Detour (2013)

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Cast

Neil Hopkins, Brea Grant, John Forest, Ptolemy Slocum, Deb Snyder

Plot

Trapped inside his car by a mudslide, smooth-talking Jackson Alder (Neil Hopkins) finds himself in a situation he can't talk his way out of. With no hope of rescue, he must defy the odds; battling Mother Nature for his survival.

Opinion

If you enjoyed Cast Away, 127 Hours, All Is Lost, or Gravity, then this film might be for you. I am always amazed by how strong a human being can be to survive, and this film amazed me. Detour is an intense and thrilling story about a literally buried man that puts all his efforts to survive. How did he end up there? Will he survive? If so, how? These are the questions that kept me in my seat.
Director and co-writer William Dickerson teaches us to appreciate life and what we have. The filming, which explore the small set, is great.
Whoever wrote The Rat’s Rabbits Are Calling song is a genius: the lyrics are monotonous but catchy at the same time, and I can’t get this song out of my head.
Neil Hopkins does an incredible job: he is able to carry the film through until the end.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy/Rent on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Jackson: I see this experience as being born again. Born into the world, from the world itself.

Rating

7.5/10

Before Sunrise (1995)

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Cast

Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert, Hanno Pöschl, Karl Bruckschwaiger, Tex Rubinowitz, Erni Mangold, Dominik Castell, Haymon Maria Buttinger, Bilge Jeschim, Adam Goldberg

Plot

American tourist Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French student Celine (Julie Delpy) meet by chance on the train from Budapest to Vienna.
Sensing that they are developing a connection, Jesse asks Celine to spend the day with him in Vienna, and she agrees. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

Opinion

Before Sunrise is pure cinematic gold, yet one of the most underrated films ever made. Richard Linklater delights us with a honest look at relationship. The absolute beauty of this film is the dialogues, because, although they are ordinary conversation between two people who just met, they really fascinated me. This film teaches us love is never absurd, and after watching it, you will realize falling in love with someone in just one night doesn't sound that stupid after all.
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy bring to life two unforgettable characters, and they are the pillars of the film, contributing in making of it one of the best romance films of all the times.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy/Rent on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Jesse: I always think that I'm still this thirteen-year-old boy, you know, who just doesn't really know how to be an adult, pretending live my life, taking notes for when, you know, I'll really have to do it.

Street Poet: Daydream delusion, limousine eyelash / Oh baby with your pretty face / Drop a tear in my wineglass / Look at those big eyes / See what you mean to me / Sweet-cakes and milkshakes / I'm a delusion angel / I'm a fantasy parade / I want you to know what I think / Don't want you to guess anymore / You have no idea where I came from / We have no idea where we're going / Lodged in life / Like branches in a river/ Flowing downstream / Caught in the current / I carry you / You'll carry me / That's how it could be / Don't you know me? / Don't you know me by now?

Jesse: I kind of see this all love as this, escape for two people who don't know how to be alone. People always talk about how love is this totally unselfish, giving thing, but if you think about it, there's nothing more selfish.

Celine: I used to think that if none of your family or friends knew you were dead, it was like not really being dead. People can invent the best and the worst for you.

Rating

9.0/10

Let's Be Cops (2014)

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Cast

Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson, Rob Riggle, Nina Dobrev, Keegan-Michael Key, James D'Arcy, Andy García, Jon Lajoie, Tom Mardirosian, Natasha Leggero, Rebecca Koon, Nelson Bonilla, Jeff Chase, Jwaundace Candece, Briana Venskus, Alec Rayme, Ron Caldwell

Plot

Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Ryan (Jake Johnson), two pals disappointed about their life, dress as police officers for a costume party. When they are mistaken for real cops, they take advantage of it and have some fun. However, soon they get tangled in a real life web of mobsters, and the real trouble begins.

Opinion

Critics won't agree with me, but Let's Be Cops is an enjoyable cop comedy. It lacks a bit of originality - the story and the little ending fight between the two pals remembered me of 21 Jump Street - but after all it isn't that bad. I have to admit it is not very logical or realistic at some points, but it's a comedy, and as such we shouldn't take it too seriously. The jokes are not brilliant, yet they are funny.
There's chemistry between Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson, and they both do a good work with their characters. Although I believe their comic potential has been wasted in this film. 

