancing with a pretty sister of the dead girl, and having a brute and psychotic policeman on his back all the time. Sombre and mysterious, I Wake Up Screaming is a very thrilling noir that is often omitted when talking about fine titles in the category. Great B-grade cast, moody cinematography and a fast-paced script that doesn't let the viewer loose his focus.

Boomerang!
Boomerang!(1947)
½

Very watchable mix of documentary and film noir. Although a bit too slow and stagnant for the first 30 minutes or so, Boomerang! makes it worth focusing on the story, as it very quickly becomes a tense and compelling show. In the aftermath of a brutal murder, one man is being prosecuted for a crime every person in town thinks he committed. An all odds are against him. Yet one man, a young and ambitious attorney Henry, tries to prove that actually all the clues and witnesses' confessions aren't reliable and the truth is far from the public's biased opinion. Detailed and interesting look at the whole process of uncovering a mysterious murder case - and in it a very harsh interrogation scene. The over-talked courtroom scene adds up to the suspense. Not Ella Kazan's best, but worth the time.

Force of Evil

Although it's as dark and thrilling as noir always are, Force of Evil certainly stands out from crowd, due to its very poetic images and language. Then there is also the notable, highly realistic cinematography attached to it. And in its tense and brutal tale of corruption, greed, and betrayal there is a message, which shows that even the most successful and seemingly legitimate personas sometimes can't resist the tremendous forces of money and power. Some brothers want to do good, others want to do evil. John Garfield in his most amazing performance ever, and Beatrice Pearson as the beautiful and naive bookkeeper, who accidentally ended up in the middle of the huge mess.

Cry Danger
Cry Danger(1951)

Suspenseful, intriguing, and very intense noir piece about double crossing, treason, and deceitful dames. Very underrated movie that shows Dick Powell's fantastic acting skills, as he wonders through the dangerous streets of his home town, five years after he was framed for robbery, looking for the ones who framed him. The russian roulette scene will surely make your heart race.

Woman on the Run
½

A sharp tension builder, with great pace and moody cinematography. Even though it's a noir piece, it has more comedic touches than the usual movies in this genre. A man, who just witnessed a murder near his house, is trying to escape from both the law and the killer himself. Ann Sheridan does a wonderful job playing a woman, who looks for her husband, and through that experience realizes that she never really knew him. And in the end, she finally sees what he meant for her and that lost love can always be rebuild anew. Fantastic finale, with a thrill-ride of the most unpredictable kind, as when the woman is riding a roller-coaster and isn't able to get off, her husband is fighting for his life with the ruthless killer, who wants to silence him for good. A nice little B-movie worth seeing.

The Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru (The Bad Sleep Well)
½

A powerful and suspenseful take on the corruption in our modern world, its harrowing outcomes, and one man's unstoppable need for revenge. It's a homage to Shakespeare's Hamlet, and although it's not as close to the original as Throne of Blood (Macbeth) and Ran (King Lear), it surely is inspired by the timeless tale of unscrupulous rage, obsession and collapse of the moral code. There is no one better to adapt Shakespeare's works for the contemporary audience than the one and only Akira Kurosawa. The sharp pacing of the story and the ongoing build-up of the distressing tension between the main character and all his employees/enemies add numerous chills to this groundbreaking story about degradation of human nature. Its a striking portrayal of a man driven by vengeance, who cleverly plots all of the traps that are meant to break down all of the man, who were responsible for a very brutal event some time ago. Even though they live their lives happily, the past is about to haunt them. Toshiro Mifune creates a character of flesh and bones, with the anger that emerges from his eyes, and the plan that even master criminals wouldn't be able to come up with. With its noir touch and perfectly obscure aura, The Bad Sleep Well is a social evaluation of the most dreadful kind.

Whisper of the Heart (Mimi wo sumaseba) (If You Listen Closely)

A heartwarming, sweet and magical story about a young, book-loving girl and a boy with a great talent for making violins. While the summer romance keeps them together, the boy's ambitious nature is about to break them apart. Although the story is made rather for the younger female audience, it possesses some of the qualities that will surely please everybody else. As lighthearted as it is, its message serves as a cautionary tale that tells us to follow our dreams no matter what and develop our passions, in order to be happy and satisfied. Top-notch animation and very interesting character portrayals. And a cat figurine that comes as a nice addition for all the genre buffs out there.

ByŰsoku 5 senchimÍtoru (5 Centimeters per Second) (A Chain of Short Stories about Their Distance)
½

One of the most beautiful and touching anime films that I've ever seen. Its story is so rich and engrossing that it made me speechless. Huge emphasis is put on vivid imagery and moving dialogues that come along. A story about longing, separation, lost love, teenage desires, and a distance that keeps people apart no matter what. Two elementary school friends, who lost contact after their families moved to other cities, try to stay in touch, but even though they're able to see each other once, they'll never be as close as they were before. A magically realistic poem made up of four separate parts, which show the two characters in some of the happiest, and on the contrary, some of the most difficult, times of their lives. It's so well-written and so gorgeous in its animation style that it will astound not only true genre fans.

Tokyo Sonata (Tokyo Sonata)

Kiyoshi Kurosawa created one of the most irresistible, unique and realistic social dramas of our times. It's a tragicomedy that doesn't stop to impress with its harsh take on one family's struggle to overcome the overpowering crisis. When their lives start spiraling out of control, every one of the members goes on a refreshing and difficult journey into solitude and liberation. The movie doesn't explain most of its bizarre touches, but this is exactly what makes the movie so enchanting. What's disturbing is that this is what may actually happen to every one of us in this hard times. While the peacefulness and tranquility of the lives are interrupted, the ending is sure to bring some happiness into this stark and impressive drama.

The Place Promised in Our Early Days
½

While the story has some minor flaws and seems a bit overdone at some point, it still is a magnificent piece of animation. The Place Promised in Our Early Days happens in a parallel universe, and centers on three teenage friends (two boys and one girl), who spend all time together, but when they eventually grew up they went their own separate ways. Yet, because of a series of mysterious, mind-bending, complex discoveries and dream-based occurrences, they're bound to meet up again, but maybe not under such pleasurable circumstances. This is a sci-fi story combined with a coming of age tale, and a very detailed look at teenage love and the promises that keep us together or break us apart. It's crucial to point out that it's a feature debut of Makoto Shinkai, and it surely deserves recognition, as it might as well be a great contender for Studio Ghibli movies.

He Walked by Night

The main quality of the movie is shown in its detailed and very insightful look on the works of a police force, while they're trying to build up a case against one of the most intelligent criminals in the city of Los Angeles. Even though it sometimes puts too much emphasis on the side of police authorities, its main purpose is also to be a semi-documentary about a group of policemen trying to figure out who killed one of their own. The same person seems to be involved in a series of burglaries, and is known for changing his modus operandi. Some of the scenes, like the one when the killer is trying to get the bullet out of his body, or when he is anxiously awaiting the arrival of law enforcement and his dog is barking louder and louder, are surely able to combine for a very uncomfortable and sombre mood of this noir piece. A B-grade noir that won't let anyone down.

Only Yesterday

A moving and very nostalgic animation that shows one woman's journey into her memories. After working in the city, she decides she needs to change something in her life, and goes to a village where her family lives. It's a great tale about love, being young again, and finding the true purpose in life. Very detailed and colorful animation offers some pretty astounding landscape views. It remains as one of the most adult-oriented Studio Ghibli productions in the collection.

Hoshi o ou kodomo (Journey to Agartha) (Children Who Chase Lost Voices)

While it doesn't measure up to the standards of the previous works by Makoto Shinkai, it surely is beautiful in its rich imagery and heartwarming in its fable-like tale of an ancient and mystical underworld that bears a mysterious secret. The main character in the plot is a young girl, who encounters a strange and beautiful boy on one peaceful day. After that moment everything changes in her life, and she goes on a dangerous and thrilling journey, in order to discover what lies beneath and what's the main meaning of life-and-death symbolism. With a few touching scenes and a series of bizarre encounters with magical creatures, Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below presents itself as a splendid animation that merges realism with fantasy. It resembles the Studio Ghibli movies, while losing the original appeal of previous works by Shinkai.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring
½

Deeply touching, thoroughly engaging, extraordinarily artistic, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring is an odyssey for the curious mind. Spanning over a a course of several years, and presented in five rich and complex parts, it's surely able to astound with its mystical aura and engrossing attention to details. Taking place on a secluded monk monastery, floating on a lake in the forest, it shows the harsh and realistic relationship between a teacher and his student. As the time goes by and the seasons change, the viewer sees a series of adventures and encounters that the two men have. While they're mostly heartbreaking and tough to bear, the main point of the story is to show the cyclical renewal of the course of life and that every ending has its own beginning.

The Pearl of Death

A Sherlock Holmes installment that has the scariest and most disturbing villain in the series - The Creeper. Very well-written plot shows an intriguing and engrossing mystery behind a priceless pearl, which happens to be hidden in a seemingly cheap piece of porcelain. After investigating a bunch of gruesome neck-breaking murders, and a few encounters with a mysterious woman Naomi Drake, Sherlock Homes is finally able to add up all the pieces together and is on his way for an appointment with death, in the frightful persona of the aforementioned The Creeper. Well worth a watch.

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
½

A Holmes mystery, which involves a meaningless family ritual, a fantastic chessboard riddle, and a huge amount of money as the main motive for the murders. Sherlock Holmes' omnipresent wit and Dr. Watson's humorous and silly attitude make up for a pleasurable combination. The case is suspenseful until the very end, the dialogues are top-notich and the grim aura that surrounds the Musgrove estate is horrifying.

Aruitemo Aruitemo (Still Walking)
½

Very realistic tragicomedy about a family reunion that makes everyone show their true nature. With great character development, sharp and clever dialogues, and a very naturalistic mood, Still Walking proves to be a family drama that doesn't stop to surprise with its modest touch, and ongoing quarrels that might seem lighthearted at first, but nobody knows if they won't end up in total chaos. Very moving and multi-layered, this is a one-day tale about the regular Japanese family in transition. Unscrupulous and downright honest, it's a must-see for every cinephile.

Voices of a Distant Star

A sci-fi story about love, made with such subtleness and deep emotional impact that its simply breathtaking and heartbreaking at the same time. When a girl is sent on to fight aliens in deep space, she promises to stay in touch with her love, a boy, who stays on Earth at the time. However, due to non-stop movements deeper and deeper into the vast space, her messages arrive much later than they should. With perfectly adequate visual style and animations, and a bunch of truly saddening one-liners, the story shows a story about two brave teenagers, and love lost for the sake of greater good. A masterpiece from Makoto Shinkai.

Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 2(2004)

Although I personally find Spider-Man character to be the most boring of all the Marvel superheroes, the movie with Toby Maguire are rather well-directed, adequately cast, and made with wit and humor that the franchise truly needs. That's why even the second Spider-Man movie shows a strong storyline, great shots of Peter Parker 'flying' over Manhattan, and a villain that won't let you sleep at night. Funnier and darker, Spider-Man 2 is a fine continuation and a rather entertaining movie in itself.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

When it comes to great sequels, Terminator 2 is one of the finest examples of how they should be done. It simply blows you away, with the non-stop action, great special effects, a very convincing sci-fi storyline, and a performance by Schwarzenegger that actually made him a world class action hero. Its a landmark in its genre, and even though its mostly concentrating on the fast-paced sequences, there is also a refreshing look at the psychology of both humans and cyborgs. This should be the final Terminator movie for sure.

Shadow of the Thin Man
½

Staying relevant to the formula, and making no changes to its familiar tone, Shadow of the Thin Man isn't convincing enough to be anything more than just another, simple addition to the series. This time with a third detective on-baord, their son Nick Jr., the Charles gang tries to uncover a mystery behind the race track murder and its thrilling aftermath. With plenty of suspects, and some of them perfectly unlikable (Lou Lubin stands out from the bunch), there is no way of telling what will come out of the whole farce. Until, of course, the inevitable gathering and Nick's thorough explanation. A rather light-hearted entry.

The Thin Man Goes Home

A strong position in the series, mostly due to a change of the environment - from the crowded and urban New York to a small town, where nothing exceptional never happens (of course until the Charles family shows up). There is less drinking, or actually no drinking whatsoever (that's probably a good thing), and the whole mystery seems more intriguing than most of the previous ones. Than there is Nick's ongoing struggle, in order to prove to his father that he's more than just a regular detective. A fine installment, with an international intrigue that changes the locals into ruthless gun-carrying bandits.

Collateral
Collateral(2004)
½

A neo-noir that is able to astound mostly, because of Tom Cruise's perfectly violent performance as an assassin, who turn up deadlier with every destination that the cab, driven by Jamie Foxx, is bound for. The visuals are the biggest value of this film - Los Angeles at night looks simply stunning. The ongoing struggle between the two main characters is very intense, and every following scene leads up to the inevitable - a life-or-death confrontation that involves a pretty girl and a mysterious list that no one was supposed to know about. Very chic filmmaking achievement, with a strong storyline and soothing soundtrack.

The Bourne Legacy

An unnecessary addition to the series. The Bourne trilogy should've ended as one, instead of being re-written for the screen once more, as a story about yet another mysterious agent, with a case of lost identity. While there are some fine action scenes, and there isn't anything bad that can be said about Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz, the story lacks depth and looks very forced. The unimaginative and abrupt ending is just a proof of Hollywood's greed and lack of any new ideas.

Risky Business
½

A rebellious and party-going 19 year-old Joel Goodson left alone for a few days starts a (risky) business of hooking up teenagers with prostitutes in his own family house. And who would be better for that role than the young and handsome Tom Cruise? He shines as the up-to-no-good boy, who is better off spending time with a beautiful hooker Lana, driving his father's car into a lake, getting into a fight with a vicious pimp, than preparing for a college interview of protecting his family's treasures. With a few memorable scenes (the first meeting of the two main characters, the subway scene, the wild party), accompanied by wonderful songs, Risky Business is a great coming of age story with a sharp and strong plot, and a very subtle, sexy feeling that never ceases to amaze.

Mirror Mirror

What's there to say - one of the least pleasurable interpretations of the well-known Snow White fable. While Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen is truly nasty, and Lily Collins is simply stunning as the enchanting Snow White, the story doesn't offer anything more than a mere few laughs and gags. The visuals are undeniably fabulous, but the whole story isn't entertaining or innovative enough to be remembered as a fine re-imagination of the children's favorite.

