vendredi 30 janvier 2015

Cake — A sentimental story withe many interesting elements — 8*/10

  • Story: Interesting, because even though the main angle is not new, there are a good number of novel elements or combination of other elements that give a entertaining result. Sentimental, but with no over done drama. Nice details all the way through.
  • Characters: Well built if a bit stereotypical.
  • Dialogs: Realistic.
  • Scenario: Very fluid.
  • Actors: Excellent work on the part of Jennifer Aniston, her best performance ever. I also liked Anna Kendrick and Sam Worthington.
  • Photography: Nicely done.
  • Special effects: None.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those looking for something sentimental.

mercredi 28 janvier 2015

Still Alice — A touching drama, visually beautiful — 8*/10

  • Story: Touching drama. Not a new story, but well told and even with a little surprising twist for which I have to give credit to the writers as a job well done.
  • Characters: Very well built even if some are stereotypical.
  • Dialogs: Solid.
  • Scenario: Nice pacing. Even though there isn't a lot of things happening, it doesn't feel slow or empty.
  • Actors: Excellent work, especially by Julianne Moore. Alec Baldwin did well too.
  • Photography: Excellent, beautiful.
  • Special effects: None.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those looking for a touching story with a bit of sadness to it.

mardi 27 janvier 2015

Kid Cannabis — Pretty interesting for such a small package — 7*/10

  • Story: Mostly notable for the fact that you can feel it's close to reality. The narration is good. The whole thing felled flat at the end probably because it's based on true events.
  • Characters: You understand them, but without sensing enough depth to completely flesh out who they are.
  • Dialogs: Realistic enough.
  • Scenario: Nice tempo, except for the last third.
  • Actors: Good work.
  • Photography: Nice.
  • Special effects: None.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Stoners or those looking for some simple drug related story based on actual events.

Wild — A true journey or mind, spirit and body — 8*/10

  • Story: Realistic, touching and inspiring. I could see my own hike in it as well as what differed.
  • Characters: True depth.
  • Dialogs: Realistic, simple, perfect.
  • Scenario: Well pieced together, if at time a bit confusing in the beginning.
  • Actors: Reese Witherspoon is just right. Solid performance by Laura Dern.
  • Photography: Beautiful.
  • Special effects: None.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those looking for something inspiring. Those in need of laughter or action should abstain.

Beautiful Creatures — Your run of the mill tween fantasy romance movie with a few niceties — 6*/10

  • Story: There are a few surprises, but mostly, it's a tween fantasy romance flick. Nothing breaks the mold, even the end which almost did.
  • Characters: Shallow, if sexy at times.
  • Dialogs: Mildly interesting.
  • Scenario: Uninventive, save a few exceptions.
  • Actors: Acceptable.
  • Photography: Acceptable.
  • Special effects: Except for the storm at the end, which was great, the rest just barely makes the grade.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Tweens, people who have nothing to do and really needs a fantasy fix, or brain damaged individuals.

lundi 26 janvier 2015

The Interview — A disappointment half the way through — 5*/10

  • Story: It starts as the crazy shit Seth Rogen is getting known for and it feels good. However, it gets lost half way through as if they ran out of interesting material. The rest feels like unsatisfying filling. I usually love what Rogen does, but this is very poor.
  • Characters: The type you'd expect.
  • Dialogs: Funny, but then it gets repetitive and uninventive once they're in North Korea.
  • Scenario: Like I said, it unravels at the half mark.
  • Actors: Seth Rogen is funny as usual, but James Franco out of it, either that or he was given bad directions.
  • Photography: Meh.
  • Special effects: Minimal effects.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? If you're a hardcore Rogen or Franco fan and you've got time to waste or you're high out of your mind.

dimanche 25 janvier 2015

The Number 23 — Jim Carrey is the only reason the movie is any good — 6*/10

  • Story: Will pique the audience's curiosity, but it unfortunately is a slightly awkwardly rendered and doesn't do much more. Maybe it's because I was expecting too much.
  • Characters: Shallow. Difficult to accept their motivations as valid ones. Their reactions seemed unrealistic to the point where suspension of disbelief was impossible.
  • Dialogs: To scripted.
  • Scenario: Nice pacing, but the intrigue was rather flat, you just couldn't feel it.
  • Actors: Jim Carrey was very good. At the time, it was a nice departure from his earlier roles. The rest of the cast was acceptable, but no more.
  • Photography: Acceptable.
  • Special effects: Well done.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Carrey fans or those badly in need of an intrigue or mystery.

