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Rating History

Snowden (2016)
5 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

An intriguing and thought-provoking, Snowden is the most curious fact-based story of one of the biggest recent whistleblowers. Meant to shock and to galvanize the masses when they face the frightening reality of post- modern surveillance and espionage world, this Oliver Stone delivery is not as sharp as many have hoped for. This would only evoke partial disappointment due to the fact that bolstered by the brilliant performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt , this movie could have been not only an entertaining and educating ride, but also a movie to re-ignite the questions brought up by the former CIA operative.
Director Oliver Stone starts from the beginning of Snowden's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) career at CIA. In this sense, his movie is not only a depiction of what happened but also an attempt to describe the character, values and transformation of a young man which led to the actions which later influenced the political and espionage landscape in the world. Stone's attempt is somehow overshadowed by the unnecessary focus on Snowden's romance with Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodly) which takes away huge part of the story's sharpness. The elements of having a nail-biting true-story thriller which will make you questions the US authorities are all presents, but unfortunately the romance softens everything. It is true that most probably Mills had a major impact on Snowden's decision, but nevertheless it all seems a bit artificial and sweetened throughout the whole movie. This is a real pity, because of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's amazingly convincing performance. His embodiment of the real Snowden is brought to perfection by delving deep in the smallest behavioral details such as facial expressions, gestures and even breathing and pausing when talking. With such a stellar performance, the movie could have matched the initial Oscar-level expectations and it could even have reached a level of at least getting a nomination or two.
Still, despite the partial disappointment of not being as sharp and provocative as the source material and the director's name predispose, Snowden is a well-made and thrilling take on a story which has not finished yet.....

The Wailing (Goksung)
5 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Weird, mysterious and certainly captivating The Wailing (Goksung) is a haunting art-house thriller which stuns with a disturbing story, down-to-earth settings and unique direction. Unusually long it maintains its diabolical grip on the audience and rewards it with a supernatural, mythologic and emotional story.
When a newcomer arrives to a South Korean village, he is met with suspicion by the locals. When suddenly several killings take place between members of the local community without a specific reason panic occurs and the investigating police office is forced to rely on unconventional methods to solve the case of the killings. The story develops in its own particular pace, which results in almost 160 minutes of weird film-making in which traditional rituals, exorcism and supernatural elements blend in an intimate and emotionally suffocating story. Visually impactful, though being without special effects, and kept down-to-earth and very local, The Wailing is a simple story which will keep you glued to the screen. The slow horror build-up, the revelation of sinister human relationships and the crawling, inevitable mystery uncovering are a stellar example of quality horror-thriller film-making.
A movie to impress and to challenge you, The Wailing is a most recommended delivery by director Hong-jin Na. A movie for people in love with Korean (and Japanese) film-making or fans of art-house challenges, Goksung is a truly unforgettable experience which is only a matter of time to be "covered" and "adapted" for mass Hollywood consumption.

Sully (2016)
6 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

An engrossing and most curious dramatic thriller, Sully is a formidable blend of stellar performance and flawless directing which make a well-known story a terrific 96-minute cinematographic ride. Tension-packed, and yet restrained and down-to-earth movie, this is a fine example how a great director and a great actor can turn a dry source material into a gripping thriller.
The story of amazing emergency landing of Airbus A-320 Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009 is one with well-known happy end. Therefore, the idea of making a movie about this event has always been an ambitious one, but thanks to the craftsmanship of Clint Eastwood the story has enough meaningful content to entertain and to thrill. The movie focuses actually not on the landing itself, but on the aftermath and the investigation that followed. By going back and forth in the timeline of events, the story carefully completes a puzzle which not only depicts the actual events, but also gives the audience a chance to learn more about Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger. Director Eastwood pays enough attention to delve deep into Sully's character, fears and even his own doubts during the formal investigation. This has definitely a significant impact on making the delivery so down-to-earth and simple, just in line with the humble and quiet character of the main hero from this "Miracle on Hudson River".
Speaking of Sully, it should be mentioned that Tom Hanks is the second, but not lesser, reason why this movie is such a haunted thriller and emotional drama. His stellar, quiet and sharp (when needed) performance perfectly resonates with Eastwood's attempt to deliver a movie about a normal person who turned hero. Hanks is so smooth and so natural in his performance that you will completely see the real Captain Sullenberger in him, even in the moments when he is insecure and emotionally vulnerable.
As a whole, Sully was made as an early-Oscar contender and even though it did not quite get the attention it was hoping for, the movie has all qualities of an award-season delivery. Gripping story, outstanding performances and successful emotional connection with the viewers is what makes the latest Clint Eastwood's movie such a pleasing film experience. A must see thriller!

Finding Dory
Finding Dory (2016)
6 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Colorful, funny and visually beautiful, Finding Dory is a most expected sequel to the all-time classic Finding Nemo, which simply delivers more of what made the original movie such a legendary animation. Loaded with family-friendly messages and exploring interesting social territories, the sequel lacks the originality and the moving power of its predecessor. It provides the feeling of "been there, seen that" and even if it is highly entertaining for kids, it will definitely be considered a lesser delivery by adults.
The story uses the same formula which was surrounding Nemo, but it also adds up a sort of complexity due to Dory's (Ellen DeGeneres) amnesia condition. Funny, fast-paced and filled with unexpected twists Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane's cartoon is a sort of wild ride in search of Dory's parents, while it also develop an intriguing sub-plotline related to Nemo and Nemo's father parent-son relationship. Unfortunately, Pixar's delivery lacks the originality and the emotional grip which Finding Nemo had 13 years ago. It is all fun, it has some powerful moments, but the predictability makes it impossible to be fully absorbed by the story. Add-up also a second half of the story that seems even unrealistic from kids' perspectives and you will get a delivery which is pleasing for children, but not entirely interesting for adults. Several truly funny characters, such as the hilarious octopus, are capable of maintaining the overall high fun level, but still Finding Dory can never escape from the label "been there, seen that".
In conclusion, if you have kids, Finding Dory is a must have for your collection and it is always nice to see it with them. It may also be enjoyable if you watch it without having kids around, but then it will be just one of the many colorful and lively animations that have been made recently: it will entertain, but it will be forgotten after some time.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
12 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A treat for the fans of Tim Burton Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is another weird, whimsical and of course gothic-infused movie which will either make you love it or hate it. Far from being perfect, the adaptation of Ransom Riggs' best-seller succeeds to overcome its narrative and plot flaws thanks to its touching content, family-friendly messages and emotional take on human loneliness.
Jake (Asa Butterfield) is a troubled American teenager who has grown up with the weird stories of his grandfather Abe from the time when Abe was in Wales during the WWII and living at a place called "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children". When Jake's psychiatrist advises his parents to let Jake travel to Wales, the teenager finds himself in a place which seems to be hiding an amazing secret of parallel worlds, time loops and kids with specific peculiarities. Soon, Jake becomes involved in a world where he needs to re-discover himself and to save his new friends.
Apart from several obvious plot-holes, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an entertainment which will certainly please not only the fans of Tim Burton, but also the mainstream audiences. Awkward and original, it captivates the viewers with its most curious characters and moves them with a simple underlying story of loneliness experienced by young people and their search for their own place in the world. This family-friendliness works pretty strangely in combination with Tim Burton's typical gothic and macabre approach and results in a captivating dark adventure which you will be willing to follow further in a potential franchise-building (yes, indeed, the novel is a trilogy, so two more movies should be greenlighted soon by 20th Century Fox).
In conclusion Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a must see if you are a Tim Burton fan and highly recommended if you would like to experience an awkward, but satisfying movie adventure.