The Killers
The Killers(1946)
½

The most accurate adaptation of Hemingway's short story. Spellbinding and dramatic, it shows a complex tale of betrayal. Perfect use of retrospections adds up to the very rewarding experience of watching The Killers. The viewer is able to connect all the dots along with Jim Reardon, an insurance investigator, who decides to follow the case a bit closer. Although at first all the clues doesn't seem to match up, there is a striking mystery behind the death of one Olo 'Swede' Anderson. It involves a beautiful woman, a group of bandits, a big heist, and a intense twist in the last few minutes of the film. The Killers is sure to provide a huge amount of thrills, and a storyline that is as suspenseful as it is gritty.

Too Late for Tears

Unfortunately, one of the slowest and, thus, least thrilling noir films. Too Late for Tears covers the story of a ruthless dame, driven by sheer greed. After a bag full of money ends up in her and her husband's car during a ride, and he intends to leave the money in a locker and forget about the whole story, Jane goes on a rampage. First, she 'accidentally' shoots him while on a boat, and then she plays a risky game with the actual owner of the little fortune. She doesn't want to share, she doesn't want to leave any clues, so she smartly plans the whole intrigue and realizes that there might be a chance of her leaving with the bag all by herself. However, as the viewer quickly finds out, her husband's sister, aided by a suspicious character, find out about her deeds. Lizabeth Scott is brilliant as the femme fatale.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

A masculine, brutal and ruthless noir with a bunch of sleazy characters that seem as unlikeable as the story is suspenseful. Dixon, a hot-headed detective is on a case that will be decisive of his career in the police force. After a horrible mistake and a dead body on his hands, he needs to cover up all the mess. Yet, where the sidewalk ends there is always a dark corner, one that won't let anyone escape from their past. Even though Dixon is a violent policeman with a mobster attitude, he still looks convincingly likable to the audience. A very atmospheric movie, with a few nice turns.

The Big Steal

A road trip noir that offers some astounding visuals and a few gripping scenes, but nevertheless stays somewhere in the middle of the list in this particular category. What's crucial to point out is the fact that even though, for most of the time, the story flaws with time without any significant turns, yet in the ending it offers such a twist that it simply is more surprising than one might expect. Don Siegel created a very compelling movie about a man, who chases a guy who framed him for a robbery, and who is also chased by the law. A cat-and-mouse tale with a very interesting characters. And it all happens in the hot and sweaty outposts of Mexico. Worth a watch.

The Man Who Cheated Himself

Although it has some flaws in its detailed investigation plot, the movie is simply marvelous in the sense of great acting shown by both Lee J. Cobb and John Dall. Unfortunately, the one person who simply downgrades the whole experience is Jane Wyatt, with her bleak and perfectly miserable performance as a woman, who lures every man into her hellish paradise with a promise of happiness with a lot of money. When she impulsively shoots her husband, the only person who is able to help her is the oh-so-in-love police lieutenant Ed Cullen. Lucky for them, he is assigned to the case. Unlucky for them, so is his young and ambitious brother Andy. And step by step, he unravels the whole conspiracy and starts to pinpoint in the way of the true murderer. A very fine and climatic finale, shot in the abandoned, old prison. A suspenseful noir, which comes as a true, free gem, offered by the internet archive.

Pickup on South Street

With its subtle political subtext, Pickup of South Street comes as one of the most violent noir movies. The suspense is smoothly building up until the last, crucial minutes. After a pickpocketing job went wrong, when a man stole a purse, which contained very valuable government information, people end up dead. Only the guy in possession of the precious object is the one, who can actually stop the whole farce. But because of his stubbornness and foolish attitude, more and more people become involved in the awful multinational affair. Yet after a few meetings with a beautiful young woman, he finally changes his mind, which brings the whole story to a truly climatic climax, and one of the most frightening subway fights in the history of movies. Some fine acting, and very decent cinematography.

Kanojo to kanojo no neko (She and Her Cat) (Their Standing Points)

Simply amazing. Even though it's a short, the story is as magical as it is heartbreaking. The relationship between a girl and her cat has never been more endearing.

The Scarlet Claw

The murderous Scarlet Claw brings Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to a village in Canada. With a whole lot of cold bodies in-between, and a mysterious story about an actor, who is supposed to seek vengeance for what happened to him a long time ago, there is no easy way out of this case. And while Holmes is on it faster than one might suspect, Dr. Watson still remains as unconvinced and lost as he always is. Great on-location shots give a perfectly nightmarish tone to this entry.

The Narrow Margin
½

Inside a train full of assassins and mysterious individuals, one detective has to protect a woman, who is supposed to testify against her late husband - a well-known gangster. There is a whole lot of tension between the two characters, especially after the detective's partner has been killed a day before, while protecting the valuable dame. In the complex story of cat-and-mouse there is no sign of a happy ending. And while hope seems to be far from reach, the unexpected turn of events starts the whole intrigue completely anew. A perfect claustrophobic location, and a fast moving plot combine for a B-movie with A-grade experiences.

Sherlock Holmes in the Spider Woman
½

Holmes goes on to unravel a murder case, which involves possible suicide, a deadly, poisonous woman, and a whole lot of money that seems to be the main motive behind all her actions. With a bunch of witty dialogues, many laughable scenes (Holmes pretending to be a distinguished Indian officer is a masterpiece), and a thrilling climax, The Spider Woman is a must-see for every fan of the series.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The movie that made Basil Rathbone the only adequate Sherlock Holmes in the history of film. In this full-length entry the famous detective has to take on his arch nemesis - Professor Moriarty, a man, who's as intelligent as he is dangerous. Very well-acted and fast-paced, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes proves to be a remarkable adaptation and a picture that shows the detailed plot in the most rewarding manner.

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror
½

The mysterious voice on the radio announces a series of gruesome and violent attacks on some of the most powerful places on the British Islands. There is no one better to discover who's behind the whole conspiracy than the bright and handsome Sherlock Holmes. Although the noir-like cinematography is mesmerizing, the plot isn't as engaging as one might hope it would be. Nevertheless, It's remarkable that in only 65 minutes John Rawlins was able to present such a complex story about betrayal and sabotage in the times of World War II.

Sherlock Holmes in Washington
½

One of the most appealing films in the collection. Although I can't say that I didn't enjoy Sherlock Holmes in Washington, it sometimes seemed a bit too forced and underdeveloped in its storyline. While it remains as patriotic as ever (this time on account of the USA), the mystery and conspiracy shown in the picture looks rather laughable than suspenseful.

Sherlock Holmes in Pursuit to Algiers
½

One of the more humorous and lightsome entries in the series. With a few crowd-pleasing sequences (all singing and all dancing) Holmes and Watson have to protect a very important person on a ship full of assassins ready to act. What's surprising about Pursuit to Algiers is the fact that the actual suspense, presented in the end nevertheless, is as shocking as it's never been before.

Sherlock Holmes in the House of Fear

A gripping mystery that only the famous Sherlock Holmes can handle witch such style and calmness. When the members of an elite club of extremely rich gentlemen start to die one by one Holmes, accompanied by the ever so wonderful Dr. Watson, gives the case a thorough overview and begins to unravel the puzzles piece by piece.

Another Thin Man
½

Another murder comes crashing in on the lives of a peaceful Charles family. With a new baby on their hands, Nick and Nora try to stay away from any cases that might turn their lives upside down again. Yet the inevitable happens sooner than expected, when they're invited to a house of an old man named MacFay. After a perfidious killing and a complex investigation, Nick gathers the whole bunch of suspect in a cozy room, and once again solves the seemingly unsolvable affair.
Without losing the series' wonderful charm and laughing-out-loud gags, Another Thin Man comes as a strong position in the series. Maybe only a bit too long at times.

To Rome with Love

Sadly, Woody Allen's newest creation is far from amusing. The plot lines aren't connected in any way, but that's not the point. All of the stories feel a bit burned out, after only half an hour of the film's running time. Only the 'vignette' with Allen as the struggling Opera director, and Judy Davis as his keen-witted wife, and the truly amazing Italian man singing in the shower, while performing on the big scene, made me laugh till the end. Well, at least Rome looks as beautiful as ever, and the landscape shots are pretty right-on-spot.

The Hitch-hiker
½

A passenger of the most psychotic kind takes two fishermen as his hostages for one hell of a ride. William Talman is perfectly scary as the mass murderer, who uses hitchhiking as his means to kill people, who invite him to their car. And when Ray and Gilbert realize that sitting on their backseat is no one other than this deadly fellow, they see no way out of the sitatuation. Getting tired of his tortuous games, they prepare themselves for the worst. However, as it turns out, the Mexican police starts to follow them very closely... Great cinematography, some serious acting skills presented by both sides, and atmosphere more tense than anyone can imagine.

Song of the Thin Man
½

Some would say that it's a bit too much of the William Powell Myrna - Loy marathon, but the unquestionable charm and elegance of the characters make the last installment in the series highly watchable. Even though Song of the Thin Man doesn't really offer anything new in the way of developing a story, and it's even more predictable than the previous chapters, it still offers a few amusing scenes and a very decent music score, which plays so beautifully with the whole mystery case.

Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise

This isn't funny. This isn't funny at all. It's so repetitive and unoriginal that it's simply not worth a watch. Although there are some laughable moments in the nerd vs. jocks festivities, their battles and sexual dilemmas don't seem enjoyable any more.

Heaven Can Wait

A perfectly heartfelt rom-com with a gentle touch of fantasy. When a man is sent to Hell and stands in front of Satan himself, the viewer is suddenly drawn into a complex story about marriage, genuine behavioral patterns, love, loss, and desires. Don Ameche gives quite a performance as the man, who had many women in his life, but only one was able to steal his heart for good. And even though there were ups and downs in this love-story, in the end he realized the true meaning of human emotions and strong personal attachment.

Paprika
Paprika(2006)
½

One of the most intriguing and imaginative animations ever created. It's a trip to the deepest corners of the human mind, without the use of any drugs. The colorful and picture-perfect visual effects are stunning at all times, the characters are genuine, and the music is fantastic. It's not hard to see why Paprika became an inspiration for Inception. It will forever remain a gem in its category, and will amaze the audience even after the second and third viewing. It's a combination of realistic problems of the modern days, with the most brilliant insight into the fantasy, dream-like universe. It is as puzzling as it is dazzling.

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Very tense, climatic, and truly nightmarish story about a romance that quickly turned into a chase towards happiness, with the most deadly consequences. While the deeds are done and the the living become the dead, the leading couple soon learns that what's hidden always comes to light at one point or another. The chemistry between John Garfield and Lana Turner is undeniably strong. The mood is depressing, and the visual effects are perfectly sombre.

Crossfire
Crossfire(1947)

While remaining a B-grade noir worth seeing, Crossfire is more than just another black-and-white tale about gangsters and the battles that they fight. It's one of the most compelling takes on the problem of anti-semitism in the post-war America. And even though the investigation might sometimes seem a bit childish and uneven, the message that's hidden in the storyline is as fresh as it's been more than 60 years ago.

Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four)

Maybe not a well-known position in its category, but a truly suspenseful and sombre take on one man's revenge and his dangerous and complex way to get it. A heist plan that ends up being a tale about corruption, greed, and love, featuring some of the best B-actors in the noir genre. It builds up the tension up to its thrilling climax, never losing the spectacular touch of macabre combined with a deep feeling of hatred.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Touching, eye-popping, inspiring - an ode to genuine sushi making. Jiro is the master in his craft and there's no denying that, and the movie proves to be a very rewarding visualization of his long journey in the culinary world. With a magnificent soundtrack and some mouth-watering sequences, Jiro Dreams of Sushi comes as a very interesting documentary about the most famous Japanese dish.

Total Recall
Total Recall(2012)
½

A totally unnecessary remake. Even though it's better off treated as a different film (there are too many important changes in the storyline, which is, by the way, very uneven and cliched), it still can't be compared to its predecessor. And Colin Farrell is far from being a first-class action hero like Schwarzenneger was back in the days.

Quicksand (1950)
½

If it weren't for Mickey Rooney's bleak performance as the leading man, the movie would've probably ended up higher in the harsh hierarchy of crime films from the 50's. Yet, it's always great to see Peter Lorre as a sleazy and up-to-no-good ruffian. Quicksand does its title justice - the main character, being also the fall guy, goes deeper and deeper in the metaphorical sand of his own wrongdoings.

D.O.A.
D.O.A.(1950)

An innovative idea in an utterly shocking and compelling noir film - a man waas murdered, but he isn't dead yet, and in order to find out, who killed him he needs to go on a journey inside the deepest and most dangerous places in all of California. An overwhelming conspiracy, which lead to most gruesome results, and a man who's got nothing to lose. Highly recommended.

Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)

Like Bonnie and Clyde, Bart and Annie teach us that crime doesn't pay, in this fast--paced, thrilling tale about bank robbing in the name of money and love. The car chase scenes are well-directed, the chemistry between the main actors is indisputable, and the constant struggle to overcome the pain of living on the edge seems disturbingly realistic. And the leading girl is as deadly, as she is seductive - a true femme fatale. A great addition to the noir genre, a B-grade movie that may as well compete with some of the other, more famous movies in the category.

Page One: Inside the New York Times

A great and insightful documentary about the rise and fall of the most famous newspaper on the planet. Very interesting interviews, some shocking discoveries, and an ending that leaves the viewer with one truly important question: is the print media still needed in our modern, high-tech world?

Evil Under the Sun
½

Poirot on a case that gives the shivers. At a remote, beautiful, yet mysterious island things don't always go as planned. When a rich woman is murdered and everybody has an alibi, Poirot starts an investigation of the most difficult kind. While it might seem impossible to find the killer, the clues start to add up perfectly in the classic act of show-and-tell.

Ted
Ted(2012)
½

Seth MacFarlane might have lost his touch. The script is rather weak as the story goes. The bromance is indisputable, but the romance is long gone. The jokes are plainly rude. Mark Wahlberg goes on a silly-boy streak, while Teddy proves that even the most furry and cuddly of beings grow up eventually.

The Terminator

An instant classic in the action genre. And without any doubt Arnold Schwarzenneger as the ruthless, monstrous man-machine became one of the icons of cinema. It's a pulp-fiction movie, which shows a post-apocalyptic world where machines rule over humans. The pace is enormously rapid, the mood is very tense all the time, the action is filled with great sequences, stupendous special effects and thrilling chases. And even better, the sci-fi storyline is based on a innovative idea that makes the movie even more entertaining and thought-provoking. James Cameron's finest work.

The Addams Family
½

A very fresh and hilarious reincarnation of a well-known TV show. The Addams Family in a live-action movie seem livelier tahan ever (all puns intended). The grim and macabre humor that's surrounding the whole storyline is perfectly in accordance with the nightmarish mood and amusing sight gags. Although the whole story doesn't actually have any bigger meaning, it's always good to see the troubled, pale, and perfectly bizarre family making their moves on the big screen. And all of the actors are properly cast here.

