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Author Topic: Michael's random reviews  (Read 15590 times)
Silence_of_Lambs
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« Reply #75 on: January 02, 2011, 11:24:20 PM »

Lions for Lambs




Summary:
Three stories told simultaneous in ninety minutes of real time: a Republican Senator (Tom Cruise) gives an hour-long interview to a skeptical television reporter (Meryl Streep), detailing a strategy for victory in Afghanistan; two special forces (Michael Peņa and Derek Luke) ambushed on an Afghani ridge await rescue as Taliban forces close in; a political-sciences professor (Robert Redford) at a California college invites a promising student (Andrew Garfield) to re-engage. Decisions press upon the reporter, the student, and the soldiers.

My Thoughts:
This is a movie about decisions and their consequences. From the small everyday decisions of individuals to the "big" decisions of whole nations.

Redford did a great job with this movie which sadly isn't as well known as it would have deserved.
The great combination of three (seemingly) independent plot strings works extremely well. The Cast is doing a hell of a job.

It's a slow movie that tells it's story in the pace needed and it makes it's point clear. It is a movie with a mission, but not with an agenda, which is good.
It leaves a bunch of lose ends, but it wouldn't work if they were all solved.
This is one of those very rare movies that need (and easily get) your full attention, and since it's a movie about decisions it leaves the decision to you what you want to take out of this movie.

I simply love it.

My Rating: (out of possible 5)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 06:20:56 PM by Silence_of_Lambs » Logged

Michael

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« Reply #76 on: January 02, 2011, 11:31:12 PM »

I know a lot of people didn't seem to care for this one too much, but I really liked it.
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Silence_of_Lambs
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« Reply #77 on: January 05, 2011, 12:02:40 AM »

The Contract



Summary:
Ray Keene (John Cusack), a father who wants to redeem himself in the eyes of his son (Jamie Anderson), is trying to bring Carden (Morgan Freeman), a world-class assassin to justice. All the while, he must protect his son and evade the assassin's team who are methodically hunting them down in the wilderness.

My Thoughts:
Now here we have a movie with a world-class start, that sadly can't keep up with it's extremely promising beginning.
Very soon it's obvious that Cusack and Freeman are taking this as a routine-job. These two alone could make a movie sparkle, but both lack the necessary esprit for this here, so we learn that these two alone could pull a movie down to an average mass-production.
It's an entertaining movie, but it's only another variation of the old "Run & Hide"-genre.
The several implied subjects (father-/son conflict, or "the assassin as a tool of politics"), remain strangely flat and are miraculously solved at the end of the movie.
This movie is a "Must" for fans of either Cusack, Freeman or the genre. All others don't miss much if they never saw it. Most of it looks awfully familiar anyway.

My Rating: (out of possible 5)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 06:21:18 PM by Silence_of_Lambs » Logged

Michael

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Silence_of_Lambs
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« Reply #78 on: January 09, 2011, 04:32:11 PM »

Up in the Air  



Summary:
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams (Vera Farmiga).

My Thoughts:
Don't really know what took me so long.
I got interested in this movie after seeing the trailers, but it took me nearly half a year to finally buy and watch it.

I expected a light comedy, what I got was a complete film that covered just about any emotional aspect of life. So yes, there were elements of comedy, sometimes even absurdity, but so was drama, romance, tragedy as well as sheer stupidity and astonishing intelligence.
You will find absolutely hilarious scenes (Ryan and Alex lying on a Hotel bed and comparing their bonus-program cards) just to be faced with heartbreaking sad scenes (Ryan visiting Alex at her home).
It's a great movie that gets you with it's adorable opening sequence and keeps you glued to the screen unto the endcredits.

My Rating: (out of possible 5)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 06:21:42 PM by Silence_of_Lambs » Logged

Michael

There's no place like 127.0.0.1
Silence_of_Lambs
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« Reply #79 on: January 10, 2011, 06:46:39 PM »

The Squid and the Whale



Summary:
Based on true childhood experiences The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys (Owen Kline and Jesse Eisenberg) dealing with their parents' (Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels) divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

My Thoughts:
Got this film as part of a boxset that was less expensive than the other movie would have been if bought seperately.

It is, as I learned a highly praised movie and the winner of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
It too is a film that tries to capture life as it is and it turns out that "life" is mostly dull, boring and banal.
The acting of all participants is great, sadly the plot cannot compete with the capabilities of the cast. It took all my mental powers to get through this movie and I was extremely annoyed in the end.
But Jeff Daniels is giving us a pseudo-intellectual college teacher that would rescue the whole film if this role wouldn't be so dislikeable that you'd wish for brass-knuckles should you ever meet this guy in real life.
Two very annoying plausibility-leaks (out of many more):
1) The younger brother (about 10 years old!) gets caught twice with a beer can in his hands (once by his older brother, once by his father) and this results in ... nothing.
2) In 1986 the attempt to say that the Pink Floyd song "Hey You" (from the quite unknown album "The Wall") was written by yourself, is so obviously doomed to fail that no one with a working brain would have tried this. Walt (the older brother) does this, and even wins a poetry contest (until he gets caught some time later)

So my rating is 5 stars for the acting 0 stars for the plot. In total this is

My Rating: (out of possible 5)
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 03:52:46 PM by Silence_of_Lambs » Logged

Michael

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« Reply #80 on: January 10, 2011, 10:15:10 PM »

I thought The Squid and the Whale was fantastic. But as with Rachel Getting Married, I just didn't like it. Tried it twice, but it just wouldn't gel.