vendredi 23 janvier 2015

The Ides of March — A sobering view of election politics — 8*/10

  • Story: At first, you don't know where it's going, interesting, but not much more, and then things happen. You get captivated. Nice twists and turns in unusual manners.
  • Characters: Solidly built, except for Morris which feels a little light.
  • Dialogs: Well done, believable.
  • Scenario: The intro really settles us comfortably within that world, so when the action hits, you get completely absorbed.
  • Actors: Ryan Gosling is excellent. The notable members of the cast: George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Marisa Tomei,
  • Photography: Nice.
  • Special effects: None.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those who like political drama and intrigue, or anyone who doesn't need action to appreciate and good story. Those looking for something light or funny should abstain.

jeudi 22 janvier 2015

Cloud Atlas — A beautiful exposé for those with enough patience — 8*/10

  • Story: Needs a little bit of getting used to because of the way its told and all the disparate timeframes; it can get a bit confusing. Overall, it's very touching and pleasing. I loved the future ones, pre and post apocalyptic, but I'm biased toward those.
  • Characters: The plethora of them is definitively a big bite to chew on, but after an hour, you get a solid enough grasp to enjoy their different depth.
  • Dialogs: Interesting, slightly poetic, and pleasant. They will often tickle your brains, the contained philosophy.
  • Scenario: You need to be able to enjoy slow developing scenarios to fully appreciate. Nonetheless, it is a mix of action, passion and contemplation that is totally satisfying.
  • Actors: Quite an ensemble! Great work, although it was a bit difficult to process them in their different roles, especially when they switched between nice characters and reprehensible ones. Here's the list of notable ones: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D'Arcy, and Jim Broadbent.
  • Photography: Excellent, beautiful.
  • Special effects: Perfect.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those who don't mind long movies with some slowness to them. Those like to have a mixture of different story. Those who like as much scenarios that are in the past as well as in the future.

A great piece by the Wachowskis.

mercredi 21 janvier 2015

American Sniper — Another extraordinary point of view of what war feels like — 9*/10

  • Story: Gripping, touching, incredible, and most of all: realistic. No extreme, just what is. Thumbs up to the fact that it's not smeared with American propaganda, you can feel a certain neutrality towards it.
  • Characters: A psychological depth that you can really feel.
  • Dialogs: Perfect.
  • Scenario: Great mix of pacing that really fills your mind.
  • Actors: Solid work from everyone. Superb job by Bradley Cooper who seems to have put on a lot of muscle since his last gig.
  • Photography: Captivating.
  • Special effects: Just right.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those who try to understand war through movies like me, war junkies, Cooper fans, and those looking for a psychological fuck up.

I'm not sure why I'm not giving it a perfect score. Maybe it's just in comparison to other excellent war movies. Most flick based on actual facts have a tendency to be a bit incomplete, because you cannot rearrange events to fit that perfect scenario. That's probably why. Anyway, my hat to Clint Eastwood.

Bruce Almighty — Funny, even hilarious, if a little simple — 7*/10

  • Story: The basic idea is very interesting. The finished product is funny, often hilarious. However, it's a bit easy and at times predictable. Je jokes are mostly juvenile.
  • Characters: Easy to relate to, funny, if a bit stereotypical.
  • Dialogs: Well done, most of the time very funny.
  • Scenario: Good pacing, with a few obvious plot hooks.
  • Actors: Jim Carrey is his funny self, just a hair from over-exaggeration; he was just starting to rein himself in. Jennifer Aniston is good as is Morgan Freeman, both of whom got simple roles for their talent. Mention for hilarity: Steve Carell.
  • Photography: Well done.
  • Special effects: Good, but getting old. Green screen technology wasn't as effective then as it is now.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? If you're looking for something funny and light.

mardi 20 janvier 2015

Annie — A freakishly underrated musical that anybody can enjoy — 7*/10

  • Story: Uplifting, catchy, interesting, easy, pretty rosy.
  • Characters: Lovable.
  • Dialogs: Acceptable.
  • Scenario: Not too much singing and placed well enough that even somebody like me who doesn't like musical could appreciate the flick.
  • Actors: Quvenzhané Wallis is solid in the main role. Cameron Diazi is interesting as the mean foster mom. Jamie Foxx gives us a good performance, from the heart. Loved Rose Byrne.
  • Photography: Nice.
  • Special effects: None visible.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? For the whole family, even those who normally do not like musicals. Those who don't like rosy movies should abstain.