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy/Rent on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Ryan: I got promoted to sergeant!
Justin: You got promoted to sergeant?
Ryan: I felt like I deserved it.

Rating

7.3/10

Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

Genre


Director


Country

UK | USA

Cast

Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney, Lionel Abelanski

Plot

Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth) is a famous English magician who has dedicated his life to revealing fraudulent spiritualists. Persuaded by his friend, Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney), he plans to uncover a young spiritualist, Sophie (Emma Stone). However, the more time he spends with her, he starts believing she is not a charlatan, but a real psychic. 

Opinion

It may have disappointed me a little bit, still Magic in the Moonlight is a good film. Life might be not just black and white, but also a mixture of shades of gray. 

Dealing with magic and mysticism, Woody Allen poses himself/us a question: is there most than what we see? Does magic exist?

I've been amazed by the bright and shiny colours. The music is great, and I particularly enjoyed listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

If until now I've only said good things, had come the time to talk about the bad ones: I didn't appreciate much the script. While it was very promising at the beginning, it ended up into a cliché.

Colin Firth, serious and hilarious as the skeptical Stanley, is terrific. Emma Stone is funny and delightful as always. Eileen Atkins, who plays Aunt Vanessa, is marvelous.

The Last Samurai (2003)

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Cast

Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shin Koyamada, Tony Goldwyn, Masato Harada, Shichinosuke Nakamura, Timothy Spall, Seizo Fukumoto, Koyuki, Billy Connolly, Shun Sugata, Sosuke Ikematsu, Scott Wilson, Togo Igawa

Plot

Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise), a veteran of the U.S. Civil War, is hired by the Emperor Meiji (Shichinosuke Nakamura) to train an army capable of wiping out the samurai. But when Algren is captured by the samurai and taught about their history and way of life, he finds himself conflicted over who he should be fighting alongside

Opinion

I wasn't expecting much from this film, I thought it would be just another high-budget film starring Tom Cruise, without any depth. I've never been more wrong in my life. I absolutely loved it and I regret not watching it before.
The Last Samurai is a brilliant story of honour, tradition and courage, and glorifies the Samurai lifestyle in a sublime way.
The film, masterfully directed by Edward Zwick, manages to capture Japanese men living in a transition world: the fall of the Bushido and the rise of a modern empire.
The action/fighting scenes are spectacular. The sublime music, provided by Hans Zimmer, contributes in making the film even more fantastic.
Tom Cruise - actor I don't particularly like, and the reason why I watched this film only now - gives his best performance ever. However, Ken Watanabe, who plays Samurai leader Katsumoto, steals the show with his intense and mesmerising performance, and the Oscar is definitely worthy, but the Academy rarely fails to disappoint.

Buy on Amazon.com

Quotes

Katsumoto: You believe a man can change his destiny?
Algren: I think a man does what he can, until his destiny is revealed.

Emperor Meiji: Tell me how he died.
Algren: I will tell you how he lived.

Katsumoto: The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.

Katsumoto: Perfect... They are all... perfect...

Simon Graham: [narrating] And so the days of the Samurai had ended. Nations, like men, it is sometimes said, have their own destiny. As for the American Captain, no one knows what became of him. Some say that he died of his wounds. Others, that he returned to his own country. But I like to think he may have at last found some small measure of peace, that we all seek, and few of us ever find.

Rating

10/10

Iron Man 3 (2013)

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Director


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Cast

Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley, Paul Bettany, Ty Simpkins, Ashley Hamilton, William Sadler, Miguel Ferrer, Adam Pally, Shaun Toub, Stan Lee, Dale Dickey, Wang Xueqi, Mark Ruffalo

Plot

When Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

Opinion

While Iron Man 2 was not very good, Iron Man 3 is back to Iron Man’s level. Iron Man 3 is a great film, different from the previous films of the trilogy mostly because of the increasing thrill. The awesome action is worth a watch. Director Shane Black, who replaced Jon Favreau, does an excellent work. The visual effects are great; Brian Tyler’s music is good, but not as good as AC/DC in the previous films.
Robert Downey Jr. is good as usual as Tony Stark/Iron Man; Gwyneth Paltrow, which has a more important role in this film, does a great job; Guy Pearce is an excellent villain. 

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Tony Stark: [narrates] My armor was never a distraction or a hobby, it was a cocoon, and now I'm a changed man. You can take away my house, all my tricks and toys, but one thing you can't take away - I am Iron Man.

