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Fascinating true story, lackluster adaptation
If you want to see a true story movie directed by Baltasar Kormakúr watch Everest. If you want to see a true story movie about sea survival watch Open Water. If you want to be annoyed by Shailene Woodley's "acting" for 90 minutes you might as well choose to watch this one.
The film is about a couple (played by Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence) living in a solitary house, the husband being a poet in creative crisis, with his wife wholeheartedly supporting him and trying to keep their home clean and tidy. One day strangers start to show up at their house, first an older man (Ed Harris), then his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer), then their two sons, which then leads to some conflict, and things start to become more and more strange and dark. The wife of the poet doesn't understand why all these people keep appearing at their home, and why her husband is so welcoming and emphatetic to them, while being cold and distant to her.
Mother! has elements of drama, horror, mystery, psychological thriller and social commentary. It puts you in a position where you see things from Jennifer Lawrence's perspective, not being sure what and why is happening around her, and feeling that something is definitely not right in that house and with those people. The movie has an unsettling atmosphere, and eventually (at around the 90 minute mark) you realize that nothing in it is what it appears to be, the film is an allegory - of possibly not just one but a variety of things. Which is probably one of the main reasons why many people don't like it; because when things are somewhat revealed, they feel like they were tricked into believing that the movie was something else. (That's actually the reason why I gave it an 8 instead of a 9, but I still like it a lot, I actually think this is one of the best films of the year).
A huge shout-out to Jennifer Lawrence whom I never thought would impress me with her acting as much as she did in this one. Her performance in Mother! is so delicate, so emotional, so real, that I couldn't but feel sympathy for her character throughout the film. She is amazing in this!
If you saw The Fountain (another movie from Aronofsky), and you liked it, Mother! might be another one for you. It has similar themes, but goes even further in being abstract and different from mainstream Hollywood cinema.
The Rules of Attraction (2002)
Disturbing, depressing and funny at the same time
This movie introduces three college students who, for various reasons, feel like they lost hope for a meaningful life, but try to hang on to the pleasures of existence, such as sex and drugs. One of the three seems completely irredeemable (he even calls himself an "emotional vampire", who "feeds off of other people's real emotions"), but the other two still have some qualities that make them somewhat likable. We get a glimpse of how they see the world and people around them, and how none of their friends or family seem to lead a much more noble life than they do. If it sounds depressing, well it is, but if you're a person who at least went through times of hopelessness in the past, it might be something you can relate to; although the movie doesn't seem to offer any hope or solution.
The book the movie is based on was written by Bret Easton Ellis, who also wrote American Psycho, and you can definitely see the similarities between the characters of the two films, as well as the themes.
The highlights of the movie are the performances. James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon and Ian Somerhalder totally sell their characters; when you're watching them they don't seem like actors giving a performance, but actual people with complicated thoughts, feelings and desires. The camera work is also really good, it does a good job capturing the weirdness of the characters' state of mind. Besides that, the movie has some genuinely funny moments which mostly come from the over the top nature of some of the characters.
I only recommend it if the description above sounds intriguing to you. If it doesn't, you probably won't like it.
Rules of Attraction is a movie I like to revisit from time to time, for its unique tone and its relentlessness, and because it shows a part of the human experience that hardly any movies do, and does it in a way that is not only dark, but also entertaining.
Gerald's Game (2017)
Masterful directing by Mike Flanagan and an outstanding lead performance by Carla Gugino makes this one of, if not THE best movie of the year
Gerald's Game is wonderfully shot, directed and edited, and has the best female lead performance I've seen in years. The dialog, the atmosphere and some of the plot points definitely have a Stephen King feel to them (which I mean as a positive). Also, during the second act we learn about an event that happened to our female protagonist when she was a child, which adds a whole new emotional layer to the movie, and gives us another reason to care about her and root for her.
In the last 15-20 minutes there is a reveal that I thought was unnecessary, and I can imagine that for some people it might even ruin the movie, but I personally was able to reconcile with it, because I accepted that it was Stephen King's story, and that it was important to him. Also, at the end of the day it didn't change the main message of the movie.
All in all, this is a great film, I definitely recommend it to horror fans (especially to fans of Stephen King). But be aware that it's not your typical horror movie, like Creepshow or Pet Sematary, but rather a psychological drama with a very unsettling vibe, some frightening imagery and an emotional gutpunch that will probably haunt you even after the movie is over.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton (2017)
I thought it was just okay
I was really looking forward to seeing this, because Man on the Moon is amongst my favourite movies of all time (definitely in my Top 20), and I was intrigued by the fact that, as we recently found out, Carrey "stayed in character" throughout the entire production process. I was curious to see how that all turned out. And even though it was interesting to see all the footage, and I could even relate to some of the things Jim said in his interview bits, but in the end there was no point, no message, nothing that we could learn from all of this (other than the fact that shooting Man on the Moon must have been a painful and exhausting experience for everyone involved). All in all, it was an okay documentary, I was never bored, but I expected something more, to be honest. Even possibly something revelatory, as I always thought there was much more to Jim Carrey than just his amazing on-screen talent. And maybe there still is, but this was not the documentary to reveal that to us.
Wind River (2017)
Why does every line of dialogue need to be a social commentary?
Sure, this movie has some stuff going for it. The scenery is beautiful, cinematography is fine, Jeremy Renner is a likable guy, Elizabeth Olsen is pretty, and the local cop/sheriff (played by Graham Greene) is a believable character who acts like an actual human being. Too bad he's the only one. Wind River - even more so than Hell or High Water (written by the same guy) - is filled with dialogue where people talk in metaphors, where there's always a deeper meaning to what they say, in other words, it doesn't sound like normal, everyday people talking to each other. If they only did that in certain key moments, it would be fine, it could work if that's what the story demands. But when that's all you hear throughout the whole film, it becomes pretentious and irritating.
