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The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a touching, heartfelt and funny film from first time director Stephen Chbosky, who also wrote the script and wrote the novel. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller give absolutely fabulous performances that deserved Award attention especially for Ezra Miller. Besides some flaws and confusion (maybe a second viewing is in order), I had a great time watching this film. The performances add humanity to the wonderful script, and the characters are so normal, that everybody can identify with them somehow. See this film, you won't regret it.
Even though it's predictable, First Position is an insightful film into the lives of aspiring ballet dancers. Upbeat, funny, involving, and precise, First Position is a window into the competitive world of the world class ballet. Getting to know all the dancers is a lot of fun and we go through their journey with them, we understand their pain, their trials and tribulations, and in the end, we can't help but clap and cheer for them. A great time at the theatre, or a great window about getting into the professional world of ballet dancing.
Law Abiding Citizen is entertaining, but not much else. The plot is so implausible and unbelievable that it's almost laughable. Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx as well as the rest of the cast deliver sup-par performances as well making Law Abiding Citizen an entertaining, confusing, implausible mess. Don't waste your time unless you want a brainless action movie.
Safety No Guaranteed is a hilarious, moving, heartfelt film that features an odd, but utterly original story, and strong performances from it's cast especially Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza. Deftly combining comedy, drama, and suspense, Safety Not Guaranteed is guaranteed to have you laughing and crying at the same time. You will leave the theatre having wanted a longer movie, considering it's run-time comes in at 85 minutes.
The Cove is a harrowing and haunting documentary on the dolphin slaughter in Japan. Benefiting from explanations of dolphin psychology and lots of footage of them in their natural habitat and hearing stories of the connection with people helped create a personal connection to the animals. Though the documentary is very one-sided, it's very suspenseful, emotional, shocking and disturbing, but also left me wanting more. At only an hour and a half long, The Cove could have taken time to explain more about the mercury poisoning, views from the Japanese side, etc. I wouldn't have minded the longer running time since they got me so involved in the loves of the dolphins. The is an essential documentary for everybody to see nonetheless. It will stay with you long after you have seen it.
Hell and Back Again is a pretty average documentary that is beautifully shot, uniquely edited, but should've delved into the psychological state of mind of Sgt. Nathan Harris instead of focusing on merely the physical struggles he faces in getting back into shape and fit for combat once more. The emotional connection could definitely been stronger and more involving. Hell and Back Again features unique cinematography and editing, but is a generic, if slightly better than average documentary.
Restrepo is a visceral, powerful documentary on the war in Afghanistan, but I found it to be way over-hyped. It wasn't as powerful or as war-like as I expected it to be, but that put aside, I felt that the film did a good job of documenting the terror, and the camaraderie that these people felt. Beautifully shot, well edited, insightful and exciting, Restrepo is one of the better war documentaries.
Zero Dark Thirty, the new film by "Hurt Locker" Director Kathryn Bigelow is about the hunt for and assassination of Osama bin Laden. Coming into this film not knowing anything about the story or the politics behind it didn't help me to understand the proceedings too well. There were parts where I felt they had left stuff out because it was common knowledge, leaving me confused. But nevertheless, the film is gripping, suspenseful, and beautifully acted by the entire cast, especially Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Ehle and Mark Strong. The script is brilliantly written by Mark Boal, a former Journalist. Cinematography by Grieg Fraser is often stunning, bringing out colours and a beautiful palette in the desolate deserts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Definitely one of the better films of the year.
Adrien Brody and Thomas Kretschmann give tremendously haunting performances in Roman Polanski's The Pianist. The film does not seek our tears or sympathies, but instead tells the story of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman just as it is, and that makes it all the more emotionally involving. It's length and use of minimalist music may prove too boring or non-dramatic for some, but the Chopin interspersed throughout gave it more than an actual score could. In conclusion, The Pianist features a haunting central performance by Adrien Brody, and despite it's length and a familiar shell story, this is told differently and is more emotionally involving than other films of this subject matter.
Joe Wright has constructed a moving, portrait of love through war. Keira Knightley, James MacAvoy and Saoirse Ronan give towering performances not to be missed. Also featuring stunning cinematography and a fantastic, unique score by Dario Marianelli, Atonement is, if somewhat leisurely, a fantastic film that is not to be missed.