Scooby-Doo
Scooby-Doo(2002)

This was one of the most captivating TV shows of my entire childhood. When I heard that they are going to make a movie out of it I was really excited. But then, what came out of this big-screen Scooby-Doo spectacle was really disappointing. All of the actors seem rigid, and they don't really remind of the fantastic animated characters. The story lost all of the show's charm and wit, and the mystery that is shown here could've been easily made into a regular 20-minute episode. Although there are some laughable moments, it's so predictable and silly, that there's actually not a trace of suspense. It's a ghost story that might frighten the littlest viewers, but will definitely bore everyone above the 10-year-old line.

The Emperor's New Groove

Well the story isn't really offering too much, but the animation is very colorful and pretty, and there is a huge amount of laughable situations, as we observe the Emperor's struggle to transform himself into a man again. Only for the youngest viewers though.

Men in Black
Men in Black(1997)
½

It's actually smart and funny, and the effects seem pretty astounding. Two guys in black suits (everything is black actually) with huge weapons fighting with alien thieves. What becomes of the whole farce is a dreadful intergalactic battle that will reveal the fate our universe. And a sci-fi action movie has never been more laughable. Great combination of genres makes Men in Black a highly unusual flick, which will satisfy younger and older viewers alike. And it's crucial to mention that Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith make a tremendous couple of cold-blooded, and at the same hilariously witty, avengers.

Bean
Bean(1997)
½

They really should've left Mr. Bean inside his TV show. This movie is just silly and boring. The gags are out of place, and the big-screen, 'great' adventure of a slow-witted British fellow is honestly insipid.

Octopussy
Octopussy(1983)

It's a more laughable version of a Bond movie, really. This isn't an action movie, this is a spectacle of foolishness and unimaginative sequences. Roger Moore got swag, but it's not enough here.

The World Is Not Enough

Somehow enjoyable, but still the Bond of this generation doesn't fully show the potential of the franchise. Brosnan lacks the verve and gracefulness of the womanizing Agent 007. Still, it's watchable and the plot isn't all that bad.

Die Another Day

Wow, this is actually the worst Bond ever. Story is full of flaws and shortcomings, Pierce Brosnan lacks the usual 007 charm, even though he is handsome and stylish, but that doesn't do the job. Too much focus put on special effects, thumbs down.

Total Recall
Total Recall(1990)
½

Interesting and innovative idea executed in a most violent and bloody way. But all in all, because of Schwarzenneger's indisputable charm this wild thriller comes rather strong. This is an action-packed, tense sci-fi experience, filled with gun fights, curses and hilarious one-liners. And even though it might be confusing sometimes, the ending clears all doubts, about who's good who's bad and what's actually going on. Great special and visual effects, and an obscure atmosphere perfectly combine with the mind-numbing storyline.

Enter the Dragon

This is basically a one-man show, and it's truly spectacular. Bruce Lee feeling the power and destroying every opponent on his way, in the most thrilling and rapid manner. The fighting sequences are perfectly executed, showing Bruce Lee's pitch perfect martial arts skills and abilities. After dealing with a 'few' goons and a bunch of other lethal enemies, Bruce Lee comes face to face with the mastermind behind the whole intrigue and shows him his kick-and-punch tricks. Great fun, pure entertainment, from one of the legends of action movies.

Shark Tale
Shark Tale(2004)

It tries to be hip, cool, energetic, vibrant - and all those other adjectives that are strictly connected to a younger pop-culture - but it comes as a mildly amusing underwater animation. And it's definitely not original in its gags and themes, and distracting because of that. Good thing about it is the all-star voice cast.

Bridget Jones's Diary
½

Too much of a chick flick for my taste, but nevertheless it is an enjoyable and heartwarming rom-com that deserves some recognition in its cram-full category. Although it's really predictable and simple, the story about an unhappy girl looking for true love, and all of her hits-and-misses in-between, it is great in Ren√ (C)e Zellweger-edition. She really gives all that she can and the audience is able to feel that. Too silly and 'romantic' for men, pitch perfect for women of all ages.

Hoodwinked
Hoodwinked(2005)

A re-imagining of a classic tale that didn't necessarily work out. The animation isn't that good as it should be, the gags are perfectly dark and rude, and the characters look sleazy. Yes, it was intended to be a modern, more offensive take on a childhood favorite and it is often funny, but with its mostly weak jokes and silly narrative it doesn't offer too much.

Spider-Man
Spider-Man(2002)

Tobey Maguire gives a strong and energetic performance as the sticky hero named Spidey-Man. Filled with pleasurable action sequences, some fine web-slinging voyages, and a refreshing romance somewhere in the storyline, Spider-Man definitely comes as a decent adaptation of the Stan Lee classic tale about a boy, who got bitten by a spider and achieved supernatural powers. In this movie, he has to fight with the sneaky and destructive Green Goblin, who is actually one of the most memorable nemesis from the comic books. Lacking some depth maybe, but it still is a blockbuster that is meant to please the eyes, not the minds.

X-Men
X-Men(2000)
½

A very adequate and well-directed adaptation of one of the most famous comic books in history. Great character development of all superheroes, because even though it's a story that combines all of them together, sill every one has its few minutes of glory. Astounding visuals and thrilling action sequences are in perfect accordance with what X-Men really stand for. The ensemble cast is marvelous, and the fact is that they really do resemble those famous Marvel-heroes. And in all of this, it's really not too long and, thus, perfectly engaging with the plot. Let the X-Men fame stay this way and they will do good.

American Pie
American Pie(1999)
½

Admittedly, it has its brighter moments of pure hilariousness, but in the bigger view it's just plain silly and rude. Although in the teen-sex comedy genre it stands out as a great pioneer, American Pie will only be watchable for all those sexually tense, adolescent viewers. It looks rather cheap, and the storyline is uneven, but what the hey, it's intended to be that way, because - isn't teenage life really like that?

Frankenstein
Frankenstein(1931)
½

A genuine horror movie, one that proves to have many influences, and they probably will never stop. It's a classic tale about a mad scientist and his frightening, undead creation - the Monster (some people like to mistake it with the professor, who is in fact named Frankenstein). It's a haunting tale about tragedy, and the existential dilemmas of a creature, that is tormented because of its appearance, but deep down proves to have feelings that are close to human ones. With its innovative and frantically persuasive narrative, Frankenstein shows how a perfect horror movie should be developed. Supported by a powerful and truly creepy performance by Boris Karloff, the film is a movie that apart from being fearful in its nature, is also filled with the harsh truth about humanity as a whole, their prejudices and beliefs, which are often so unwilling to change.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Can this saga get any worse? Let it end already. There isn't anything thrilling about a shiny vampire trying to save a poor little girl, who doesn't even attempt to show more than one, steady facial expression through all the movies. In this haunted love triangle between human, werewolf, and a vampire there is a bit of a scare-fest, but only for the little ones. A failed blockbuster, with a very slow and unimaginative storyline, bleak character development, and no mystery whatsoever. The only thing good about is the visuals, but that's really not enough.

Dead Poets Society
½

Great adaptation that bases its strength on a powerful and believable performance by Robin Williams. A true tour de force, Robin Williams shows all his skills as the unusual teacher, who isn't afraid to break the strict school rules, and realizes that a way to bond with the students isn't through emotionless emphasis on reading unnecessary books and doing homework, but by liberating them and allowing free-thinking. Carpe Diem, simply speaking. In his deeply philosophical and personal meetings with the boys he shows his passion for poetry and the boys share their opinions. Every one of the students has his own dreams, and by spending time with professor Keating they come closer to actually fulfilling them. Beautifully directed, although might seem appealing to younger viewers mostly, Dead Poet's Society shows the true meaning of the novel in an utterly precise way.

Rush Hour
Rush Hour(1998)
½

The story is so silly, yet the pair Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker is so unbelievably funny, that the whole experience of watching Rush Hour seems inevitably tempting. And it doesn't fail to satisfy, even though the plot is repetitive and inconclusive. It's an action-filled comedy that does a good job of parodying all those serious crime movies of the past. It's a kicking-and-smashing fest with a duet to die for.

The Prince of Egypt
½

An epic tale set in Ancient Egypt, in the times of ruthless Pharaohs. The visual side is pitch perfect, and the story has its own heart and soul. As the brave Moses struggles to overcome the fearless Ramses and release his people, the viewer embarks on a journey that has been retold in live-action features quite a few times. Even though that most of us know the outcome, it's still worth a view mostly, because of great voiceovers and eye-popping animation.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Saddening and touching story that looks very realistic, because of its focus on a topic that's cursed humanity for centuries. Mainly, it shows how people, who are different are momentarily excluded by the community, and judged only by their appearances, not by actions. It's an old and rarely repeated cautionary tale, but has its strong side in the tale of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The man rejected by the society, hides in his Tower and one day falls in love with a pretty girl. With all the humiliation and taunts in the middle, the end will definitely make some people cry. Set in the beautiful city of Paris, it's darker than most of Disney's titles, and really brings all that's best about the studio.

Pocahontas
Pocahontas(1995)

A bit underdeveloped and too girlish. Pocahontas isn't as refreshing and engaging as other major Disney productions. The story is sometimes too slow, and the romance isn't that 'burning'. Although ruthless and emotional at times, Pocahontas will probably only appeal to the smallest girls.

Mulan
Mulan(1998)
½

Brilliant animation set in the times of medieval China, presenting the story of a young, brave, and strong girl, who in order to become a warrior had to cheat everyone around. With the help of an adorable, magical dragon named Mushu she embarks on a journey that will not only result in the winning of a great war, but will also reveal Mulan's true, inner self. And there is a great romance in it too. It's vibrant, energetic, and filled with decent action scenes.

Lilo & Stitch
½

Totally different than all the classic Disney tales. MAybe that's what makes Lilo & Stitch this fascinating and really enjoyable. The adventures of a Hawaiian girl and her out-of-this-world blue friend are splendidly humorous and warm in their positive silliness. There is also a lot of good vs. evil action involved.

The Little Mermaid
½

Too girly for my taste. Although the animation is truly adorable, the story didn't interest me and I would only recommend this magical tale about a lovable mermaid to girls, and the littlest ones.

101 Dalmatians

Thrilling and expressive story, which really moves the imagination. It has one of the darkest villains in all of Disney's movies. The puppies are truly adorable, and the whole story might be compelling but mostly for the smallest viewers.

The Jungle Book
½

Stunning and handsome animation make this title amazingly watchable. Apart from that, the heartwarming and crowd-pleasing story about the adventures of a boy living among animals is perfectly appropriate for the whole family. Mowgli is truly adorable, but the most fantastic of all the characters is definitely Baloo the Bear, with his clumsiness and mood always set to party.

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

Although it is still funny (mostly because of the lovable, clumsy little squirrel chasing this precious nut, and the brilliant Sid), it lost most of its charm and became repetitive. The adventures of a bizarre group of now-extinct friends aren't that engaging and hilarious any more. The animation is still beautiful, the voiceovers are great, and the energy is in action, but Ice Age 2: The Meltdown doesn't invite with its unfriendly narrative.

Ghost in the Shell

Astounding and spellbinding sci-fi animation, with a pitch perfect neo-noir atmosphere. Ghost in the Shell is a though-provoking, mind-numbing movie that combines elements of a dream-like universe with harsh realism of the futuristic world. It's deeply mechanic, complex, futuristic, mysterious, and utterly bizarre, and all of those aspect make the experience of watching Ghost in the Shell very refreshing. A fast-paced cyber-punk spectacle that will please anime fans and newbies alike.

2 Days in Paris
½

Hilarious and witty little whimsey tale of a couple's seemingly peaceful retreat in the heart of the beautiful city called Paris. Julie Delpy shows all of her skills combined, as she is the director, the writer, and the main actor of this perfectly laughable fable. It is perfectly at odds with the romance genre, and that is the main point that makes 2 Days in Paris so enjoyable. Through its quirky, yet sometimes painful, events it shows that not all relationships (as in most of the rom-coms) have happy endings.

Adam's Apples
½

This is a darkly satirical comedy that takes on the topic of a well-known Biblical tale. Violent and persuasive, Adam's Apples shows a tale about one man's quest to overcome the forces of evil that surround his past, and in the process reinvent himself as a new man. With the help of a strongly optimistic and enthusiastic preacher, he tries to achieve this goal. While looking after an apple tree, the man - Adam (all puns intended) - has to find the true meaning of religion and being good. But what makes a man is not what in his mind, it seems, but what his action do onto others. Dramatic, and exaggerated, but very watchable.

My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady(1964)
½

Adorable, charming, witty, funny, heartwarming - there are many adjectives that go almost perfectly with this fantastic musical of a movie. My Fairy Lady shows a perfectly delightful tale about one woman's struggle to adapt to a higher society and learn how to speak proper English. The whole farce is truly laughable. And there is a great amount of romance that comes with it. Audrey Hepburn will always be remembered as the clumsy, yet really lovable and pretty flower girl, who is gradually becoming a great lady. The songs are splendid and catchy, just as the style of the characters is indisputable.

The Passion of the Christ

Very graphic and violent, it sparked a controversial debate about its importance and the true meaning of the message that it so ostentatiously delivers. Through the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ's life we see a huge amount of faults and painful tortures. Unfortunately, the movie's only purpose is to shock and there isn't anything exceptional about all of that, maybe only the hatred towards Mel Gibson that many people will bear after viewing The Passion of the Christ.

What Women Want

Who wouldn't like to get such a remarkably needful power as the main character in this movie? Mel Gibson is really convincing as the womanizer, who is now able to please every girl on Earth, because he is able to hear all her thoughts and hidden desires. It's a flick that will please men and women alike, as it possesses some charm, verve, and truly hilarious moments. It's a very decent rom-com. And remember, although this power might seem tempting, there must always be a hidden agenda behind it.

Death on the Nile

Great mystery tale based on Agatha Christie's novel of the same name. Hercule Poirot is set to solve yet another mysterious and puzzling murder mystery, this time on a sweat-ridden and deadly hot waters of the Nile. On a luxurious cruise people seem to fall like flies. And, as always, all of the remaining passengers may have a motive. Very intelligent script with a surprising ending, made even more engaging by the great Peter Ustinov. There are many stars on-board, and they don't seem as friendly as one would think.

The Bounty Hunter

So uninteresting, unfunny, and completely awful as a matter of fact. There is nothing in the story that would be even mildly amusing. The two main characters are excruciatingly one-dimensional and don't even bond as properly as they should. It's simply crude, and repetitive with its weak formula script.

