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Thread: What Movies Have You Seen Lately?

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    The Adventures of TinTin
    Proud to be Germanic.

    Even though my ancestry is English, Germany is my favorite country.

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    The story could be interpreted in many ways. It didn't really make much sense, but then again what movie does?

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    At the end of each year, I take a peek at a few sites' best-films-of-the-year lists and try to watch as many as I can. I'm nowhere near having seen all of last year's best, but I'll give some mini-reviews of those that I have.

    Drive



    This was many critics' most acclaimed film of last year. I quite enjoyed it myself, but I felt it took a down-turn around the midway mark from which it didn't even try to recover. As a noir film, it establishes itself early on quite firmly as having something to say, something deep, something that's going to expose the complex inner-world of the picture's unusual and ripe-for-exploration protagonist. The first half of the movie is rich with a promise of brilliance that keeps us enthralled in the plot, noticing every detail in anticipation of some ingenious twist, prepared for an upheaval of plot elements, each of which we expect the film to scatter and challenge us to keep track. But ultimately it's a promise that isn't fulfilled: the second half of the movie fails to deliver on the promises made by the first, abandoning without explanation its most intriguing themes, plot developments and relationships in favour of a disappointingly simplistic route, and our hope for something profoundly moving or original returning to the screen dissolves around the time we see our protagonist dispatch the third or fourth man in an (almost comically) unrealistic bloodbath, comparable to A History of Violence's MO of having limbs fly off in a geyser of blood whenever someone is so much as flicked. It's a promising noir that deteriorates into an unimpressive revenge movie, seemingly aimed at ingratiating the Saw crowd, that shows us nothing we haven't seen before. The ending is a highlight, but it comes too late: a film can't succeed on its first half and last tenth alone. And, in the end, the final scene only serves to pour more salt of what the film could have been into the wound of what it actually was.

    7/10


    The Tree of Life




    Described as 'experimental', this film's style is unlike anything else you're likely to find featuring names like Pitt and Penn. It's an unapologetic art film that I'm sure scrambled the minds of a fair few people eager to see it only to keep pace with Brad Pitt's latest haircut. But despite the inevitable grumblings of disgruntled pop culture dolts, it is a good film. All art films are vulnerable to the reasonable criticism that they employ ambiguity to shroud lack of content and create a pseudo-profundity that calculatedly ensnares the more pretentious of critics. This film is no different. We interpret it our own way, are impressed by and grow attached to our interpretations, and thereby gain an egotistical investment in lauding the film's excellence. As such, I won't really bother pretending my interpretation of the film was anything close to the director's. But what I will say is that, visually, the film is outstanding. The 'birth of the universe' sequences are especially impressive, the only blot on the landscape being the quite strikingly bad CG dinosaurs, who only make a brief appearance, but nonetheless make a lasting impression in looking considerably worse than even 19 year old Jurassic Park's. The acting, too, along with the plot of the central characters are all compelling, and the film succeeds in engendering emotional attachment to its cast whose lives alone could well propel you through the film even if you have no idea whatsoever what it's about. The film has a religious theme, but this grows more tenuous throughout, and ceases to be annoying or offensively dogmatic after the first few initial scenes.

    9/10

    Super 8



    This wasn't much more than a slightly-above-average kid's film, or rather, early teen's film. J. J. Abrams has established himself as a maker of 'quite good' films, and this is another such quite good film, but not one that left much of a lasting impression on me. The story itself was very Stephen Kingsian (bunch of kids, middle of nowhere town, people disappearing, army conspiracy etc.), and I'm not a fan of King or King-esque things in general (this film had no literal connection with King, as far as I know). I did, however, quite like the central characters -- they were quite good --, quite enjoy the plot -- it was quite good --, quite like the action/special effects scenes -- they were quite good --, and thought that the 'monster' looked quite good too. The beginning was quite good, and this beginning merged seamlessly with a middle that was similarly quite good. The end of the movie might be described as highlight, being quite good as it was, but this would unduly focus attention away from the quite good rest of the film. I wouldn't watch it a second time. I find the ravings over the film's special effects quite puzzling. They were okay, but having seen probably thousands of special effects sequences in the 20 years or so computer effects have been commonly employed in movies, I'm just not particularly wowed by them anymore and don't fully understand why everybody else seems to be.