Rating

8.2/10

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

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Director


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Cast

Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Nick Thurston, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Doc Shaw, Judy Greer, Lee Ross, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smith-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Jon Eyez, Enrique Murciano, Jocko Sims, Keir O'Donnell, Kevin Rankin, Lombardo Boyar, James Franco

Plot

Ten years after a pandemic disease, a growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.

Opinion

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is even more impressive than Rise of the Planet of the Apes: the plot is astonishing, the pulsing pathos will keep any viewer - even those who are not fan of the franchise - on the edge of their seat, and the special effects are amazing and not exaggerated - considering apes are CGI. 
Unlike in the previous film, director Matt Reeves gives equal space to humans and chimps, but most of all he provides the latter of a complexity usually reserved to humans.
Andy Serkis, who plays Caesar, is still the star of the film, and still does an amazing job. Toby Kebbell, who plays Koba, does a great job. Gary Oldman, once again, is confined to a one dimensional role. The rest of the cast is so-so: humans are not great, but on the other hand chimps are better.

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Genre


Director


County


Cast

Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Josh Lucas, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Vivien Cardone, Christopher Plummer, Judd Hirsch, Jason Gray-Stanford

Plot

The film tells the story of John Forbes Nash Jr. (Russell Crowe), a mathematical genius, who made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim.
But soon Nash finds himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery once he is diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Opinion

I tried to watch this film about a year ago, but I didn't like it and I quit. I gave it another try and it was worth it. A Beautiful Mind is a fantastic film, and a great tribute to the life of John Nash. Although mathematics is a pillar of the plot, the film is never boring.
Ron Howard does an amazing job engaging the audience, and making them experience mental illness. Akira Goldman's screenplay, based on Sylvia Nasar's A Beautiful Mind, is brilliant. 
Russell Crowe is excellent. He does not act as Nash, he is Nash. The way he conveys mental illness is amazing. The elaborate makeup partially age Nash, Crowe does the rest. And most important, Crowe does not overshadow Nash. Jennifer Connelly is amazing as well as supporting actress. The chemistry between them is amazing.


Quotes

Dr. Rosen: Imagine if you suddenly learned that the people, the places, the moments most important to you were not gone, not dead, but worse, had never been. What kind of hell would that be?

Nash: What truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career - the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found. I am only here tonight because of you. [looking at his wife] You are the only reason I am. You are all my reasons. Thank you.

Rating

8.8/10

Still Alice (2014)

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Directors


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Cast

Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish, Shane MccRae, Stephen Kenken, Victoria Cartagena, Seth Gilliam, Daniel Gerroll, Erin Darke, Kristin Macomber, Caridad Montanez

Plot

Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), happily married to John Howland (Alec Baldwin) with three grown children, Anna (Kate Bosworth), Tom (Hunter Parrish) and Lydia (Kristen Stewart), is a Columbia linguistics professor who starts to forget things.
When she is diagnosticated with an early onset Alzheimer's disease, Alice and her family find their bonds thoroughly tested.

Opinion

Based on Lisa Genova's novel of the same name, Still Alice is a powerful, realistic, raw, emotional and heartbreaking story about a woman whose life totally changed. The direction is flawless, the screenplay is great, the cinematography is amazing. 
Julianne Moore's performance is not good in the lead role, she is mesmerizing, devastating and heartbreaking. She delivers in such an incredible way, and she successfully shows the struggle, the anger, the pain, the fear and the confusion of having such a disease.
The supporting cast is also good: Alec Baldwin's performance, who plays Alice's husband, is one of his best; Kristen Stewart's, who plays Alice's daughter, is her best performance so far.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon Instant Video | Buy Lisa Genova's novel on Amazon.com