Yes Man — Easy entertainment that will cheer you up — 7*/10

  • Story: Funny, based on an interesting concept, a bit predictable, but very enjoyable and entertaining.
  • Characters: Not complicated, but good enough.
  • Dialogs: Funny.
  • Scenario: Good pacing, well built.
  • Actors: Jim Carrey is very good in the main role as he steered away from excess. Zooey Deschanel does a nice job, even though she didn't have much room to show her talent. A small role for Bradley Cooper, before he had made his mark, well done. Solid mention for: John Michael Higgins and Terence Stamp.
  • Photography: Nice.
  • Special effects: Almost none.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those looking for light entertainment or Carrey fans.

lundi 19 janvier 2015

The Bourne Legacy — Better than the third not as good as the first two — 7*/10

  • Story: The feel of the original trilogy is gone, but we still have some of the thrill. A bit too much explanation and setup.
  • Characters: Minimal, if acceptable.
  • Dialogs: Satisfactory.
  • Scenario: The pace is not as quick as the other chapters. The action not as solid and clockwork, but still impressive.
  • Actors: They did a good job for the most part. I really liked Edward Norton. Jeremy Renner was fine if not up to Bourne standard. Rachel Weisz is as good as always, and was pretty much on the nose as for realism. Special mention for Stacy Keach and Corey Stoll for their small role.
  • Photography: Very well done.
  • Special effects: Nice work, seamless.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those in need of a nice action flick or wanting to know what happens after Jason.

It took me a while to sit down and watch it. I was afraid that it would be worst than the third chapter or that they would totally screw up the franchise. It turned out fine, if not as good as the original.

dimanche 18 janvier 2015

Safety Not Guaranteed — What indie filming is all about — 8*/10

  • Story: Realistic, simple, touching and somewhat entrancing.
  • Characters: So well done, you have no choice but to believe in them. After all, we all have a little weird in us. The government agents are a little lame, though.
  • Dialogs: Totally believable, yet entertaining.
  • Scenario: Captures our attention gradually, until we're completely captivated. The intro is not what you'd be waiting for, and for that reason feels a little jarring, but it works well. The ending is great.
  • Actors: Excellent work on the part of Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson.
  • Photography: Good.
  • Special effects: Very simple and very effective.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? If you don't need too much action or bells and whistles, if you like something offbeat, and if you don't mind indie films.

samedi 17 janvier 2015

Life as We Know It — Don't expect too much and you'll like it — 6*/10

  • Story: Easy, predictable, but enjoyable.
  • Characters: You can't help but love them even though they are way too stereotypical.
  • Dialogs: Satisfactory, sometimes funny.
  • Scenario: Satisfactory, sometimes funny. Never surprising.
  • Actors: Katherine Heigl is the one that makes that movie work. Josh Duhamel is good, but the role is so easy. Love Christina Hendricks.
  • Photography: Nice and clean as all those Hollywood rom-com are.
  • Special effects: None
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those in need of something simple and cute, romantic comedy lovers, or Heigl fans.

mardi 13 janvier 2015

Exodus: Gods and Kings — An incredible vision even for atheists — 8*/10

  • Story: Ridley Scott made it all seem so real, simple and relatable that even an complete atheist like me could appreciate it and be captivated.
  • Characters: All the main ones were solidly built. God is just perfect.
  • Dialogs: Very interesting.
  • Scenario: Great pacing with some nice slow scenes and more active ones. Didn't like the last scene with the cart. Weird. It needed another scene to close, but that wasn't good.
  • Actors: Christian Bale's best performance since American Psycho and part of it is not in his usual range. Joel Edgerton delivered a great performance as Ramses. John Turturro is perfect as Seti. Sigourney Weaver has a small role but did it well. Ben Kingsley didn't have much either and did better elsewhere.
  • Photography: Astoundingly beautiful.
  • Special effects: Perfect. Love the calamities.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those looking for gritty realistic view of Moses, some action or semi-fantasy flick.

Nagging detail: I can't believe Scott included fighting cavalry units. It's a common mistake, but I expected better of him. There were no efficient saddle at the time to make fighting from horseback anything but a waste. Horsemen were only used as long range scout or for some non-combatant officiers.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — See the extended version, not the theatrical one — 9*/10

Important Note: The extend version is much better than the theatrical one, I give it a 9*/10 instead of a 7*/10. The story is longer and filled with many details that make the final cut extremely entertaining. So, please read the following with that in mind. It mostly doesn't hold true anymore.

  • Story: Linear and unsurprising. Most of the time, we just can't feel the emotion that's being conveyed. Obviously missing J.R.R. Tolkien's touch. It shows that Peter Jackson made a movie about something that Tolkien barely wrote a few lines about.
  • Characters: The same as before. The worst part is the whole thing about the madness of Thorin. There's also the fact that Legolas is there, not to mention the elf-dwarf love story.
  • Dialogs: Acceptable.
  • Scenario: The pacing is nice. The death of Smaug is well made.
  • Actors: Acceptable. The human extras were not very good.
  • Photography: Great looking, if a repetition of camera shots from previous Tolkien adaptations. Maybe it was just my projection that was wrong, but the lighting was off in certain scenes, mainly with the humans.
  • Special effects: Lots of it.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those who need to see the end of the story. Others should abstain.