Pasazerka (The Passenger)

Although not finished (due to the director's sudden death), it's a remarkable achievement in the field of war-time dramas. Full of emotions and deep feelings, this heartbreaking tale of a forbidden love in the Auschwitz concentration camp leaves the viewer struck with compassion and affliction. Told in retrospective, by a German passenger on a cruise ship, who sees a woman she thinks she met a long time ago. And when she does, she embarks on a journey into her own haunting memories. Great use of photos and a narrator to replace the blank spots in the beginning.

How Do You Know

James L. Brooks shouldn't really be proud of his newest creation, as How Do You Know is very chaotic in its storyline and adequately unsatisfying in its rom-com appeal. Although the cast is great, their performances leave a lot to be desired. The whole heartfelt farce seems too underdeveloped and mindless. It loses its charm in the first minutes, and doesn't get it back till the end.

The Limits of Control

It's a minimalistic thriller with a rather mildly pleasurable storyline. Although the story isn't really that engaging, it still as the ability to make one laugh, with its dark humor and pitch perfect Jarmusch style. Isaach De Bankol√ (C) is fantastic as the loner, who doesn't really say much, and doesn't do much either, but when he has to get the job done he is unmistakable and properly lethal. Although the whole movie flaws very slowly, it has its brighter and more gripping moments.

Kalifornia
Kalifornia(1993)
½

A tale of voyeurism, and an insight into the troubled mind of a serial killer on the loose. Two people on a journey through the places of serial killing occurrences, and they unimaginable mistake, when they took another couple for a ride to California. It's riveting, haunting, mostly because of Brad Pitt's perfect portrayal of a deadly lunatic, who takes pleasure in torturing her girlfriend and killing passersby. In all its grizzly tale, there is not a moment of rest, as the tragic fight for life and death starts, in an utmost intense and frightening manner.

Nothing To Declare (Rien ŗ dťclarer)

Unfortunately, the story presented in Nothing to Declare is really superfluous and unfunny. Maybe the fact that it's a typical, straightforward French comedy makes it much harder for a foreigner to understand its strange sense of humor. The collision of two opposing cultures and countries isn't really well-executed. Definitely not worth spending almost two hours in a cinema.

11:14
11:14(2003)

A gruesome, ye rather pleasurable and fast-paced black comedy. All of the stories that intertwine in the movie are shocking, but so perfectly put together, that it makes the experience of watching 11:14 much more satisfying. Even though it's sometimes over the top, the strange and bizarre that merges in the film's narrative makes up for a rather amusing and wild ride into tragedy and death.

Katyn
Katyn(2009)

Katyn is so powerful and striking, that it's simply painful to watch in some of its most shocking and violent scenes. Andrzej Wajda payed tribute to all the fallen soldiers, who were encountered with an unimaginable horror, during one of the most gruesome and inhumane executions that occured during the World War II. The fact that the movie was recognized all around the world will make people more acquainted with the tragedy of those days. Painful, harrowing, dramatic, emotional, yet so perfectly shot and directed. A must-see wartime movie.

The Perfect Storm

Stunning visuals, decent acting and a dramatic tale about people's fight with the overpowering forces of nature. Feels a bit like a TV movie, but it serves its purpose. However, the whole movie might've been shorter, maybe then it would be more engaging. A group of fishermen proceed to sea, in order to catch fish and earn some money. But what they're struck with exceeds their wildest expectations. The special effects during the storm are remarkable, the intensity of water's violence has rarely been so scary.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Remarkably haunting, bizarre, and creepy movie that tells a story about a mystical place and its undiscovered mystery. It brings horror to one's mind not with frightening scenes, but with its idea and with its perfectly hidden meaning. Starting with a bit of sexual tension, passing through with a distressing peacefulness and tranquility, it ends up without any clues that will serve as potential answers. No one knows what happens in this strange, pagan-cursed, evil place, and what really persuaded the girls to explore those mythical rock formations and led them somewhere beyond our imaginations.

This Must Be The Place

If it wasn't for Sean Penn's flawless and astounding performance as the sluggish, covert, burned-out former rockstar Cheyenne, the movie would probably be unbearable. Even though it's message is powerful, and its mood is perfectly bizarre, mad, and endearing, unfortunately the ways it's executed leaves a lot to be desired. A road trip that goes really too slow, without any thrilling turns, and ends up in a pretty predictable manner. The soundtrack is smashing though.

Young and Innocent

One of the most entertaining and thrilling films that Hitchcock directed in Great Britain. Although the story is very similar to the one presented in The 39 Steps, it is still a perfectly enjoyable and suspenseful movie, which shows one man's struggle to prove his innocence, as he embarks on a journey to self-redemption, filled with burning romance and fast chases. Mistaken identity cases is Hitchcock's realm, and he shows that with utmost precision.

The Naked Spur

A truly entertaining western, that attracts with its refreshing and realistic storyline, which uncovers the truth about people's deceitful motivations behind some actions. A bounty hunter needs to deliver a notorious gunslinger Ryan to the hands of the law to get a big reward. However, on the way he meets two no-goodnicks, who want to participate in his adventure, and also take some of the money. And as the audience finds out, not everything goes as planned and when some of the circumstantial events take place and Ryan is able to escape, a deadly fight is about to start. Astounding cinematography, great performances and a thrilling climax show the true nature of this fine western classic.

Shizukanaru ketto (The Quiet Duel) (A Silent Duel)

Very moving and distressing tale about a noble doctor, who fights with an untreatable disease, and at the same time, has to maintain his life, and relationship, spiraling out of control after one of the nurses realizes that he is actually sick. Very powerful and heartbreaking drama about our decency, sincerity, vices and virtues. Toshiro Mifune is splendidly believable. Akira Kurosawa, once more, approaches the subject of judging people by their actions, and how those actions correspond to the human condition, and actually shape our life and our destinies.

Nine
Nine(2009)
½

As much as I loved the energetic and powerful Chicago, Rob Marshall really disappointed me with this musical. Its story looks forced and is simply inconclusive, and the characters are totally mismatched and out of place. Although it's packed with famous actors, they don't offer much with their mediocre performances. It's simply a collage of music videos put together in a rather chaotic manner. Fortunately, some of the songs are pretty catchy and will get the audience pumped.

Gedo senki (Tales from Earthsea)

Unfortunately, one of the worst titles on the Studio Ghibli list. Even though the animation is beautiful, detailed, and marvelously colorful, the narrative isn't at all engaging. A mythical, magical adventure, about one boy's struggle to overcome the forces of evil and conquer the omnipresent chaos, that is a bit underdeveloped, and thus can be easily forgotten after only a few days. Good voiceovers though.

8MM
8MM(1999)

Looks like a bad B-grade, without any mystery or thrilling action attached to it. Even though it concerns a very violent and cruel topic, it doesn't serve its purpose and gets lost somewhere in the middle of the messy storyline. The good thing is that is possesses this dark, obscure and nightmarish atmosphere. However, Nicolas Cage look weak and unprepared for the ghastly events that he is draw into, in this mildly amusing and rather predictable suspense story.

Astťrix et Obťlix contre Cťsar (Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar)
½

Rather bleak adaptation of a famous comic book that tells the bizarre and action-packed story about Gaul heroes, who use a magic potion in order to gain strength and defeat their enemies. Here they struggle against the powerful Caesar. Even though the move is mostly funny, it doesn't achieve the level of hilariousness of its paperback equivalent. There is some splendid energy, but it starts to diminish as the minute pass.

Astťrix & Obťlix: Mission Clťop‚tre (Asterix and Obelix Meet Cleopatra)
½

Surprisingly, one of the best adaptations of the classic comic book series. It's a great comedy that goes with a big bang in its hilarious adventure routine. And Cleopatra has never been more attractive and seductive, Monica Bellucci is marvelous. Better than its predecessor in many ways.

Scream
Scream(1996)
½

A remarkably fresh addition to the slasher genre. Very memorable opening scene with Drew Barrymore gives the creeps. Its strength mainly comes from the fact that it's a great spoof of the whole genre, a tribute, and a rewarding flick in itself. A genuine fright-fest with a great killer character - ghost face - who ultimately became one of the most famous masked-murederers of a generation.

Jaws
Jaws(1975)
½

An instant classic. Made me scared of swimming in the sea, actually. One of the most spellbinding, thrilling, and shocking works about the animals-gone-wild routine. The first installment is surely a breakthrough. The huge and bloodthirsty sharks are remarkably detailed and realistic, all of the characters that take part in this gore-fest act surprisingly believably and the viewer can feel their pain and suffering in every scene. It's a blockbuster for the ages, one that started the whole race for the best summer movie of the season. Undeniably effective, fast-paced, scary, and the climatic, creepy music composed by John Williams that gives the creeps and prepares the audience for the inevitable worst. And it's influence will always be present, no matter how many years will past.

Justice: A Cross the Universe

Electronic music, parties, music festivals, alcohol, drugs, fights, pretty girls, hot cars, crowd-surfing, bright lights, strong tunes, road trip with a couple of chilled-out guys - what's not to love?

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios)

Truly a weird and crazy, yet smart and hilarious, black comedy about a couple of women and how they lives intersect in a most bizarre, and even tragic, way. Almodovar created a fantastically proper art house flick that may be called a screwball. Those sneaky women doing god-knows-what with god-know-who and bringing vendettas on one another - that's pretty remarkable. And I bet you won't forget Rossy de Palma's performance, or better yet, her face.

The Pink Panther

A mildly amusing and rather unstable slapstick comedy. While it brings the precious memories of the franchise and some of its most memorable movies, The Pink Panther in modern edition doesn't come strong. Steve Martin looks bleak as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, and is nowhere near the levels of hilariousness that Peter Sellers brought with his performance as the clumsy detective on the trail of a notorious, mysterious killer and burglar. The cat-and-mouse game isn't as engaging as everyone would like it to be surely.

6 Souls
6 Souls(2013)

A rather annoying attempt at creating a mysterious and puzzling film. It's absurd, bleak, derivative and definitely not-that-surprising. The scenes of psychological deduction are forced. While they're many identities of the main character, there's only one that goes smoothly with the movie - a failure.

Final Destination

Fresh idea executed in a rather unimaginative manner. Final Destination is thrilling and scary in its storyline, but because of those one-dimensional puppets instead of people it isn't able to become anything more than it is - a suspense story that has some intriguing death sequences, but isn't able to shock properly.

101 Dalmatians

Nothing to see here. They destroyed the magic of the original animated version of 101 Dalmatians. Although it is entertaining sometimes, it's rather boring, dull and lacks some charismatic performances.

Bambi
Bambi(1942)
½

Probably its most memorable scene is the Bambi mother's death. It's one of those Disney moments that can really make a grown man cry. Apart from that, it's wonderfully magical, warm and truly funny, one of the beloved animations that combine jaw-dropping adventures with admirable characters.

Dumbo
Dumbo(1941)
½

Not one of my favorite Disney classics for sure, but still beautifully animated and magically positive. Wonderful music as always in a Disney picture, and a truly heartwarming and moving story about what makes us different and how we can use those differences as means to accomplish our hopes and dreams.

Hancock
Hancock(2008)
½

Very weak narrative and totally sleazy main character makes the movie a dispensable movie in the superhero genre. Even though it's perfectly at odds with the archetypal hero-flick, and that may actually be its main advantage, Hancock doesn't astound with the unimaginative plot. Only visuals seem compelling enough to make this a one-time wonder.

Clerks II
Clerks II(2006)

Not exactly what I would call original. Although it lost most of the verve of the first movie, it still is amusing and simply hilarious at times. Maybe there is a bit too much of a foolish philosophy in the story, which was rather meant to please the stomach, not the mind. Still, there are a couple of funny dialogues, and decent performances by the two famous, clumsy, and chilled-out dudes.

The Simpsons: Family Therapy
½

Very amusing and hilarious short. Family therapy never looked more angry and energetic.

Tarzan
Tarzan(1999)
½

The thing that I remember most about this fantastic movie is its pitch perfect soundtrack composed by Phil Collins. All of the songs are so pleasant, that they greatly enhance the experience of watching Tarzan. Fast-paced and compelling storyline proves to play very well in one of the newest version of the crafty ape-man.

Pinocchio
Pinocchio(1940)

Enormously heartwarming, and touching story about a little marionette, who wanted to become a boy so badly. It's got its emotional moments, and some that will definitely make the audience laugh. It's a masterpiece, that will move kids and adults alike.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Enormously influential film. One of the first most accomplished animations that made Disney a star in the genre. Even though its aimed mostly at kids, the story is full of dark, uncanny moments, and has a villain that can frighten almost anyone. Humorous dwarfs are the stars of the movie, with their fantastically catchy song. A classic that will live on in its own glory forever.

Cinderella
Cinderella(1950)
½

Although it might be more satisfying for the female viewers, Cinderella has something for everyone - stunning animation, catchy tunes, fantastical creature to adore, and a nostalgic feel bound to be remembered for a long time.

Sleeping Beauty

Beautiful, colorful animation, and one of the most heartfelt and spectacular stories even to come from Disney's treasured collection. Magical, enchanting, amusing, and perfectly adequate not only for the smallest viewers.

Max Payne
Max Payne(2008)
½

While the game is really great and I remember playing it for a few long days, the movie is just underdeveloped and awful. It doesn't offer any thrilling action or suspense, it's just a bunch of chaotic images put together. Mark Wahlberg reminds of the troubled, haunted, and violent police detective, but his stories aren't exactly as compelling as the chapter in the game are. We all know it's hard to make a video game adaptation, and Max Payne is a great example of this.

Prom
Prom(2011)

A truly childish and humdrum movie about a group of teenagers preparing for Prom like it's their last day on Earth. We all know that it's the night they've all been waiting for, but the farce just seems too forced and thus, silly and truly corny. Tries to be a proper teen-drama, but ends up being just another Disney Channel production that may only appeal to the littlest viewers.

Aladdin
Aladdin(1992)

A great entry in the Disney's animation canon. A fast-paced story, with truly remarkable characters (the best is of course the Jin from the Lamp), fantastic music, and some clever and engaging dialogues. Pure entertainment for the whole family. It's truly as satisfying as the much older Disney works.

House of Flying Daggers

Violent, but very engaging and creative movie that focuses mostly on the greatness of martial arts. While it has its moments of weakness, mostly in the slow romantic sequences, House of Flying Dagger comes strong with all its thrilling action and high-flying daggers that show up from nowhere and bash through the skull in less than a second. Special effects are superb, and the storyline shows great passion from the team Yimou Zhang - Andy Lau. One of the finest period dramas of the 20th century as of now.