Quotes

Alice Howland: Good morning. It's an honor to be here. The poet Elizabeth Bishop once wrote: 'the Art of Losing isn't hard to master: so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.' I'm not a poet, I am a person living with Early Onset Alzheimer's, and as that person I find myself learning the art of losing every day. Losing my bearings, losing objects, losing sleep, but mostly losing memories... 
[she knocks the pages from the podium] 
I think I'll try to forget that just happened. 
[crowd laughs]
All my life I've accumulated memories - they've become, in a way, my most precious possessions. The night I met my husband, the first time I held my textbook in my hands. Having children, making friends, traveling the world. Everything I accumulated in life, everything I've worked so hard for - now all that is being ripped away. As you can imagine, or as you know, this is hell. But it gets worse. Who can take us seriously when we are so far from who we once were? Our strange behavior and fumbled sentences change other's perception of us and our perception of ourselves. We become ridiculous, incapable, comic. But this is not who we are, this is our disease. And like any disease it has a cause, it has a progression, and it could have a cure. My greatest wish is that my children, our children - the next generation - do not have to face what I am facing. But for the time being, I'm still alive. I know I'm alive. I have people I love dearly. I have things I want to do with my life. I rail against myself for not being able to remember things - but I still have moments in the day of pure happiness and joy. And please do not think that I am suffering. I am not suffering. I am struggling. Struggling to be part of things, to stay connected to whom I was once. So, 'live in the moment' I tell myself. It's really all I can do, live in the moment. And not beat myself up too much... and not beat myself up too much for mastering the art of losing. One thing I will try to hold onto though is the memory of speaking here today. It will go, I know it will. It may be gone by tomorrow. But it means so much to be talking here, today, like my old ambitious self who was so fascinated by communication. Thank you for this opportunity. It means the world to me. Thank you.

Rating

9.0/10

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

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Cast

Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Jake Lloyd, Pernilla August, Ahmed Best, Ray Park, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Silas Carson, Hugh Quarshie, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson, Terence Stamp, Oliver Ford Davies, Andy Secombe, Lewis MacLeod, Brian Blessed, Greg Proops, Sofia Coppola, Ralph Brown, Steven Speirs, Keira Knightley

Plot

When the Trade Federation cuts off all routes to the planet Naboo, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) are assigned to settle the matter, but when they arrive on Naboo they are brought to Amidala (Natalie Portman), the Naboo queen, by a friendly but opportunistic Gungan named Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best). Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan plan to escort Amidala to a meeting of Republic leaders in Coruscant, but trouble with their spacecraft strands them on the planet Tatooine, where Qui-Gon meets Anakin (Jake Lloyd), the slave of a scrap dealer. Qui-Gon is soon convinced that the boy could be the leader the Jedis have been searching for, and he begins bargaining for his freedom and teaching the boy the lessons of the Force.

Opinion

George Lucas doesn't really strike back. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is not as good as any other film of the original trilogy, but it is not even trash. Firstly the good points: the music is still great, the visual effects are stunning, the action sequences are good, and the pod race is engaging.
On the other hand, dialogs are not that brilliant, the acting is mostly cringe, Darth Maul is barely shown, all Obi-Wan Kenobi did was using his lightsaber, and the first 30 minutes or so, are useless because the film pretty much started on Tatooine.

Buy on Amazon.com

Quotes

Yoda: Everything! Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.

Qui-Gon Jinn: There's always a bigger fish.

Rating

7.2/10

Tigerland (2000)

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Cast

Colin Farrell, Matthew Davis, Clifton Collins Jr., Shea Whigham, Cole Hauser, Tom Guiry, Neil Brown, Tory Kittles, Nick Searcy, Afemo Omilami, Matt Gerald, Michael Shannon

Plot

In 1971, Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell) is a draftee who has been sent to the Advanced Infantry Training Facility in Fort Polk, LA, where with hundreds of other new soldiers he's to be taught a final course in combat skills before being shipped out to Vietnam. 

Opinion

Tigerland is not exactly a war film, it is more like the first half of Full Metal Jacket, but more dramatic and intense than any other anti-war film. The hand-held camera, the grainy film stock and the mostly natural lighting give the look and feel of a documentary.
Using a minuscule budget, director Joel Schumacher managed to make a great film, which is, in my opinion, one of the best Vietnam films along with Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket.
The acting is good; unknown at the time, Colin Farrell is terrific as Bozz, the rebellious and anti-war soldier. 

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy/Rent on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Staff Sgt. Thomas: Any questions?
Bozz: I got a question, Sergeant. If I'm dead, how come I can ask you a question?

Bozz: Courage is when you're the only guy who knows how shit-scared you really are.

Rating

8.5/10

The Hurt Locker (2008)

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Director


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Cast

Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Christian Camargo, David Morse, Ralph Fiennes, Evangeline Lilly, Christopher Sayegh

Plot

During the Iraq War, Sergeant First Class William James (Jeremy Renner), recently assigned an army bomb squad, is put at odds with his squad mates Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) due to his maverick way of handling his work.

