Dr Who, a traveller in space and time, lands on a remote planet where he discovers two strange tribes; the Thals a race of beautiful humanoids living in simple ignorance in the forests, and the Daleks, a race of evil machine creatures living in a metal citadel. The Daleks plan to destroy the Thals, whom the Doctor must help by first convincing them of the danger they are in.
The BBC TV science-fiction show Dr Who is arguably the greatest British cult series of all time, and this is a smashing adaptation of Terry Nation's original serial featuring the Daleks - unforgettably monstrous, soulless, destructive, robotic fiends. The film benefits greatly from production values the TV show could only dream of - Bill Constable's sets are simply fantastic, particularly the Dalek city with its gleaming control rooms, sliding panels and trippy architecture. Unlike the serial, the movie is pitched squarely at children but is never stupid or condescending, and has all sorts of interesting themes going on; atomic mutation, space travel and (interestingly for a film made at the height of peacenik sensibilities) the inevitability of conflict. Cushing is as wonderful as always, playing the enigmatic Dr Who as a kindly, absent-minded grandfather figure. Whilst this may not be a great movie, it has action, style and charm to spare. A terrifically enjoyable sci-fi classic from the great producer team of Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg.
It's true: Linklater took 12 years to develop his family of characters. While I was intimidated by the 3 hour run time, I have to admit, there was not a moment of this film I could have done without.
This is more than a coming of age story; the title "Family" or "Motherhood" would be just as appropriate. Set in Texas, the screenplay is natural and reminiscent of plenty of Linklater's other work: a film that begins with dialog unlike any other Linklater films evolves into thoughtful, poignant discourse not unlike that from the "Before" series. One character in a late-night nacho scene was perhaps a callback to the heady "Waking Life." With that said, this absolutely is not a mere think piece. What makes this film truly fantastic is how accessible the material is, given its scope. Without giving any narrative away, I'll say that the story itself is absolutely engaging and not without surprises. I watched many films at Sundance 2014 (including comedies), and this was the first that had the audience reacting throughout: we laughed, gasped, covered our eyes, and I am sure more than a few of us wept.
The characters are well developed. Don't be fooled by the title --- the spirit of Boyhood is alive here, but the female characters are thoroughly developed, distinct, and alive. Unfortunately, though it's 2014, this is a rarity in cinema.
Like in "Waking Life" and "A Scanner Darkly", Linklater has again delivered true visual innovation. This time, however, his set-up is simple: shooting on film, Linklater replaced rotoscoping with time lapse. Has a single film ever intentionally traced a character over such a span of time? Linklater wisely chose to reveal the main character to us subtly. Despite this, the effect is riveting.
I am not exaggerating when I say that after I watched this film I sold all of my other tickets to Sundance films. Viewing Boyhood for the first time was such a joyful experience that I didn't want to tarnish the experience by any comparison. Everyone in the Eccles theater shared a special few hours together. Though this only premiered a few days ago, I am confident that this will go down as one of the most ambitious and rewarding film projects of our time.
Taken 3 is a step down from Taken 2, itself a lesser film than the original. But that is to be expected and forgiven. The title could be considered an unimaginative misnomer, but it makes marketing sense.
Aside from the part of Stuart (husband to Famke Janssen's Lenore), the casting is consistent. The addition of Forest Whitaker as a smart cop is for me something of a saving grace since Taken 3 offers up absurdities without question. On reflection, however, the plot has enough coherence to do the trilogy justice. Moreover, it is a joy to see Liam Neeson in this role again.
The director Olivier Megaton has an irksome penchant for frenetic, up-close, disorienting action sequences whereby shots are rarely longer than two seconds. He was a little better in this regard for Taken 2, which had the benefit of superior choreography.
Another personal point of contention is the casting of Sam Spruell as the top Russian villain. He has not an imposing physical constitution and quite frankly brings to mind Jim Carrey, who sported the same haircut in the Dumb and Dumber movies. Not at all what I want in a villain.
I generally enjoy the films I see, and this one-notwithstanding the negatives-is no exception. However, I would not recommend it for people who are more stern in matters of taste.
Ever had a dream of being a great football player? A great dancer? A great singer? A great musician? Our protagonist has a dream of being a great drummer, a drummer that will be remembered forever. Maybe you are still fighting for your dream. Maybe you have given up on greatness. Greatness doesn't come easily, you need to practice at it. Andrew practices until his hands bleed.
Andrew (Miles Teller) is 19-year old student at a music conservatory in Manhattan. Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) is a teacher at the conservatory with a ruthlessly brutal teaching style. After picking Andrew to play in the school band, he pushes Andrew to his limits in order to realize his full potential, at the risk of his humanity.
I had a billiards teacher at one point in my life, who was close to becoming a pro in his craft but a grease fire accident changed all that. His perspective changed, to paraphrase, he realized he was becoming an asshole. He became a teacher of pool instead of becoming a pro player. Through him, I can understand what Terrence Fletcher was trying to instill into Andrew. My teacher would push me a little bit. When he gave me opportunities to show him up, "run the table now," he would tell me, I failed. It's embarrassing when that happens but it's also a learning tool because more work needs to be done. You can't get by on talent alone but it certainly helps. On the other side of it, I saw a little bit of my teacher in Andrew. Losing who you are to perfect something you love. Good thing my teacher realized before it was too late.
I lost myself in the story. It had something to say about not settling and asking more of yourself. Two fantastic performances from Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. Perhaps it will push you to maybe pick up that guitar again, put on your ballet shoes, or hit the gym to bulk up. Whiplash is an incredibly powerful film. And after the final shot cuts to black, the film will stick with you for days.
My expectations: Medium. I did not expect the film to be so powerful for me. Expectations exceeded.
Recommendation: Cinema lovers and casual movie goers, I believe will enjoy this film.
Re-watch value: I can watch this film again and I actually can't wait until it hits distribution.
Memorable: I am still thinking about this film.
Going head to head with Boyhood for the Best Picture Oscar, this quirky meta-dramedy about a washed-up movie star attempting redemption on Broadway has generated much applause from critics around the world. It's not hard to see why, what with director Alejandro González Iñárritu's ambitious technical achievements, the razor sharp satirical screenplay and a bunch of soul-bearing performances. Presenting the story as one long continuous take, Iñárritu employs all the tricks of the trade in search of something unique and it largely pays off; his ever-flowing camera segues between scenes creating a dreamlike atmosphere. Finding where the shots have been joined, however, can at times distract from the emotional journey crafted by Iñárritu and his team of writers, in a script full of dark humour and irony. Unfortunately there's also a hint of pretension and self-satisfaction in Iñárritu's work - intentional and otherwise - that comes across as smug and, therefore, annoying. As Riggan Thomson, the former A-lister seeking professional rejuvenation on the stage, Michael Keaton gets a long- awaited opportunity to shine in a lead role and attacks it, for better and worse, with unbridled gusto. Ed Norton hogs the spotlight though, with a comedic turn as a supercilious stage actor looking for the "truth" in even the tiniest of things, whilst Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough and Amy Ryan round out the impressive cast. Birdman is clever, enterprising and admirably distinct, if occasionally laborious and inaccessible; it's not for everyone, but lovers of film and/or theatre should seek it out.