The Last Samurai
½

A spiritual and heroic flashback to the samurai-infested times. Tom Cruise is the big star of the show, and steals every scene that he's in (and there are many). It's an epic tale about one American warrior, who, while taken hostage, learns the truth about the culture, honorary code, and regular life, of Japanese people, and is faced with their great suffering and pain of a devastating war-period. His way of life changes dramatically, as he starts to adapt to his new surroundings and decides to change his conservative views. Edward Zwick did a great job directing, and John Tall added the beautiful and visually-stunning cinematography.

Immortals
Immortals(2011)
½

As much as I appreciate a good movie that deals with mythology, Immortals isn't as imaginative and engaging as it should be. Although it is action-filled and fast-paced, with gorgeous visual and special effects. And some fine CGI creatures. It just seems that the movie is somehow derivative and lacks a bit of a verve in the storytelling department. A testosterone-packed no-brainer that might please at times.

Beowulf
Beowulf(2007)
½

Stunning, and technically-innovative legendary movie. The computer-generated movie is simply flawless on the technical side. And the story isn't bad either. The brave and powerful Beowulf takes on an army of demons and does it with action-packed results. And it's always good to see Angelina Jolie's naked body covered in gold, better yet in 3D and IMAX.

The Man in the Iron Mask
½

Unimaginative, slow and prolonged take of a classic tale by Alexandre Dumas. While Leo DiCaprio's performance as the revenge-ridden mysterious man with the iron mask is rather good, he doesn't look like a hero the movie deserves, in any way. Very bleak attempt at adapting, once again, The Man in the Iron Mask's action-packed vendetta. Beautiful on the visual side though.

Macbeth
Macbeth(1950)

An epic adaptation of the Shakespeare's tragedy. Its perfectly dark atmosphere, stunning camera movement and placement, rich visuals, powerful performances lead by the tremendous and fearful Orson Welles, amount to a truly memorable experience. Even though it may not be the best take on this famous, old tragic tale, it still is the most climatic and formidable one. It's not only a great adaptation, but also a fantastic auteur approach to Macbeth, courtesy of Mr. Welles. Though almost everyone knows the story, not everyone can imagine that it could be made with such play-like, vibrant, and also stunningly obscure, manner.

Some Like It Hot
½

One of the funniest, and I mean it, comedies with a twist in the history. Billy Wilder shows his indisputable master skills as a director. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis combine for two hours of sheer amusement and laughing-out-loud entertainment. Add a sexy and adequately foolish Marilyn Monroe, and you get a classic in the genre right from the start. It's a romantic farse of the most peculiar kind, as two men attempt to earn some money disguised as women-musicians in an all-girl band. What happens next is bound the be called a perfectly laughable story filled with twists and turns. Beautiful, smart, packed with witty dialogues and perfectly-timed comebacks, Some Like It Hot proved to be a landmark in its category.

Hook
Hook(1991)

A total rip-off that doesn't do Peter Pan justice. As energetic as Dustin Hoffman is in the role of the violent and rampant Captain Hook, the script proves to be too underdeveloped for the character to gain any meaning. It's a grown-up showcase for the little ones, but who ultimately is supposed to be entertained remains an unanswered question.

Arachnophobia

It's good that Arachnophobia is a horror comedy, because it proves why the movie is more hilarious than it is scary. While it's not at all violent, this animals-gone-wild movie beams of enjoyment more than of any desperate attempts at being frightening. People are dying, and the spider are growing larger with every dead body. And there is no antidote for this strange occurrences. Arachnophobia is effects-driven, and that's its strength. Spoiler: might not appeal to people afraid of spiders.

Vampires Suck

Colloquially speaking - this movie sucks. Even though it's intended to a laughable spoof of Twilight, it's actually a hundred times worse than that. The gags are useless, the taunts are pathetic, and the actor are horrible. It's one of the most tragic attempts at parodying another shallow work.

Ondine
Ondine(2010)
½

A magical, mythical tale that proves to be more Earth-bound that it might seem at first. Imaginative, nostalgic and full of onscreen romance (Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda became a couple after this movie), Ondine proves to be a touching fairy tale for adults. Neil Jordan proves to be a dreamer able to create a rather charming creation.

Dream Wife
Dream Wife(1953)

Rather one of the worst Cary Grant romance dramas. Very bleak and repetitive in its narrative. While the major actors give their best with some charismatic performances, Dream Wife is still only mildly amusing. There are much more enjoyable dramedies from the 50's.

Seven Faces of Dr. Lao
½

A mixture of genres that actually makes sense. Seven Faces of Dr. Lao is imaginative, whimsy, and perfectly unique. Dr. Lao proves to be a talented magician, who is able to astound not only the onscreen audition, but the one sitting on a couch at home also.

X-Men Origins - Wolverine
½

A disappointing addition to the franchise. While the movies about X-Men as a whole weren't that bad, the story about origins of one of its deadliest and most rampant members seems very weak. Nice action sequences but that's all really. Hugh Jackman returns in all his glory, yet the basics for his Wolverine-rampage didn't need to be presented as a feature film.

Julie & Julia
½

Quirky, lighthearted and warm, Julie & Julia is a rather pleasurable comedy, which shows that the way to a [viewer's] hearth is through his stomach. Based on an autobiography of a world-renowned cooking master Julie Powell, the movie doesn't intend to be anything more than it is - an amusing and simple film about one woman's struggle to achieve perfection in the shadow of a master craftswoman. While the recipes seem perfectly tasty, the movie didn't found the perfect recipe for true entertainment. But Meryl Streep is as strong and charismatic as always, and that's great.

Edison (Edison Force)
½

It's actually a neo-noir combination of all possible cliches, merged into one chaotic and inconclusive storyline. The ensemble cast looks impressive, but only on paper. Yet the blame for this horrible derivative-fest may only lie on the part of writer-director David J. Burke. A complete waste of time.

The Whisperer In Darkness

While its kitschy and goofy on the technical level, that's the way it's actually supposed to be. The Whisperer in Darkness proves to be a visionary attempt at brining back the good-old creepy black-and-white horror tales from the 30's and 40's. A very proper adaptation of the haunting tale by HP Lovercraft. It's scary in its very uncanny way, and mysterious with its sci-fi based script. The mythological creates are invading the peaceful mainlands and the only person able to stop them is a brave folklorist on the search for the horrible truth. An old-fashioned tale of the most unearthly kind. It's even better when watched in an old, cramped cinema.

Beginners
Beginners(2011)

A totally different approach to a contemporary comedy that actually works out perfectly fine. In its own hilarious and witty way, Beginners deals with the heart-related problems of one father and his son. While it's touching at times, it shows the great warmth and utter confusion of a devastated man, who just lost his father and looks for true love. And it's even harder for him, as one of the last acts of his recently deceased papa was to declare to the whole world that, at the age of 75, he can finally admit that he is gay. Beautiful take on the modern romance and the power of love that's able to overcome any obstacles. Great performances by Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer are the main quality of the movie.

Le ProcŤs (The Trial)

Completely surreal and complex adaptation of Franz Kafka's novel of the same name. It's metaphysical, exuberant, smart and deeply intriguing, and in the end may come as enormously confusing. It's Orson Welles art house visionary film and his profound auteur approach to a controversial book. Unusual camera placement and movement gives the movie a very dream-like overview. Anthony Perkins is perfectly adequate as Joseph K, the man sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. He seeks justice, but all that he is able to find are more and more puzzles in this bureaucratic labyrinth. And as hard as the novel may be to adapt on-screen, Welles does it with utmost precision and a truly uncanny approach.

Sound of Noise
½

A musical apocalypse sounds about right. This movie proves to be an excellently original attempt at showing the true spirit of the musical show gone wild. A story about anarchists running around town spreading fear and terror through good energetic vibes may appeal to almost everyone. While the direction lacks some verve, the technical level of the movie is really smashing.

The Rite
The Rite(2011)
½

Clearly borrows everything that's best about the exorcism-related genre and puts it into a chaotic storyline that's as inconclusive as it is not scary. Anthony Hopkins has lost its vigor and charm and he clearly shows that in The Rite. Very weak and unimaginative, with a leading man that goes far from showing a good performance. Studying exorcisms and performing them has never been more unimpressive.

Spread
Spread(2009)
½

Unfortunately, it's just another 'chilled-out' comedy filled with sex and idiotic puns. Ashton Kutcher may look believable as the playboy, who gets all the girls, but it's remarkably silly that he is able to do so without any money whatsoever. So predictable that it's painful, a rom-com of the most ordinary kind.

Life as We Know It

Obnoxious and silly, this comedy tries to be a heartwarming delight but fails miserably. While the chemistry between Josh Duhamel and Katherine Heigl may be on board, the funny and neatly-timed gags definitely aren't. Nothing new, and the producers and director of Life as We Know It perfectly know that. And stop with the poo-poo jokes already, it becomes annoying.

Lťon: The Professional

Great thriller about the most unlikely relationship between a harsh and vicious trained assassin and a shy young girl. While they have their upside and downs, the bonding period proves to be sweet and and violent at tame same time. Wanting to avenge the murder of her whole family, this brave 12-year old tries to use Leon's masterful abilities and steady hand as a perfect killing machine. Luc Beson proves that the American soil does good for his directorial skills, and shines a new light on the genre with Leon: The Professional - a fast-paced, yet uncanny suspense thriller with great leading performances.

Face/Off
Face/Off(1997)

Thought-provoking and very promising in its narrative, Face/Off provides for a great action-packed thriller that isn't afraid to make a sci-fi statement of the most shocking kind. It's a truly exceptional movie, with great performances by John Travolta and Nicolas Cage (still in his best shape), who are trapped in a fast-paced intrigue that is as high-voltage as it is complex. An FBI agent and a criminal mastermind changing faces and running around town playing the deadly cat-and-mouse game - now that's something you don't see every day. Highly recommended.

Something Borrowed

The story is so weak and repetitive that it doesn't even give the slightest desire to be a proper rom-com. It's a joke of a movie, too long, and a superfluous soap opera that only shows a thin line between boredom and sluggishness. The cast is horrible, and only John Krasinski shows a mere glimpse of his regular funny-man routine.

Unknown
Unknown(2011)
½

Derivative, yet suspenseful thriller that deals with another lost identity case. Sometimes too chaotic in its approach. Although Unknown is pretty predictable, it is also intriguing in the first part. However, as we are drawn deeper into the mystery tale we are able to find its flaws and see that Liam Neeson's performance is pretty much a Jason Bourne case without the spectacular fireworks.

Predators
Predators(2010)
½

A macho action-packed thriller that may actually come as suspenseful and scary sometimes. Even though the topic is far from what we might call 'fresh', this is one of the most watchable installment in the franchise. On a planet filled with bloodthirsty predators (who look too artificial actually, and too overdone) people play a hide-and-seek game in order to survive. Even though the human team is combined of some of the toughest and craftiest soldiers that one can find, they still have hard time during the encounters with the deadly creatures. Fast-paced and tense action movie that is pleasurable, when not taken too seriously.

The Change-Up

This is not a comedy that you you would like to see. Change-Up isn't at all funny. It's rude and repulsive, boring and haggard. And it seems that a story about two guys, who magically switch their identities for a period of time, in order to find true meaning of their lives has been done a couple of times before. A misfire in the dude-comedy genre. The only strong part is Jason Bateman's performance.

Bruno
Bruno(2009)

After a hilarious Borat performance Sasha Baron Cohen comes back with his worst creation to date. Bruno is more offensive, and less funny than his Kazakh predecessor. It's a mockumentary of the most repugnant and shocking kind. Totally not laughable and plain dumb. Bruno comes as the most disgusting character in the contemporary cinema, and there is plainly nothing to be laughed at. Bad taste has never been worse.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
½

Offensive and controversial, yet laughable and actually right-on-spot with most of its gags and taunts. Borat exposes the true nature of American citizens and makes fun of their of their defects in a most ostentatious way. While it is perfectly rude, vulgar, and odious at times, Borat proves that the intercultural connection of the most shocking kind may provide for a proper laugh-out-loud comedy of the year. Borat on a journey to ridicule everything and everyone brings new levels of hilariousness.

The Men Who Stare at Goats

One can only wonder who came up with that title, and based a whole movie around it. It's perfectly implausible, although satirical and dark at times, and fails to be hilariously ridiculous war-comedy that it tried to be in the trailers. While it's perfectly strange in its nature, even the bleak performances from some A-list actors aren't able to bring us closer to this mysterious mess.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

AS lighthearted as it is silly, Zack and Miri Make a Porno makes a good case for people, who don't really have any enlightening ideas about how to earn some money. It's totally predictable, given that the socally-awkward and shy Zack tries to get laid and arranges an intriguing business plan that also includes his crush Miri. While the two struggle with their low-budget porno studio, they unsurprisingly start to have feelings for each other. Kevin Smith directed an ordinary comedy that won't appeal to a bigger audience for sure.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

I just wis they would stop making those really unnecessary remakes. Even though this one may be somehow more enjoyable than the previous one, it still doesn't offer anything spectacular. Johnny Depp's charm starts to diminish in all the chaotic and messy storytelling. Clearly not playful as it should be, and everyone around Depp is unimpressive. Brings back some of the charm from the first installment, but, finally, some hits but mostly misses.

Colombiana
Colombiana(2011)
½

Very unimaginative and simply derivative exotic thriller that shows one woman's struggle to avenge their parents and bring down all the bad guys on the way. Colombiana is like the South American Bride from Kill Bill, but with no guts to show her full potential. A dreadful plot in a bleak spectacle. Action-focused, it sometimes gives pleasure through the visual effects.

Death Becomes Her
½

Showing some cheap thrills and rather mildly amusing story, Death Becomes Her is sometimes joyful in its oh-so-magical, perfectly weird way. The pairing of Bruce Willis and Meryl Streep can never go wrong, and that's a fact. But as their characters don't show too much of heart and soul, then it becomes a problem. It's a manic, ridiculous, but generally laughable dark comedy that doesn't stop to surprise with its Botox-infested, out-of-this-world, gruesome formula for hilariousness.

Hercules
Hercules(1997)
½

Mythologically-accurate (so to say), colorful, funny epic tale about a muscular demigod, who is forced to save the world with his own powerful hands, and in the process, looks for some love in the form of a pretty, yet devious, Megara. The animation is simply beautiful, the characters look astonishing, even Hades seems more heartwarming than in the good-old Mythology. Action-packed, with great musical scores, Hercules brings pleasure to the whole family.