    6.5/10

    Melancholia



    Another art film, but a less abstract one than The Tree of Life. The film is steeped in metaphor, and that metaphor is, as far as I know, original in the realm of science fiction. It's a sophisticated film: the interrelations of characters are complex and subtle, the plot demands that you unwind it to a large degree by yourself, the atmosphere is thick with apprehension, and I believe that overall the film quite masterfully prefects the arousal of melancholy in its audience. To me, and maybe to no one else, melancholy isn't simply sadness or depression, but a kind of beautiful sadness. And this is what the film achieves in its second act: an impending doom that at the same time is profoundly beautiful. Dunst's character's internal world becomes external to everyone else, and yet Dunst remains indifferent to it, absorbed wholly in herself. Among other things, the film explores the reactions to disaster of those in the thrall of melancholy and those not, those with something to lose and those without. The film retains a dream-like aesthetic throughout, and this intensifies toward the end. And this leads us to the point of the film's extremely powerful visual style, both at the opening and close of the film, which, even if you don't like the film, you should certainly experience, since it's the year's closest rival to the beauty of The Tree of Life.

    9/10

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    I'm hosting my mom for a week at my house, and boy, we've seen more movies in a week than I've seen the whole year!

    Here goes:

    Contagion



    You know, we've seen it again, 28 days later, Blindness, etc... the concept of an unbeatable virus spreading around the world and nothing can stop it. Very familiar concept indeed.

    However, this movie was very well directed, kept things pretty interesting up until the end. It was a nice watch, but I've already forgotten about it.
    I give it a 6.5/10

    Colombiana



    You know, my mom asks for these type of movies, it's her favorite genre:
    American action movies.
    She doesn't easily watch anything else. She loves to hear her language (not any other language, not even Greek) and likes the typical American action movie plot. Good guys, bad guys, some beating, a little bit of romance, happy ending.

    This was, surprisingly enough, a pretty good action movie. Zoe Saldana was very good in her part. I don't know what her ancestry is but she was convincing as a Colombian drug dealer's daughter. There's a lot of "Kill Bill" going on in this movie. It was extremely fun to watch.
    For it's genre: 8.5/10

    Midnight in Paris



    Woody Allen generally grinds my gears, I've hated most of his past movies. I can't even watch most of them past 20 minutes before his pretentious, pseudo-intellectual Jewish sense of humor starts getting on my nerves.

    But- this was a good movie. Probably the best one he's ever made. If it weren't for the alluring Marion Cotillard, this movie wouldn't have been as good overall. The storyline is nice.
    8/10

    The skin I live in



    Shocking, unpredictable, twisted and sick... in a subtle way! I think this is one of Almodovar's best movies. A *must watch* if you're into weird and atypical films. It was excellent and interesting up until the last minute.
    9.5/10

    The Hangover 2



    Okay....
    I had seen the Hangover I in a movie theater in Helsinki, and seeing the part II, I realized I didn't remember anything from the first movie - that's how uninteresting it was.

    I think part II is not nearly as hilarious because I remember laughing a lot more with part I. This is just a standard type of slapstick Hollywood comedy and it's not even funny most of the times.
    5/10

    Limitless



    I slept through half of this film, but my mom watched it and said it was pretty good. An interesting film. I think it is worth watching.

    The Adjustment Bureau



    Interesting adventure, but nothing too special. I'd give it a 5/10.

    And finally ...

    *drumroll*



    Actually I saw this last night at the movies with my boyfriend.

    I had seen the original version, I loved it, and I begged my mom to watch it, but like I said, she only watches movies in the American language She couldn't sit through a Swedish film. And last night I saw the remake of the film.

    Much as the original film was spectacular, this one was almost surpassing it. I can't say for sure which one I loved more.
    I loved the fake Swedish accents the actors were trying to pull when pronouncing names or greetings The atmosphere was awesome: dark and gloomy. The movie was suspenseful up until the last minute, even though I had seen the original and knew the plot already! It was directed in such a way that it was suspenseful no matter how many times you see it

    It is a great film, go see! 9.5/10

  6. #1056
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    I watched "A Scanner Darkly" a few weeks ago. Someone who knows me very well recommended the book. I didn't read it but I did watch the movie. It is pretty good if you like this sort of film although I imagine that the book is better.

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    Irish Film but one that made an impression on me.
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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    City of Ember

    Although technically a childrens film it is visually quite appealing with the Steampunk/Dieselpunk dystopian aesthetic.


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    movies

    Devil Inside and Sherlock Holmes 2. Dont recomend Devil Inside and Sherlock Holmes is not like the books at all but more like a Victorian action flick.

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    Retreat



    OMG @ Blackholme Island. What a landscape! : Very good British thriller, direction is simple and dry - as it should be.

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