Opinion

At first I thought this was just another war film Americans love, but I was wrong. The Hurt Locker is about war, addiction, courage and alienation.
Beautifully directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the film is full of suspense and action. The cinematography by Barry Ackroyd is outstanding, and truly captures the Iraq War, but also war in general, in its rawness and brutality.
Jeremy Renner delivers an excellent performance as Sergeant Will James, a man addicted to danger and adrenaline. Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty, as Sanborn and Eldridge, James's partners, are impressive in their roles, and they do act like real soldiers.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy/Rent on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Sergeant William James: [Speaking to his son] You love playing with that. You love playing with all your stuffed animals. You love your Mommy, your Daddy. You love your pajamas. You love everything, don't ya? Yeah. But you know what, buddy? As you get older... some of the things you love might not seem so special anymore. Like your Jack-in-a-Box. Maybe you'll realize it's just a piece of tin and a stuffed animal. And the older you get, the fewer things you really love. And by the time you get to my age, maybe it's only one or two things. With me, I think it's one.

Rating

9.0/10

The Avengers (2012)

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Director


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Cast

Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Maximiliano Hernández, Paul Bettany, Alexis Denisof, Damion Poitier, Powers Boothe, Jenny Agutter, Stan Lee, Harry Dean Stanton, Jerzy Skolimowski, Georgi Luchkov

Plot

As Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes to Earth to retrieve  the Tesseract and subjugate the human race, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster: the Avengers, featuring Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

Opinion

The Avengers is maybe the best comic book-film ever. The action is certainly not lacking, there are lots of explosions and it is plenty of fun. The special effects are impressive.
The film is mostly focused on the characters; in fact none of them is ignored and they are consistent with what has been seen in previous films: Steve Rogers / Captain American still acts as a soldier, Tony Stark is brilliant as usual, Loki is still evil. Nick Fury is finally more than the guy making appearances, and Agent Coulson returns.
The cast is great: Tom Hiddleston's Loki is amazingly scary. I was missing Edward Norton, but I gotta say Mark Ruffalo isn't that bad after all.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy/Rent on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Loki: Enough! You are, all of you are beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by...
Hulk flattens Loki with repeated smashes into the floor
Hulk: Puny god.

Rating

8.6/10

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Genre


Director


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Cast

James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine, Jamie Harris, David Hewlett, Chelah Horsdal, Andy Serkis, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Richard Ridings, Devyn Dalton, Jay Caputo, Christopher Gordon

Plot

Scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) work at a pharmaceutical firm trying to find a cure for brain ailments. Tested on a chimp, Bright Eyes, the drug increases her intelligence, but she goes crazy on the same day Will is presenting the substance to his boss, and the animal is put down.
Only after the incident Will realizes that the chimp had given birth and was trying to protect her newborn. Will takes the animal home as a pet, and soon realizes Caesar (Andy Serkis) is extremely intelligent.

Opinion

I wasn't expecting much from this film, but I gotta say Rise of the Planet of the Apes is actually a very good film. Well directed by Rupert Wyatt, this film is audacious and disquieting.
The chimps, digitally created, look real: their eyes have depth and personality, their body language and their facial expression are amazing.
Andy Serkis, who portrays Caesar, delivers a great performance and he is the star of the film. James Franco does a great job with his character; Freida Pinto does good although his character is superficial and pretty much useless; Tom Felton plays Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter saga) again, using his grin constantly. 

Selma (2014)

Genre


Director


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Cast

David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Common, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Niecy Nash, Colman Domingo, Giovanni Ribisi, Alessandro Nicola, Keith Stanfield, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson, Wendell Pierce, Omar Dorsey, Ledisi Young, Trai Byers, Stephan James, Kent Faulcon, John Lavelle, Henry G. Sanders, Jeremy Strong, Dylan Baker, Nigel Thatch, Charity Jordan, Haviland Stillwell, Tara Ochs, Martin Sheen, Michael Shikany, Michael Papajohn, Stephen Root

Plot

The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.