In this documentary on the american food industry, you get an inside view at where your food comes from. Seeing what Monsanto does to the farmers, what IBP is doing to the cattle, and what Tyson is doing to the chickens, you may never eat again. I know most people would just say that they can't live without their meat, and it doesn't bother them where it comes from, or what's in it. Being a vegetarian, this film opened my eyes to the prospect that even my organic produce may be full of harmful chemicals. Some of my classmates went vegetarian for life after seeing this disturbing, deeply affecting documentary. It's an important one to see. Watch it!
Julia Roberts is her best here as a slightly trashy single mother. Erin Brockovich is a funny, smart, and thoughtful legal drama that despite some plot holes and character issues, is engaging, emotional, and inspiring. Aaron Eckhart is almost unrecognizable here as George, the next-door neighbour. A subdued, but strong performance from him as well, but Julia Roberts definitely steals the show.
Charlize Theron's performance as Aileen Wuornos is possibly the best I've ever seen. Prostitute turned killer, Aileen's relationship with Selby (Christina Ricci) turns tense and frustratingly accommodating as time ticks. Christina Ricci's performance cannot live up to her co-star, but she does a considerable job. What frustrated me was her character, and maybe she was like that, but for me, she was too accommodating to Aileen's needs and wants. A brilliant, haunting film, Monster is a small film with a gigantic performance by Charlize Theron for which she more than deserved her Oscar.
The sole reason for seeing this film: Antonio Banderas in a charismatic lead role, and looking like he was born in a tuxedo. The dance sequences are captivating and entertaining to watch, but it's probably one of the most uninspired inspiring stories I've seen. It's full of cliches, and a formulaic plot line that couldn't hold my interest past an hour.
Led by two moving and powerful performances from Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain is a beautiful, epic western film directed by Ang Lee, who imbues it with so much universality that it's hard not to be connected with these people. I sometimes felt that the characters were a bit naive and sometimes I got frustrated. The story was often vague, leaving important pieces out to be filled in by the viewer. With a long running time, it seemed a bit drawn out. Overall, Brokeback Mountain is a moving portrait of forbidden love, and the consequences of time.
A brutally honest, revelatory film about two strangers and the effect they have on each other lives over a span of 48 hours. It's the most beautiful film about two strangers, I think. The two leads Tom Cullen and Chris New are superb here, and their chemistry is what works best. Whether the viewer is straight, bi, or gay, they will connect with the characters in some profound way. The film will linger after the first viewing; if you have ever met someone who has changed your life within a few days, you will relate to this film. Weekend, is sensationally acted, beautifully realized and full of honesty and mostly concerned with something one might not expect, the human heart.
The directorial debut of Jordan Scott, the daughter of Ridley Scott is Cracks, a film about an all-girls boarding school and the elite students part of the diving team under the direction of Miss G. It is so much fun to watch Eva Green ride that teacher off the rails, that it's almost the one reason to see this film. The film is otherwise a formless, abstract, mostly well-acted, atmospheric and sometimes boring first film for Jordan Scott.
An intense, hallucinatory film about drug addiction, and solely drug addiction. The plot does not veer away from the characters, but instead focuses on the effects the drugs have on them and their lives. Although confusing and jumpy with many explanations missing, the editing, music and imagery will stay with you for many years after. Ellen Burstyn gives an astounding performance that stands out among other searing performances from Jared Leto, and Jennifer Connelly.
The Uninvited relies too heavily on cheesy dialogue, and jump scares to really be that frightening. It's predictable and unimaginative plot are silly, but the actors really do try their best with the material they are given. But alas, they can't save this mess. My friends and I saw the ending coming half-way through the film. This was an uninvited entry into the horror movie genre.
Quentin Tarantino's unnecessarily bloody, bold and hilarious western Django Unchained is fantastic. Featuring outstanding performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson as well as Christoph Waltz and Kerry Washington, stunning cinematography, and odd but fitting music choices, this western is probably the most fun film of the year, as well as the most violent. Well worth your time and money though.