dimanche 11 janvier 2015

Hateship Loveship — Appreciable if you're up for it — 6*/10

  • Story: Definitively not your usual romance. It even takes half the movie to get anywhere. The novelty of it all makes this flick.
  • Characters: Mostly downtrodden, but well built.
  • Dialogs: Simple and realistic.
  • Scenario: Slow pace. You need to be able to sustain nothing happening for a while in order to appreciate it.
  • Actors: Good acting all around. My hat to Kristen Wiig a nice main role. Guy Pearce gave us a solid performance, right on the dot. I'm not sure what to say about Nick Nolte, but it might be just that his physical health impaired his performance.
  • Photography: Gritty, but well done.
  • Special effects: None.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those who like offbeat flicks and novelty on a slow beat and a small budget. You can hope for any action or laughter.

vendredi 9 janvier 2015

Leap Year — Pretty standard romantic comedy with some nice funny antics — 6*/10

  • Story: It's a very basic tale of someone looking for what they want and overlooking the underdog. The end is just boring. However, there's a lot of fun to be had along the way.
  • Characters: Simple.
  • Dialogs: Funny.
  • Scenario: Nothing new. Just a bunch of obstacles that lead to entanglements and funny situations.
  • Actors: Good work, especially for Amy Adams. Without her, the film would be a bust.
  • Photography: Shiny and nice, with a few incredible vista shots.
  • Special effects: None.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Romantics who don't mind the standard Hollywood mold. For fans of Amy Adams.

mardi 6 janvier 2015

Good Will Hunting — Straight to the heart — 10*/10

  • Story: Quickly captivates your mind. Very touching.
  • Characters: Lots of depth. You can really feel them. Nice psychological background.
  • Dialogs: Straight, solid, and often funny or with lots of emotions.
  • Scenario: Great pacing, nice balance between light scenes and those more charged. Things get wrapped up pretty well, but not in a must be rosy at all cost way. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck did a superb job. The only reproach I would have to mention is when the girl first mention California, it wasn't introduced at all.
  • Actors: Robin Williams is simple and right on the dot, you can't help but feel what he feels. Matt Damon did a great performance and it put him on the map. Ben Affleck and the other south Boston buddies were perfect. Minnie Driver was very endearing and touching. Stellan Skarsgård was so-so, but maybe it's just because I couldn't tolerate his character.
  • Photography: Nice.
  • Special effects: None
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those rooting for the underdog, who don't mind crying and laughing in the same movie, who like simple realistic romance, or who like solid psychological scaffold to their story.

dimanche 4 janvier 2015

That Thing You Do! — Captivating and quite entertaining — 8*/10

  • Story: Becomes quickly engrossing.
  • Characters: Nice depth.
  • Dialogs: Realistic and funny most of the time.
  • Scenario: Well paced and sprinkled with little details that make it really interesting and funny.
  • Actors: Tom Everett Scott is the guy you'll love in the main role. Liv Tyler shines with the little time she has, touching, totally adorable and cute. Tom Hanks has an easy role for his talent and plays it well. Charlize Theron wasn't seen much, but she was a stunner nonetheless. Giovanni Ribisi wasn't well known at the time, but did a good job with his small role. Kudos to Ethan Embry, Bill Cobbs and Steve Zahn.
  • Photography: Nothing to say.
  • Special effects: Nothing to say.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? Those looking for something easy to listen and entertaining, or a funny historical/biographical flick. Music lovers, Hanks fans, Tyler fans, 

Ted — Feels like a television show that morphs into romantic comedy then action-thriller — 7*/10

  • Story: Funny, all the way through. Keeps your attention on. The way the bear evolves and how the world treats him is perfect.
  • Characters: Well built, if simple. The bear is, of course, a genius idea and extremely well implemented.
  • Dialogs: Hilarious, if you like the Seth MacFarlane style. It's a lot of words, crass, simple and very direct.
  • Scenario: Well paced, if a bit of a mash up between styles. Gives you a bit of everything, but mainly comedy. Mostly very juvenile humor. The romantic plot elements are straight out of the Hollywood standard mold, which makes it a bit disappointing.
  • Actors: Not a stretch for Mark Wahlberg or Mila Kunis who can both play much more complex characters. Seth MacFarlane is equal to himself, very funny. Giovanni Ribisi brings out the big loony-bin guns for some very special moments. Kudos to Patrick Stewart, Norah Jones and Tom Skerritt.
  • Photography: Nothing special.
  • Special effects: The bear is very well animated. It might not age well, but I'm sure it won't look too much out of place in the future.
  • Synopsis & information
  • Who is it for? For those in need of some easy entertainment with a bit of everything, who don't mind crass humor, for stoner fans or MacFarlane fans.