Opinion

Selma is a good biopic, that reminds me a bit of Spike Lee's Malcolm X (starring Denzel Washington) and Lee Daniels's The Butler (starring Forest Whitaker). Well directed by Ava DuVernay, the film offers a harrowing look at the Civil Rights Movement of 1965.
David Oyelowo's performance is astonishing: he doesn't play MLK, he is MLK. Without him, this film would have been an average civil rights film, nothing more. Tim Roth does a great work portraying the racist George Wallace.
"Glory" by John Legend and Common is the perfect song for this film. "Yesterday Was Hard On All Of Us" by Fink is also good.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Martin Luther King Jr.: Who murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson? Every white lawman who abuses the law to terrorize. Every white politician who feeds on prejudice and hatred. Every white preacher who preaches the bible and stays silent before his white congregation. Who murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson? Every Negro man and woman who stands by without joining this fight as their brothers and sisters are brutalized, humiliated, and ripped from this Earth. 

Martin Luther King Jr.: Our lives are not fully lived if we're not willing to die for those we love, for what we believe.

Rating

8.0/10

Whiplash (2014)

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Director


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Cast

Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang, Chris Mulkey, Jayson Blair, Kavita Patil, Michael Cohen, Kofi Siriboe, Suanne Spoke, April Grace

Plot

Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) has a dream: becoming one of the greatest jazz drummers of his generation.
Since the competition is fierce at the New York's prestigious Shaffer Conservatory, and to impress his instructor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), Neiman practices hard day and night, until his hands bleed. 

Opinion

Whiplash is an incredibly powerful film with lot to teach: never give up, pursue your dream, no matter what. Damien Chazelle, young and talented, becomes part of the history of cinema with this thrilling, exciting masterpiece. The constant drumming that stays with us for almost the entire film is amazing.
Miles Teller is surprisingly good, actually he is fantastic and this is his best performance so far. J.K. Simmons delivers a flawless and astonishing performance, which got him a Golden Globe for best supporting actor, and an Oscar nomination, which surely will turn into a win.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Terence Fletcher: There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.

Terence Fletcher: I was there to push people beyond what's expected of them. I believe that's an absolute necessity.

Rating

10/10

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Genre


Director


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Cast

Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovich, Shawn Andrews, Rory Cochrane, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Sasha Jenson, Marissa Ribisi, Deena Martin, Michelle Burke, Cole Hauser, Christine Harnos, Wiley Wiggins, Mark Vandermeulen, Esteban Powell, Jeremy Fox, Ben Affleck, Jason O. Smith, Christin Hinojosa, Parker Posey, Matthew McConaughey, Catherine Morris, Nicky Katt

Plot

It is May 28, 1976, the last day of school at Lee High School in the suburbs of Austin, Texas. The next year's group of seniors are preparing for the annual hazing of incoming freshmen, and everyone is trying to get stoned, drunk, or laid.

Opinion

Directed and written by the amazing Richard Linklater, Dazed and Confused shows the highs and lows of partying, friendship and drugs. Underrated and ignored at first, later achieved cult film status, in my opinion, this is one of the best teen films ever made.
The cast is great: it is no wonder that a majority of them - Jason London, Milla Jovovich, Rory Cochrane, Adam Goldberg, Sasha Jenson, Parker Posey and Matthew McConaughey - became major stars. 

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Quotes

Cynthia: God, don't you ever feel like everything we do and everything we've been taught is just to service the future?
Tony: Yeah I know, like it's all preparation.
Cynthia: Right. But what are we preparing ourselves for?
Mike: Death.
Tony: Life of the party.
Mike: It's true.
Cynthia: You know, but that's valid because if we are all gonna die anyway shouldn't we be enjoying ourselves now? You know, I'd like to quit thinking of the present, like right now, as some minor insignificant preamble to something else.

Rating

8.5/10

Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

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Cast

Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver, María Valverde, Indira Varma, Hiam Abbass, Kevork Malikyan, Anton Alexander, Golshifteh Farahani, Tara Fitzgerald, Dar Salim, Andrew Tarbet, Isaac Andrews

Plot

In the ancient tale of the Hebrews, Moses (Christian Bale) gathers the faith to free his 400,000 enslaved people from the Egyptian Rule. King Ramses (Joel Edgerton), who he grew up with, must face his once best friend in a battle that exceeds the mere mortals and endures the act of God.