By the way, apologies to Matthias. Ever since he first enthusiastically reviewed RGM, it's become my de facto "brilliant, but awful" benchmark. Embarrassed It's really not fair of me...
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Jon
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« Reply #81 on: January 10, 2011, 11:28:31 PM »

No worries Jon, I can take it.  Training And it's a nice shortcut of recommending a movie to me: Either refer to RGM or call it pretentious.  Laugh

I haven't seen any of Noah Baumbach's films yet. Both The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding sounded kinda interesting, but I never got that must-see vibe from any of the reviews. And Greenberg has Ben Stiller, so I'm excused.
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« Reply #82 on: January 10, 2011, 11:50:13 PM »

Despite myself, I still find Greenberg tempting. Apparently Stiller is marvellous in it. How much respect you give that sentence is perhaps dictated by how genuine you thought similar assessments were of other low-brow comedians turned method actors... such as Carrey in The Truman Show or Eternal Sunshine (I can't be bothered to type the rest of the title. You know, the ...of the Spotless Mind bit. Oh... Embarrassed), Williams in Good Will Hunting and Insomnia, or Steve Martin in The Spanish Prisoner.
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Jon
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Silence_of_Lambs
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« Reply #83 on: January 11, 2011, 12:35:36 AM »

I thought The Squid and the Whale was fantastic. But as with Rachel Getting Married, I just didn't like it.

Almost agreed, it's not the movie that is brilliant, it's the acting, which is so intense that you don't even realize the acting anymore.
Sadly this performance was (for me) completely wasted on this film.
There may be people who actually like this, I'm just not sure if I would like them.
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Michael

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« Reply #84 on: January 11, 2011, 01:11:07 AM »

I thought The Squid and the Whale was fantastic. But as with Rachel Getting Married, I just didn't like it.

Almost agreed, it's not the movie that is brilliant, it's the acting, which is so intense that you don't even realize the acting anymore.
Sadly this performance was (for me) completely wasted on this film.
There may be people who actually like this, I'm just not sure if I would like them.

That's true, they were superb. I particularly remember thinking how they had focused on the character I liked least. I would have liked it more from Jeff Daniels perspective, because I sympathised with him. In some ways it has similarities with Wes Anderson films, but he seems to succeed more in the dysfunctional stakes.
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Jon
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Silence_of_Lambs
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« Reply #85 on: January 11, 2011, 05:20:52 PM »

I would have liked it more from Jeff Daniels perspective, because I sympathised with him.
Shocked You sympathise with a pseudo-intellectual, socially challenged asshole that tries to rape a student? Shocked

Wow. Wouldn't have expected that.  Grin Laugh
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 05:23:24 PM by Silence_of_Lambs » Logged

Michael

There's no place like 127.0.0.1
Silence_of_Lambs
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« Reply #86 on: January 19, 2011, 01:05:38 AM »

Awakenings



Summary:
A new doctor (Robin Williams) finds himself with a ward full of comatose patients. He is disturbed by them and the fact that they have been comatose for decades with no hope of any cure. When he finds a possible chemical cure he gets permission to try it on one of them (Robert de Niro). The cure works...

My Thoughts:
Now here we have one of the best movies of the last century.

Based on a true story this movie really has it all. The plot is gripping, sad, amusing, romantic, all in one go. The only thing that's missing is a car chase (just kidding).
Directing, acting, cinematography, editing and soundtrack they all grip seamlessly into each other and by this create an unforgettable film. What makes this truly outstanding is one of the best performances of an actor ever: Robert de Niro as Leonard Lowe. I still can't believe that the Oscar went to Jeremy Irons that year.
It's a minimalistic movie that develops its characters very carefully, no scene, no sentence and no cut is redundant. Nevertheless is a rather slow-paced movie because it gives the characters the time and room needed to be recognized as individuals with each their own story.
When you watch it: Keep the Kleenex-box near by!
I can't really believe that it took me so long to finally get it on DVD.

My Rating: (out of possible 5)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 03:45:07 PM by Silence_of_Lambs » Logged

Michael

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« Reply #87 on: January 19, 2011, 05:34:36 AM »

Awakenings

My Thoughts:

[...]

not to forget the soundtrack by Clint Eastwood.

[...]
That seemed surprising to me... IMDb credits Randy newman. Did Eastwood make some additional music or is it just a typo...?
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Silence_of_Lambs
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« Reply #88 on: January 19, 2011, 10:34:33 AM »

Both, in fact.
Eastwood wrote the title-song. My comment aimed at the parts by Randy Newman though.
Must stop writing reviews at 1 A.M.

Error is duly corrected
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 10:39:09 AM by Silence_of_Lambs » Logged

Michael

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« Reply #89 on: January 19, 2011, 09:47:42 PM »

I would have liked it more from Jeff Daniels perspective, because I sympathised with him.
Shocked You sympathise with a pseudo-intellectual, socially challenged asshole that tries to rape a student? Shocked

Wow. Wouldn't have expected that.  Grin Laugh

Only just saw this! All I can say is, at least he was honest...  Whistle
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Jon
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