21
21(2008)

Tries to hard to be a fast-paced action-packed thriller that is also intelligent. While the subject matter is truly intriguing, this adaptation of Ben Mezrich's bestseller shows lack of passion and vision from the director. Based on a true story, it might've been a perfect presentation of a group of geniuses, who wanted to bring down Las Vegas. The students look actually more like party-going raunchy teens, than MIT prodigies. 21 is rather a slow and unsteady drama than a thrilling, mind-numbing, mathematically-adequate heist movie.

Sex Drive
Sex Drive(2008)
½

A rude and crude sex-teen comedy. Although it has some hilarious dialogues and gags, in the final evaluation it comes as a totally silly and awful movie that doesn't stand out from the crowd of other similar films. Raunchy and indigestive most of the time, Sex Drive is a road trip into the most absent-minded corners of the imagination.

The Yes Men Fix the World
½

Great performance pranks and taunts provide for a pretty laughable experience. With its quirky, ridicule evaluation of the capitalistic contemporary world, The Yes Men show how easy it is to manipulate some people and how hard it is to change others. Absurdly satirical outlook of the private sectors that keep the big money and intend to make us believe that they actually are responsible for the prosperity of the regular folks. The powerful corporations have never looked more silly.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
½

Totally nostalgic and packed with powerful musical touch, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is a happy-go-lucky movie that might definitely please with its warmness and perfectly simple storyline. Great onscreen romance between the socially-awkward Michael Cera and chilled-out Kat Dennings. While it's slow-paced almost all the time, it has its refreshing moments of great explosive power, mostly in the sequences filled with vigorous musical blows. New York didn't look so magical and hearty in a long time.

Juno
Juno(2007)

A totally unexpected coming-of-age comedy. It's smart, adorable, sweet, sometimes challenging, and truly whimsy most of the time. Juno will definitely be remembered as one of the most darling takes on the problems of unplanned teenage pregnancy. The onscreen relationship between Ellen Page (best performance to date) and Michael Cera is so strong and adorable, that it makes Juno much more pleasurable. Even though the topic is very serious, the way Juno deals with it makes the whole problematic idea disappear in the perfectly heartwarming atmosphere of the film.

Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist(2005)
½

Enjoyable take on the classic Charles Dickens' novel. With the fantastic sets design, make-up and costumes the feel of a Victorian England is indisputable. It's a bit darker and more dynamic than any of the previous adaptations, thus making the Oliver Twist experience a bit more adult-focused. And that's a good thing, because more people will be able to enjoy it. Polanski's vision is great, though sometimes seems underdeveloped, but it remains both an engaging period drama and a refreshing look at one of the most beloved stories of our times.

Terminator Salvation

Totally unnecessary addition to the franchise. The machines creak, like they're all used up, the storyline is simply a barbaric attempt at reviving the great legend of the Terminator, but with truly damaging results. Even the computer-enhanced and refurbished Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't able to make it look more appealing. Even though Christian Bale tries his best to play the adult John Connor, his performance leaves much to be desired. A worthless summer movie, one that's really far from the original Terminator's glory. Great special effects though.

Dinosaur
Dinosaur(2000)

Stunning on the technical level, strong and moving on the narrative one. The era of dinosaur have never looked more astounding in a computer-animated fashion. And while the story is related mostly for children and is pretty heartwarming, it can be also a bit darker than one might think at times.

Ice Age
Ice Age(2002)
½

Quirky, sweet, laughable, and even witty. Ice Age is a very fine addition to the computer-animated genre. Closely following a group of casual animal friends, who embark on a great adventure (and funny too) to save a human child from the deadly and freezing nature of the ice age. It's definitely a heartwarming experience, though silly, but anyone can enjoy it, when in need of an animation comedy. The characters are hilarious and play together almost perfectly, and the voiceovers are rather strong too.

Flubber
Flubber(1997)

A total mess. Totally implausible, with dull performances and a creature that seems disgusting rather than funny. While it has its moments of sheer joy, Flubber goes down as one of the un-funniest comedy remakes. The amount of silliness is just too high.

The Sixth Sense

Creepy, haunting, yet very intelligent and intriguing, The Sixth Sense goes deep into the human psyche. One of Shyamalan's most achieved creations, this suspenseful ghost story proves that some people are different, and that doesn't necessarily means that they're worse than others. The little boy's ability to see dead people may definitely send chills down the spine, but it may also prove to be a superpower that allows to movie imaginations and contact some of those, who we miss so dearly. And as we are drawn deeper and deeper into the intrigue, and the boy's uncanny relationship with a child psychologist (great Bruce Willis) there may occur some strange consequences for both of them. Smart and scary, it gives and ending that everyone will remember for years.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.
½

It's like a return of the screwball comedy presented in the modern rom-com way. While the story is generally silly, filled with sexual tension and, sometimes filthy, dialogues, it's generally one of the most watchable comedies of 2011. It doesn't insult the intelligence in any way, and it's whimsy for its own good. Definitely a refresher in the genre, and the well-known cast does a terrific job of making this romantic comedy with a twist look hilarious and touching at the same time. And Ryan Gosling's sense of style is undeniable.

High School Musical
½

I don't believe that even the biggest musical fans will be amused by this childish Disney fairy tale-like story, so full of flaws. While the choreography is decent, and some songs might seem catchy, the story is totally silly and full of un-charm. Fortunately, for the sake of the whole franchise, its main reason is to entertain die-hard fans of the 'new Disney generation'. And for those young viewers I say - don't believe that high school looks like this, it's all a bunch of preposterous lies.

Zemsta
Zemsta(2002)
½

A great and humorous Polish history epic. Andrzej Wajda's adaptation of a renowned Polish comedy stays strong with its witty and amusing dialogues, and stellar performances by the whole ensemble cast. There is even Roman Polanski in one of his quirkiest roles. Great tale about the battle of the sexes and a fine commentary on the gentlefolks' tradition and culture. While it may not be as pleasurable as it is for Poles, it is a recommended view for all the cinema fans.

Garfield - The Movie
½

Garfield would be better off in his cozy comic books. With the transformation to a big screen, the lazy and always-hungry cat lost all his verve and isn't actually funny anymore. Even the voiceover by Bill Murray isn't able to save him. And the childish story showed in this comedy would make a good one-page adventure in his famous comic strips.

Ghost
Ghost(1990)

A heartwarming and pleasurable take on a ghost-human relations of the most spiritual kind. Great performance by Whoopi Goldberg makes the movie really enjoyable and this much funnier. Patrick Swayze as a ghost is pretty believable in his lifeless condition. A bit of romance, a bit of mystery, and a bunch of ideas that movie the imagination. Ghost is the truly positive spirit of the 90's.

Troy
Troy(2004)
½

Although it lacks some depth in its writing and storytelling, it still is a visual feast for an eye and a summer movie that stuns with its epic tale of love, war, hatred, and big wooden horses. Brad Pitt does good Achilles, and in the end becomes more of a person than a demigod that he is.

Eden Lake
Eden Lake(2008)
½

Well-exectued and totally creepy British cult-horror. It shows a terrifying story about a couple's romantic vacation gone awry, because of a bunch of up-to-no-good hoodlums. It's rather fast--paced and tense all the time, and presents some really gory and bloody scenes of utmost violence. There is no limit for a bunch of youngsters, not concerned with the consequences of their actions, for whom torturing other people seems like great fun. The ending is totally depressing. However, it's still filled with cliches and implausibility that downgrades the horror's appeal. All in all, Eden Lake is good, but not great. Doesn't offer anything fresh, except whole new levels of an inhumane cat-and-mouse game.

Dorian Gray
Dorian Gray(2009)
½

A creepy and nightmarish atmosphere, and some haunting visuals on the plus side. But that may be all, unfortunately. Dorian Grey is a weak re-imagination of an old gothic tale about a boy, who gives away his soul and gets eternal youth and beauty. And as one can imagine, strange and horrible things are about to happen, as the lavish and egocentric aristocrat realizes that while he stays young, he is drawn deeper and deeper into evil corners of a human's mind. Without a soul, he is nothing, and the burning guilt of his selfish actions start to turn his playboy-life upside down. While the story seems appealing in the book, the movie is just too lengthy and messy to be called a fine adaptation.

Sucker Punch
Sucker Punch(2011)

Derivative fantasy epic, that might seem technically astounding (nice camera shots, and a few slow-motion gems), but without a story what is there to recommend. Sucker Punch fails almost on every level, with its unsuccessful attempt at being a fanciful story. While the girls are sexy, and their imagination creates strange, yet spiffy visions, the overall composition looks too bleak and chaotic.

American Pie 5: The Naked Mile

So derivative that it's almost repugnant. While the franchise goes on with its infinite sequels/prequels/reboots/whatchamacallit, The Naked Mile is just another crude and vulgar film that attempts to be funny. Maybe some will find it amusing, but I don't really want to know these people.

Scary Movie 4

A foul attempt of a sequel. It's only point is to make some big bucks. Nothing fresh, the jokes reek of desperation, and the spoofs are becoming less and less laughable and plausible. Let's just hope that this will be the last installment in this doleful franchise.

Battle: Los Angeles

A superfluous movie about a war with aliens, that aren't meant to be seen for most of the time. If that's supposed to set the tone, bring suspense and thrill, the method fails miserably. Battle: LA is just another blockbuster that instead of focusing on improving its dull storyline, gives too much attention to special effects, which in the final evaluation don't provide any entertainment. A total bore and waste of time.

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor(2001)
½

An epic movie that in the final evaluation comes as a bore. While it might pay a tribute to the courageous soldiers fighting in Pearl Harbor for America's glory, the bleak performances, dull romantic subplot (which seems to be more of a plot really) and childish dialogues downgrade the fun of watching this film. However, to be a little more positive, the action scenes and its visual style is astounding. Michael Bay is a true king of big-budget kitsch and bore.

World Trade Center

Not really a stunning movie, but a great tribute in itself. Without the respect and its heartfelt values it wouldn't be really as powerful as it is. Oliver Stone's direction is rather strong and steady, but the whole tone of the film is simply monotonous. While the story has deep emotional force, it might be really more applicable to younger viewers that want to get in touch with those horrible events of 9/11.

Scary Movie
Scary Movie(2000)
½

For people, who aren't familiar with the horrors, which are parodied here, Scary Movie may come as a totally stupid and unnecessary film. But for die-hard fans of the genre, and for those, who actually like to see their favorite movies ridiculed unscrupulously, Scare Movie will be a perfect spoof with some finely-timed gags and amusing references. The characters leave a lot to be desired. While the movie is rather ugly, it has its own sense of ugliness.

United 93
United 93(2006)
½

Deeply emotional and grievous take on the horrible destiny of the United 93 flight and all its crew-members and passengers. The whole movie is showed in real time, and it's great that the actors are unknown, because it only intensifies the experience and gives the audience a cast that anyone can relate to. Controversial and fast-paced, it shows how brave and heroic people can be at times of enormously calamitous events. The courage of men and women on-baord will be always remembered, and United 93 shows their personal tragedies in a most persuasive manner. Proper reconstruction of the events.

Not Another Teen Movie

Although it's supposed to be a naughty, rude, witless and asinine spoof of the whole teen genre, it's definitely overdone and too soulless to be called a fine one. Not Another Teen Movie serves its purpose in a mildly amusing way, giving some of the most offensive and repulsive gags ever. However, as stupid and unimaginative as it is, the movie still has the guts to make the viewer laugh at times.

Tamara Drewe
Tamara Drewe(2010)
½

In terms of a trivial good-bad rating system, not exactly good, but definitely not bad. Quirky, yet not gleeful, unimaginative, yet not repetitive. Tamara Drewe is simply an ordinary comedy that may be amusing for some, but dull for others. Filled with bodily tensions and battle of the sexes as its prime subject, it plays rather like a TV movie that is good for a lazy Sunday afternoon on a couch.

Away We Go
Away We Go(2009)
½

very nostalgic, quirky and lighthearted dramedy that serves as a perfect evaluation of a couple at-odds with their inner feelings and their, sometimes really inconsistent, desires. Away We Go is a journey of two loving people, who look for a perfect place to raise a child, and in the process, find more about themselves than they thought. And as they travel, the viewer goes along on this road trip to self-discovery. A daring, and pensive in its mood, feel-good movie.

Arthur
Arthur(1981)
½

A funny and amusing tale about a spoiled millionaire, who didn't spend even one day in his entire life working. Heartwarming and jocund in its mood, Arthur brings joy for the whole family and with its whimsy attitude delivers some proper laughs. Liza Minnelli is stunning, Dudley Moore is adequate as the sweet, yet frustrating rich-man looking for a true love. As the story goes, the action becomes more engaging and provides for a lot of fun.

Abduction
Abduction(2011)

A total disaster of a movie, a wreck from minute one. not even mildly amusing or thrilling, this slow and unimaginative 'mystery' movie shows that Taylor Lautner probably should fine another line of work. Still, no other actor could save the movie. It's like a cliche of all the action movies combined, combined with a totally childish feel and no atmosphere. Abduction is abduction-free and will be shortly forgotten.

The Happening

A total mess and a story so ridiculous and implausible in its general idea, that it makes the awful experience even worse. Mark Wahlberg hit the ground with his one-dimensional performance as a man, who tries to save his family from a human-killing trees. Just reading about it makes me laugh, but the movie caused more repulsion than laughter actually. Far from being scary, a disaster-movie that shows - once more - Shyamalan's shameful affection with horrible story lines.

Knowing
Knowing(2009)
½

The movie doesn't get all that nasty only because of Nicolas Cage's dull performance, but also because of its derivative and humdrum storyline. Some of the scenes may be entertaining, and maybe even intriguing, but overall Knowing serves as a sci-fi fairy tale that longs to be put on a dusty shelf with other similarly futile titles.

Whatever Works
½

Unsuccessful attempt by Woody Allen. While Larry David is perfectly proper - like always - as the eccentric, egocentric, smart, derisive, obsessive-compulsive aging man, who is full of hate for the world around him. Secretly it makes you think that all of this anger and reluctance is caused by the man's inability to find a nice girl and get laid, trivially speaking. This off-beat comedy doesn't offer anything fresh, and you will definitely forget about it after only a few months after you saw it.

Burn After Reading
½

With a sense of macabre and amusement at the same time, Burn After Reading looks exactly like a Coen movie from beginning till the end. It's a complex - sometimes actually overdone - story about carless CIA informants, and a couple of dimwits working at a local gym, who somehow find themselves in the middle of a world-wide conspiracy. The characters are adequate for a Coen movie, as every person is perfectly unique and peculiar. Brad Pitt is probably the most funny of them all, as a total addle-brained man. A Black Comedy that marks the return of classic Coens.