Opinion

Exodus: Gods and Kings is a huge disappointment. This story, which has been told and retold for thousands of years, deserved something better than this. And it really means a lot coming from an atheist. Ridley Scott brought to the screen his own interpretation of the Bible, and is it good? No, it isn't. $140 Million probably spent for special effects, costumes and a cast full of stars, but surely not on the script. I was expecting a spectacular Red Sea parting, but there is no trace of it. It is a mystery how Scott did such a poor movie.
Christian Bale is mediocre, delivering an emotionless performance - I wasn't expecting this from him at all. Joel Edgerton is surprisingly good.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Ramses: You sleep well because you know that you're loved. I've never sleep that well.

Moses: Follow me and you will be free. Stay and you will perish.

Rating

5.0/10

Unbroken (2014)

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Cast

Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Miyavi, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway, Travis Jeffery, Jordan Patrick Smith, John Magaro, Alex Russell, John D'Leo, Vincenzo Amato, Ross Anderson, Maddalena Ischiale, Morgan Griffin, Savannah Lamble, Sophie Dalah

Plot

Louis Zamperini (Jack O'Connell), an Olympic athlete, joins the armed forces during World War II.
Captured by the Japanese navy after a plane crash in the Pacific, and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp, Zamperini must continue his fight by surviving through the war.

Opinion

This film got so much hate and I sincerely don't understand the reason. Based on Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" Unbroken is a brilliant film about friendship, inner strength and love.
A great and bright cinematography is provided by Roger Deakins. Coldplay's "Miracles" - ending credits - perfectly fits in the story and I couldn't imagine of a better song.
Jack O'Connell - I recently mentioned him in Eden Lake's review - is the real deal, and puts his efforts to portray such a man. Miyavi as The Bird does a great job.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Pete: A moment of pain, is worth a lifetime of glory.

Rating

8.5/10

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

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Cast

Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Stanley Tucci, Kenneth Choi, Bruno Ricci, JJ Feild, Toby Jones, Richard Armitage, Natalie Dormer, Samuel L. Jackson, Stan Lee

Plot

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a sickly man from Brooklyn, is rejected for World War II military recruitment. While attending an exhibition of future technologies with his friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), he again attempts to enlist, and he is chosen for the super-soldier experiment. Transformed into Captain American, Rogers must stop the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), Adolf Hitler's head of weaponry and leader of Hydra organization that intends to use the Tesseract as a source for world domination.

Opinion

I wasn't exactly excited about this film, but Captain America: The First Avenger is a good film after all; I'd rather say a very good and accurate adaptation of Marvel's comic book.
For the most part, this film is focused on the origins of an extraordinary soldier, who just wants to do his part for his country.
The special effects are well made, in particular Captain America's skills. Also the playback of the key characters is accurate. Red Skull is certainly the character that impressed me the most: he was well played by Hugo Weaving, and the makeup was amazing. Chris Evans pulled off the modesty needed for the role.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy/Rent on Amazon Instant Video

Quotes

Abraham Erskine: Whatever happens tomorrow you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.

Rating

8.0/10

Apocalypse Now (1979)

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Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, G.D. Spradlin, Jerry Ziesmer, Harrison Ford, Scott Glenn, Bill Graham, Cynthia Wood, Linda Carpenter, Colleen Camp, R. Lee Ermey, Francis Ford Coppola, Charlie Sheen

Plot

During the Vietnam war, U.S. Army Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is sent by Colonel Lucas (Harrison Ford) and Lt. General Corman (G.D. Spradlin) to carry out a dangerous mission that, officially, 'does not exist - nor will it ever exist': he has to kill the renegade and presumed insane U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando).

Opinion

Apocalypse Now, besides being a film about the Vietnam war, is a film about Vietnam itself. Francis Ford Coppola's film is complex, ambitious and philosophical, and reaches the human psyche. 
Marlon Brando's Colonel Kurtz is a man who has reached his breaking point, and has retired in the jungle to live like a demigod, venerated by thousands of indigenous.
The closing scene of the ritual slaughter of a sacrificial bull is the most powerful of symbols.
Martin Sheen is outstanding - this is the first time I have seen him -, Robert Duvall, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning!", is great and fun to be watched as Colonel Kilgore, and Marlon Brando does a spectacular job as Kurtz. 

Buy/Rent on Amazon Instant Video: Original Version - Redux Version

Quotes

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz: I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies! I remember when I was with Special Forces... seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn't know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it... I never want to forget. And then I realized... like I was shot... like I was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, my God... the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters, these were men... trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love... but they had the strength... the strength... to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment! Because it's judgment that defeats us.

Rating

9.0/10