Holy Rollers
Holy Rollers(2010)
½

Too slow and too uneventful to offer anything truly appealing. Overly cliched, with humdrum performances by most of the actors (maybe except the always-socially-awkawrd-but-still-funny Jesse Eisenberg). A story - inspired by true events - about a group of Jews smuggling drugs to America sounds promising on paper, but with major flaws in the direction department it lacks the verve. Worth one watch, but don't expect to remember the whole intrigue a year later.

Me and Orson Welles
½

A smart drama with a salient comedic feel. The biggest quality of the movie comes from the almost-perfect performance by Christian McKay. Halfway into the movie, he really makes you believe that you're not looking at an actor, but at the real-life Orson Welles. That's what good acting for film is about. McKay did his research and perfected Welles' mannerism, self-centeredness, voice style, and affection for details. Zac Efron plays well as the dreamer, who got a role in Welles' stage play by chance, and now lives up to set the bar high and reach for the stars. With a bit of romance, charisma, and jocund feel, Me and Orson Welles feels like a bright theatre spectacle by itself.

The Seventh Seal (Det Sjunde inseglet)

Talking about a classic. There is nothing left to say about The Seventh Seal, but to confirm that it's a masterpiece and a pitch perfect landmark in the long history of art house movies. Ingmar Bergman's auteur approach to the notions of religion, atheism, symbolism, human condition, war-time, life and death, good and evil. Exceptional black-and-white cinematography, most memorable chess-game scene, intelligent, mind-engaing and provocative dialogues, controversial topics, and the list goes on... It's a movie that classifies in the 'journey' category. An existentialist journey that reveals more about humanity and its vulnerability than people can imagine. A true eye-opener.

Revenge of the Nerds

A true juvenile comedy that makes fun of coming-of-age and delivers some hilarious gags, with its immortal clash between jocks and nerds. With an impeccable 80's feel, Revenge of the Nerds will not only make you laugh, but also give ideas of the utmost silly manner. Filled with sexual tension and amusing stunts, it's worth a watch and a few laughs.

Never Let Me Go

A spiritual journey into the darkest corners of our minds and a discovery that shocks with its senselessness. Three socially-awkward boarding-school students attempt to live their lives as normally as they can, after a series of events and revelations that turned their world upside down. A depressing tale about love, loss, and inability to adapt to the modern society. While they long for a life devoid of horror, their own emotions and imagination drives them apart and forces them to confront their own moral code. Makes the viewer think and reminisce about his/her own past.

Le Havre
Le Havre(2011)
½

A heartwarming and smart movie. An old, eccentric shoeshiner living in a quiet French harbor finds a young African refugee on his doorstep one day. The movie shows his compassionate and brave struggle to save the child from deportation, and his, sometimes hilarious, encounters with police enforcer, who's stepping on his toes all the time. With its melancholic and nostalgic atmosphere, Le Havre reminds a bit of the classic French movies, and juxtaposes it with the modern-day lives of French citizens. Andre Williams is great as the protector, and forms a strong onscreen bond with the little, scared, yet courageous little boy. Aki Kaurismäki gives the movie a charming, whimsical touch.

Czech Dream
Czech Dream(2003)
½

A very decent movie about the true, destructible nature of consumerism and how easy it is to manipulate people in the contemporary world. Only a few, shiny, glittering and fancy marketing tricks may turn people into blind, money-spending machines, insatiable for their own sake. It's intelligent, a bit resembling the Morgan Spurlock documentaries, but all in all it's a prankster's dream and a movie that provides a truly scary message.

Dog Day Afternoon

A unique and deeply emotional drama, which shows a bank robbery gone awry. The movie's great tension comes from the fact that even though it has a timespan of only few hours, the mood changes constantly as the exposure of the character's inner fears and needs gradually comes to fruition. Al Pacino is great as the clumsy, yet determined bank robber, who became sort of a celebrity through all his wrongdoings. While the robbery doesn't go as planned, Sonny slowly shows his true self, as his insatiate desire to become a star exceeds the urge to steal the money. Unfortunately, his friend Sam isn't as strong and charismatic. He starts to crack, and feels weaker and weaker every minute, and wants for this nightmare to end. And it ends, but not nearly as perfect as the boys imagined. A clever play on cliches, with an emphasis put on the society's reaction to a horrible event, which actually comes as more entertaining that harrowing in the final evaluation. An iconic movie, supported by electrifying performances by Al Pacino and John Cazale. A bank robbery that turned out to be a reality show for the masses. Intriguing.

Scent of a Woman

With a very impressive and heartfelt storyline, Scent of a Woman shows Al Pacino's most distinct performance ever. Strong and bold, sometimes wrongly accused of being a show-off, Pacino IS the movie. Charlie, a young, shy, yet smart college students take a job that requires some courage and determination - looking after an eccentric, blind man Frank. As they go to New York to visit Frank's family, they start a rather predictable, yet full of fun and amazements, weekend that nearly ends up in a disaster. Intelligent, and skillfully made, Scent of a Woman may astound with its emotional baggage and, once again, marvelous, Oscar-worthy performance by Al Pacino.

Shrek
Shrek(2001)
½

So fresh, so hilarious, so Shrek-tastic. This is the greatest animated spoof of all the major fairy tales ever created. The story of a violent and crude ogre and his peculiar donkey-friend Donkey bring enormous joy to both kids and adults. The story is very innovative in its parody-stylization, and the amount of sheer mockery that comes off the screen is gigantic. Saving the Queen and defeating an evil Lord has never been more cheerful and positively irreverent. And moralizing too!

Shrek the Third
½

They should've stooped with Shrek 2, really. This movie doesn't show anything new and thus, begins to looks to look forced. It's not that funny anymore, the dialogues seem to be out of place, and the is rather dull. While the characters may be likable, the new movie definitely isn't. The Shrek franchise probably needs to earn more money.

Shrek Forever After

Although the story might be more entertaining than the previous one, I still think that Shrek's fantastical adventures in the magical and colorful world should've ended with the second installment. The new characters don't bring enough freshness to save Shrek's shattered reputation, and even the kids might seem offended by the downgrade of their favorite animation. The ogre would be better off by staying in his peaceful hut for good.

Shrek 2
Shrek 2(2004)

Shrek didn't loose his charm - and perfect comedic timing - to still provide entertainment of the most hilarious kind. The story is fresh and doesn't even seem repetitive. The voiceovers are as strong as they've been previously, and the animation even looks a bit enhanced for the eye's pleasure.

The Lion King

Simply beautiful. The movie that made my childhood this much happier. Stunning animation, a whole-hearted and gorgeous story, and very likable characters. What's not to love in this Disney movie?

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
½

Very entertaining adventure movie and a decent adaptation of two well-known novels. Russell Crowe shows he has guts to be a true commander on a journey to conquer the water of Europe. And in one scene, he shows courage and determination to even perform a bloody operation on himself, without any anesthesia. Fine war-time epic filled with pretty astounding visuals and some tense on-sea combats.

Saw III
Saw III(2006)

So repetitive, so implausible, so idiotic, so boring. Maybe the blood, gore and suffering are still there, but even the tortures lost their freshness. A great way to destroy a franchise, and we're only halfway through.

Terror by Night

While on a train, many strange things might happen. And Sherlock Holmes is prepared for this kind of events. THe story concerns a precious and valuable diamond, which brings nothing but murder and intrigue into the lives of seemingly innocent passengers. Dr. Watson tries to show his own deductive skills at one point, but fails miserably, in the most funny way one can imagine. Basil Rathbone still strong, stylish, persuasive, elaborate, and eloquent as true master-detective should be. Terror by Night rises high, while having some flaws, and is rather shot, but still gives a pleasure through it's well-written plot.

The Mask
The Mask(1994)
½

Full of energy and rather maniacal power. The Mask is full hilarious gags, even though most of them are really silly and crude. There are some memorable one-liners, coming from the hot-headed green-faced 'avenger', who instead of helping others with his superpower, sometimes turn to using it to make fun of other, innocent people. But, in the end, he turns out to be the masked savior, while clumsy and obsessive-compulsive, but still showing much vigor. With an adorable dog by his side, and a rather good performance by Cameron Diaz, Jim Carrey shows himself as one of the funniest comedians of the 90's.

Sherlock Holmes - Dressed to Kill

A final installment in the long and famous series of Sherlock Holmes mysteries starring Basil Rathbone as the detective himself. Very interesting storyline, major twists that make it much more engaging. The dialogues are full of wit ant style, the relationship between Holmes and Dr. Watson is fantastic, as the final one should be, and the fast-paced action gives the chills. Music boxes never looked that creepy.

Sherlock Holmes and the Woman in Green

A perfectly appropriate installment in the magnificent good-old series about the world's most famous detective. Basil Rathbone shines on screen, while Nigel Bruce gives the whole story a decent comedic touch. Someone is ruthlessly killing women and dismembering their fingers. The whole purpose of those actions need to be deduced, and quickly, by no one other than Mr. Holes. Strong case, many twists and engaging storyline make this a very satisfying entry in the franchise. And Henry Daniell makes a devilish professor Moriarty, Holmes' most deceptive enemy of them all.

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon

One of the worse Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone as the leading man. While Holmes' indisputable style and wit are still intact, and Dr Watson is as clumsy and funny as always, the action is simply too slow, and the mystery doesn't seem engaging enough. While most of the other installment in the long series seem strong, the clash between the legendary and his arch nemesis seems too bleak to fully entertain.

Sherlock Holmes
½

An entertaining movie, but not in the good-old smart Sherlock Holmes way. It doesn't give a true boost to this classic tale about a a legendary detective and his sidekick Dr. Watson. While the casting is pretty great, the action sequences beautiful in their visual style, the direction may not be actually as compelling. The story brings joy, and allows the viewer to interact with its mysterious, though comedic, atmosphere and play around with the clues to achieve the final conclusion. Additionally, some stunning slow-motion sequences.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
½

Nice acttion sequences, some fine gags, it even looks superior to his predecessor, yet Holmes' adventures nowadays seem a bit out of place and too modern in order to fully satisfy.

Batman Begins

A great beginning to Nolan's trilogy. Shows Batman's utmost fears, giving a fine psychological insight into the character. Spectacular action scenes and stunning cinematography.

London Boulevard

Violent and rude British-style, it's only another one of the low-brow thrillers that don't offer anything fresh. Colin Farrell plays a brutish hunk and womanizer, who places himself in the middle of a deadly intrigue, and Keira Knightley as his shallow compadre, and love interest. Too straightforward and actually hackneyed in its subject matter.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The first installment in the series based on well-known bestsellers for younger audience. While the story is actually simple and heartwarming, though that's its assumption, the effects are really more than that. The moment the viewer enters the world on the other side of the magical wardrobe, the wizardry and enchantment starts to gleam from every corner of the screen. Marvelous visuals are nearly perfect, and the CGI wise lion is truly the most elaborate and the strongest of all characters. The subject material is trivial and foreseeable, but the way its portrayed makes the overall experience a bit more pleasurable.

Eragon
Eragon(2006)

Basically, it's a PG-rated entertainment for kids. Everyone above 10 years old (or maybe the bar should be lowered a little?) will be bored and even embarrassed by this rip-off of other, most prominent and more compelling works in the 'hero's journey; category. This movie is so cliched and uninteresting that it's even hard to watch. While the book written by a kid for kids is okay, and provides a one-day fun read, the movie comes as a big-budget movie that will be quickly forgotten. And that may be actually good both for the director, and for the actors.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
½

Totally unnecessary sequel. Makes the whole franchise look even worse. While the special effects are eye-poping as always, the story is so shallow and childish, and the characters so fanciful. And definitely, the movie is too long, makes you realize, after about you're half-in, how much of the precious time you've just wasted. The Transformers alone won't save the world, and they definitely won't save the reputation of the franchise with this attitude.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Megan Fox is still sexy, but her acting is still horrible. And the story doesn't get much of an improvement either. The talking-robots are trivial, the action is weak, proving that a sequel, which shows nearly the same story as its predecessor may not come out ahead. Transformers fail every time. The animated series is better, I assure you. Michael Bay just brought a new level of 'ridiculous' to his filmmaking career.

Transformers
Transformers(2007)
½

While it makes a good use of the animated series, the overall entertainment is not on a very high level. The smash-and-crash extravaganza seems less and less engaging with every minute, and believe, there's lots of them. A typical blockbuster made to stun the masses. Shia Labeouf isn't that bad, and Megan Fox is sexy, but her performance is terrible. Those large and technically-advanced toys should have stayed in their boxes for the summer.

The Other Guys

Not as funny and witty as you might hope it would be, but still the good cop-bad cop routine delivered by Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell is enormously laughable. The Other Guys closely follow 'the dumber guys' in what seems to be a smart parody of the thrilling police movies from the earlier decades. With its action sequences taken straight out of a comic book, and dialogues that are simply hilarious, the movie shows Adam McKay's crafty skills. Silly, but a great popcorn flick when you need some relaxing time.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
½

Underdeveloped, and too confusing for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. While its beautiful on the technical level, the story is plainly boring. While the topic of an everyman traveling through the vast spaces of the never-ending universe might be compelling on paper, the way it's portrayed in the movie makes you realize that you're better off sitting at home reading this short review. Some funny segments, and the Marvin character is heartwarming, but that may be all.

8 Mile
8 Mile(2002)
½

A cliched, though fas-paced and sentimental - story about an aspiring artist and his constant struggle to overcome the poverty and violence and become one of the greatest rap stars in the country. Loosely based on Eminem's own life, an urban tale that comes as rather weak and insipid. While Kim Basinger delivers, Eminem is better off sticking to rapping than trying to be an actor.

I Am Legend
I Am Legend(2007)
½

With more horror than heart, I Am Legend is an overall decent movie, about the last 'living' man on Earth and his struggle to survive in a vampire-infested world. Although the story sometimes reeks of kitsch, Will Smith's performance is able to compensate for some of the major flaws. One of the most promising blockbusters of the year, with an ending that is close to earth-shattering.

Torn Curtain
Torn Curtain(1966)
½

A spy thriller that downgrades its own appeal with repetitions and too much of a resemblance to some of Hitchcock's earlier films. While the story is suspenseful as always, and shows some terrific acting skills both by Paul Newman and Julie Andrews, it doesn't come as compelling enough most of the time. A politically-provoking story of a double agent, who moves from the USA to East Germany, and is drawn into an intrigue that, when revealed, may have critical consequences for both sides of the Cold War wall. Although it is really too long, it still remains an above-average thriller and marks Hitchcock's return to movies that deal with war-related matters.

Shadow of a Doubt

The first of many of Hitchcock's well-known masterpieces. While most of his earlier works were stupendous and truly suspenseful, Shadow of a Doubt brought thriller genre to whole another level. It's a story so dramatic and nightmarish in its subject matter, and so rich and captivating in its performances. The narrative doesn't stop to build-up the suspense, and while the viewer knows for most of the time what's really going on, the true quality of the movie comes from the fact that the players don't know, and we're anxious all the time, being unable to help them in any way. That's true realism of this tale. And it's also disturbing. A story about a girl, who becomes convinced that her mysterious uncle is a deadly killer on-the-loose, but isn't able to convince other family members, as there are too little clues and evidence. Great juxtaposition of two marvelous actors, Joseph Cotten as an uncle-from-hell and Theresa Wright as the overly suspicious, yet astute girl with a bold attitude. A Genuine psychological thriller.

The Birds
The Birds(1963)
½

A film that deeply influenced the attack-of-the-deadly-animals genre. In a remote village something strange is about to happen, and we almost immediately know it. But the key to The Birds' success is its fantastically timed element of suspense, a build-up manner that only Hitchcock could provide with such utter perfection and distinction. Tippi Hedren is great as the woman, who has to battle a bunch of deadly, fast and vicious birds swarm all over a seemingly peaceful city and violate its citizens one by one. In the most memorable scene, the black birds flying all over the place look like a dark fog, that actually devours everything on its way. The people are panicking, but there is no possibility of stopping this murderous onslaught from the sky. After this harrowing climax, there is a sense of tranquility in the air, as the main characters get out from their devastated house and see their canine enemies sitting all around, not moving, yet still imitating pure horror. Hitchcock's classic, sends chills down one's spine. It even got turned into a scare-ride in the famous Universal Studios.

Marnie
Marnie(1964)
½

While it may not be most captivating of Hitchcock's works, Marnie still carries an enormous emotional baggage and frightening story, and it actually may be just valuable in the final evaluation as some of his more notable films. Great psychological study of a mysterious woman - and an obsessive-compulsive thief -haunted by her troubled past. Her bloody nightmares, so visually harrowing on-screen, not allow her to form any kind of a relationship with men. One of them, a handsome and rich Sean Connery, tries to make her fall in love with him. He ultimately learns about Marnie's true self and despises her, while still being fully enamored by her beauty. Even though Tippi Hedren is perfectly creepy in her role, Sean Connery doesn't rise to the role of a perfect partner, thus downgrading the overall look. All in all, Marnie is a very fine psychological thriller that builds its nightmarish mood on a fantastic score by Bernard Hermann.

Saboteur
Saboteur(1942)

Hitchcock loved to see his leading men suffer. Another murderous case of a mistaken identity and one man's thrilling journey to restore his shattered reputation. While the topic is familiar, the movie seems exceptional dude to Hitch's steady hand and auteur vision. The narrative might seem too rushed at times and underdeveloped, but it's still able to bring the suspense that the Master accustomed us to so dearly through the years.

The Trouble with Harry

A macabre whimsy. The Trouble With Harry doesn't offer any stellar performances from its cast, but the ridiculous, yet smartly executed, script makes it very enjoyable. In a small village, where nothing really happens a dead body is found. And all would be fine if it weren't for the fact the the panicked citizens of this secluded community don't really know what to do with the body - hide it somewhere or leave it in the woods. Harry's corpse begins a showcase of laughters, amusing dialogues, strange situations. Ultimately, all the confused players think that they had something to do with the death and start to act strange, also blaming others. A black comedy that is delightful in its tone, yet subtly gruesome in its narrative. Worth a watch.

Deep Blue Sea
½

Worse than classic Jaws, still has the guts to scare at times. However, I do believe that when something goes wrong and the battle for survival begins, people don't act in such a ridiculous way as those one-dimemnsional figures in Deep Blue Sea do. The smart-sharks look good, but the whole movie look rather bleak. Terror in a not-so-thrilling version.

King Kong
King Kong(2005)
½

A poor remake, which focuses too much on the visual effects and, thus, lacks something in-between the shots. Too long and too stagnant at times, that's why I'd much rather suggest you go and watch the original.

A Streetcar Named Desire

A deeply moving film, so emotional and so heartbreaking that it's sometimes painful to watch, in all its smashing and stunning glory. The main quality of the movie is shown in the brilliant performances by Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando and Kim Hunter. Actually, the whole ensemble cast is perfect. So sorrowful, full of anger, tormenting and haunting story about a great tragedy, loss of innocence and degradation of love. Ella Kazan directed this movie based on a classic play with a great attention to details, showing every aspect in an utmost shocking manner. While the disaster seems inevitable, the final scene and its horror are still more powerful than anyone could've imagined. A legendary movie, so distressing and depressing in its clarity, that it makes it unable to be forgotten.

Witness for the Prosecution

Great courtroom noir with a twist in the finale that will surprise and shock everyone. Powerful performance by Charles Laughton as an ill, but marvelously strong and ambitious barrister, who takes on a case that will make his life harder than he could've imagined. Tyrone Power shows his more sinister side, as he tries to persuade Laughton of his innocence. While the case starts to take on a very complex and mysterious turn, the clues and confessions start to diverge into some very different conclusions. With some comedic touches, this is a great combination of suspense and legal thriller, that also has some impressive court scenes, very intense and fast-paced. Billy Wilder created yet another smart and refreshing movie, that is a brilliant ode to Agatha Christie's masterpiece.

Touch of Evil
½

Probably the darkest, and not only in its visual style, but also in its baffling storyline, of all of Orson Welles' works. Packed with believable emotional tension, truly suspenseful mood, and top notch performances. It shows a very sinister tale about corruption, greed, betrayal, and revenge. With his perfect, spellbinding artistic touch, Orson Welles created a true pulp thriller that is also a genuine noir. And he is great on-screen too, as the wicked and loathsome police chief, whose inauspicious side is slowly revealed. Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh act as a very strong duet and give the movie a more sensitive side. A controversial masterpiece.

The Rainmaker

Based on John Grisham's bestseller, The Rainmaker is a legal thriller that may satisfy with its visionary approach by Francis For Coppola and great acting by Matt Damon and Danny DeVito. Packed with fast-paced and simply entertaining courtroom scenes it grows stronger and stronger as we dive into this complex and suspenseful story that shows what it means for a few regular folks to fight a big-time powerful insurance company. With a strong bond between the two main characters, the story is very compelling, with smart dialogues and indisputable genius shown by Coppola, both in direction and in writing. Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes heartwarming, this may easily the most well-executed of all of Grisham's adaptation.

Rebel Without a Cause
½

Definitely one of the finest movies about teens not exactly for teens. Rebel Without a Cause made James Dean a star and even though he didn't have too much of a chance to show his fantastic acting skills later, his performance here will be always remembered. His indisputable style, arrogant attitude, handsomeness and accurate timing are simply stunning. The script is very enjoyable, smart and comedic at the same time. It's always funny to see young delinquents taunting themselves and playing tricks and pranks. And don't forget about the knife fights and totally dangerous car races. With a bit of passion and romance, this is a film that full of rage, torment, anger, dynamism, and compassion. With its pitch perfect direction this is definitely a true melo-drama masterpiece.

War of the Worlds

It may appeal to those, who didn't read the book or didn't see the original version. Otherwise, not as thrilling as it should, lacks suspense and emotional tension. Though on the technical it is very decent, War of the Worlds is only a mildly enjoyable sci-fi flick. And while some of the scenes are creepy and frightening in their tone, even Tom Cruise's overprotective performance isn't able to save the film.

The Mist
The Mist(2007)
½

While it's frightening and mysterious at the same time, it's also a great psychological evaluation of people's reaction to a horrifying event that places them in a very uncomfortable situation. While closed in a supermarket, in order to save themselves from a deadly myst, they become more and more anxious and scared with every second, thus creating a stressing aura. At one time they even resolve to occultist rituals and violence. It's great that the movie doesn't show what's actually causing all the death inside the thick myst, up until some point in the plot. That only enhances the experience. And the final scene may come as truly shocking, while showing the helplessness of one of the (un)lucky survivors.

The Day After Tomorrow
½

A typical summer blockbuster, whose main quality lies in the stunning visualization of a destroyed New York City. A catastrophe movie, which actually combines so many disasters in one place, that at some point it just becomes ridiculous. But with an enormous budget one can do exactly as he pleases, and The Day After Tomorrow may not be exactly thrilling, but it's pleasing to the eye and sometimes even the characters give more than the usual stagnant performances.

2012
2012(2009)
½

While the visuals may be stunning and eye-popping, this apocalyptic thriller is so weak and dull (even though some may claim that based on future events) that it's really not worth viewing. The characters act like senseless and mindless dolls, and there is nothing that may be called even mildly thrilling in this mess of a film. Maybe if it was shorter, but with almost 3 hours running time it's only going to bore you. One of the least engaging catastrophe movies ever.

Rebecca
Rebecca(1940)
½

Being the only one of Hitchcock's works that won the Oscar for Best Film, Rebecca is a spellbinding and totally unpredictable psychological thriller. First film that the Master made in America, it doesn't stop to shock and astound with it's mystic plot, enigmatic themes, Gothic feel and dense atmosphere that makes the viewer nervous by only watching this altogether haunting ghost story with a twist. With its myth of the titular Rebecca it's able to scare, and with it's great and handsome performances by Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine it's able to please the eye. It's creepy, suspenseful, and the most intriguing thing about it is the fact that this gripping suspense comes from the perfectly dialogue-driven narrative. A must-see Hitchcock classic.

Angels & Demons

While it doesn't necessarily show any improvements, and comes rather weak just as the previous version, i's definitely a bit more climatic and dark in its visual style. Tom Hanks embarks on yet another religiously controversial adventure, filled with many puzzling clues, mystery, symbolism, mysticism , and one deadly albino. Even though the action might be fast-paced, it doesn't seem to play well in correspondence with the chaotic narrative that sometimes goes goes awry and mistakes what's crucial to the plot and what's not. With it's metaphysical divagations and terrorist subtext, Angels & Demons isn't unfortunately an effective adaptation of the novel, and thus, shows another bleak attempt at creating a refreshing thriller.

To Have and Have Not
½

A powerful, absorbing, hard-boiled mystery story based on a fantastic novel by Ernest Hemingway. While it perfectly places itself in the war-thriller genre, it's also to fun to watch, because of the beautiful figure of Lauren Bacall. A suspenseful story about a strong, arrogant, and even self-centered owner of a chart boat - Harry Morgan - who runs contraband between French grounds (Devil's Island sounds about right), and is ultimately drawn in a politically-filled intrigue that may be as dangerous to him as it may be profitable. While he shows himself as a very stubborn man, he ultimately realizes that by helping the French resistance smuggle one of their operators, he may gain respect. In the meantime, he develops a romance with Mrs. Bacall character (and who wouldn't), who shows her singing talent in one of the most memorable, climatic scenes in the movie, which serves as a fine interlude to the thrilling plot. Apart from Bogart and Bacall's marvelous performance, there is also one person who needs to be mentioned for his great role - Walter Brennan, as the drunken, yet adorable friend to Harry Morgan. Howard Hawks created yet another deeply satisfying and refreshing adventure/noir movie.

The Da Vinci Code

Based on a bestseller it is a mildly engaging and puzzling thriller that's made to please the masses. As much as Paris looks beautiful, the story is correspondingly implausible and badly-directed. While the movie might come as engaging and intriguing, the movie looses all of this wit and charm. Tom Hanks' portrayal is one-dimensional and Audrey Tautou doesn't impress either. While it stirred a debate about its controversy and religious deviations, The Da Vinci Code is better left undiscovered, just as the mystery that it tries to reveal.

National Treasure

Superior to a somehow similar The Da Vinci Code, it marks Nicolas Cage's 'worse' period. However, as the viewers dwells into the puzzling story it might actually seem fun at times. While its designed for children and for their own amusement, this tale of an archeologist on a search for the treasure, which will change the way we perceive the world, might bring joy to adults too. It's flat on the technical level, and the effects don't seem exceptional too, but when you take it less seriously National Treasure might drag you into its riddle-within-a-riddle story.

The Rules of Attraction
½

As much as I liked the book, the movie is completely implausible and doesn't truly relate to this controversial novel, filled with sexual tension, shallow college students and their hedonistic desires. The narrative is completely chaotic, the characters are miscast, and the overall feel of the movie is indistinct. While Bret Easton Ellis remains the master of dark satire, Roger Avary makes a step into the 'bad' category.

Notorious
Notorious(1946)
½

Yet another masterpiece directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Notorious makes a great use of the the indisputable chemistry between Cary Grant (unexpected role) and Ingrid Bergman. It's uneasy in its atmosphere, and sophisticated in its narrative. Showing a merciful story about Nazi agents and espionage, combined with burning romance and devious intrigue, Notorious comes as a strong and imaginative movie that spellbinds with its thrilling noir feel and tense scenes. There is also a MacGuffin hidden in the plot, which is really a Hitchcock thing. A truly stylish auteur vision of the Master, Notorious will remain as sublime and efficient, as it is fascinating and smooth. It involves all that's best about Hitch - romance and suspense in its utmost stylish sense.

State of Play

With a proper amount of intriguing plot twists, great portrayals by Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, State of Play comes as a imaginative political thriller that's worth watching. Mysterious in its essence, shocking in its conclusion, it shows Kevin Macdonald's steady and subtle skills. He formed a genuine suspense tale, that's also sentimental at times, and even though it might feel rushed when it shouldn't, State of Play is a scandal-driven movie that will make the viewer think.

The Next Three Days
½

A failed attempt at creating a compelling thriller. The plot is dull and boring, the characters implausible, and the conclusion truly unsatisfying. It's almost absurd in its essence, and ends up being more funny than thrilling actually. It tries too hard to move forward with its flawed storyline, and even Russell Crowe isn't able to save The Next Three Days.

Good Night, And Good Luck

With its vintage atmosphere and pitch-perfect black-and-white cinematography, the movie makes a good use of George Clooney's crafty hand and engaging script. While it deals with real-life people and is set in real-life time and space, it shows a dramatized account of a journalistic rise and its battle to overcome political domination. With its controversial insinuations, and much influential appeal, it begins a tense, dialogue-driven war for the truth, no matter what consequences there might be. Crooked politicians attempt to change the country's position, and the only way to stop them is through the right to free speech and the power of the press, so perfectly used by Edward R. Murrow, one of the most iconic newsmen in American history. The film remains provocative and intriguing, and definitely marks Clooney's rise to directorial stardom.