Also, I'm tired of the notion that certain movies feel the need to hit you over the head with their social commentary. When the young female FBI agent arrives, everybody is surprised, obviously because they don't think a woman is fit for the job (aka sexism). When they arrive at the home of the native American family, the father asks the FBI agent: "Why is it that whenever you people want to help us, you always insult us first?" (Because that's what white people always do, I guess.) When the Indian boy, who sells drugs, gets caught and confronted by Jeremy Renner, the conversation is about him fighting against the whole world, and how Jeremy Renner shouldn't say "we", because the only native American thing about him is his wife. And if that's not enough lecturing for you, then wait for Elizabeth Olsen thanking Jeremy Renner for saving her life, and Renner replying by saying, "you're a tough woman, you saved your own life". Obviously the problem is not the idea of "strong women", but the fact that instead of making it a natural part of the story and the characters, the director decides to shove it down our throats through such clumsy, heavy- handed dialogue.
There's a shoot-out scene towards the end of the movie, that I thought, was written and executed pretty poorly. First of all, at one point I couldn't even tell who's on whose side, and who gets shot by who. It felt like they tried to recreate the amazing border shoot-out scene from Sicario (also written by the same guy), only this time in the snow. The problem is that we don't know anything about most of the people who are in this scene, as they were just introduced two minutes earlier, but all of a sudden we're supposed care whether they live or die.
Anyway, if you're a huge Jeremy Renner or Elizabeth Olsen fan, you might as well go and check it out, but be prepared, it's not a very good one.
Devil's Pond (2003)
This movie is neither outstanding, nor groundbreaking in any way, shape or form, yet still, it's a contained, tension filled, entertaining thriller that I pretty much have no complaints about. Acting, directing and camera-work are all tight, and what I really appreciated is that every setup in the movie had a payoff, which shows that they actually put effort in the script. This is probably the best performance I've seen from Tara Reid (she is really good throughout the film!), and Rip Pardue is also impressive as the male lead. This movie wouldn't have worked without these two strong performances, but they pulled it off really well. Even though it was made 14 years ago, and I've seen it two or three times already, it still holds up.
I was totally caught off guard by this movie, as I had heard nothing about it before, until I saw it today on HBO, and it turned out to be pretty d*mn good!
Detour is a small road trip thriller about a teenage boy who suspects that his stepfather did something bad to his Mom, and as he tries to figure out what to do about it, he makes some stupid decisions which get him into trouble. As the events of the film unfold we start to realize that the mess he made is even worse than we thought, and there are some crazy and unexpected twists and turns along the way.
I missed the first 5 minutes of the movie, but it was easy to pick up, and due to the acting, the realistic dialogue, the tension and the amazing camera-work I was hooked from the moment I started watching to the very end. The performances are top notch; both Tye Sheridan and Emory Cohen - who I had never heard about before - are fantastic, as well as the girl, Bel Powley. The story is exciting, and is told in a clever (even if not entirely original) way. There are several instances when the movie goes to unexpected places, and through the unfolding events more and more information gets revealed about the characters, which makes Detour an especially interesting and fun ride.
(I guess, at this point, Christopher Smith has got to be one of my favourite directors, as he also directed the 2009 movie "Triangle", which is a similarly unrecognized, underrated thriller, and is a personal favourite of mine.)
Get Out (2017)
Excellent filmmaking! Even better after second watch
I just recently rewatched this movie and I'm happy I did, because there are so many details I didn't realize during my first watch, but I did realize during the second time, which made it even more fun to watch and a better film overall.
GET OUT is a horror-satire that discusses the issue of racism (at least certain aspects of it), but it does it in a way that is not heavy-handed or preachy. I like the fact that it makes fun of how white people tend to relate to black people, but also how black people tend to relate to white people and even to each other. At the same time it has some genuine moments that show the difficulties black people can have in a white-majority environment. Nowadays people can be labeled a racist even for ridiculous reasons (especially in the U.S.) which is a very unhealthy tendency in society. And if that's something that bothers you as well, let me assure you, GET OUT is not a film of that spirit, its goal is not to make white people feel guilty. This movie is smart, funny, but it also has heart, and is honest about the topic.
Acting, directing, writing and cinematography are great across the board. The two best performances, in my opinion, are that of Daniel Kaluuya, who plays the main character and Lakeith Stanfield who plays a smaller role, but is fantastic in that.
GET OUT is thrilling, creepy, funny, sometimes over-the-top, and even though it was released back in January, for me (as of September 4, 2017) it is still the best movie of the year.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Nocturnal Animals introduces three stories: one is present day reality, the second one is a flashback of past memories, and the third one is a fictional story written by one of the main characters. These three stories are excellently woven together, and together they add up to a movie that, I think, is one of the best ones of 2016.
The fictional storyline rises above the rest of the movie, especially because of two magnetic performances by Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. The dialogue and the acting in this particular part of the movie is really-really good (better than in the other two story lines), it got me totally invested in the characters and the story.
The cinematography and the editing throughout the whole film is outstanding.
I don't want to spoil anything, so I will only say: If you like a good thriller/drama that will also make you think about things such as life, regrets, relationships, you will probably like it.
The Wolverine (2013)
After second viewing I can confidently say that The Wolverine is my favourite X-Men movie to date (yes, I like it better than Logan), also one of my favourite superhero movies.
Hugh Jackman with his sarcasm and snarky one-liners is as good as Wolverine gets in any of the movies he's in. The Japanese cast also does a great job, and not only that but the actress playing Mariko (Tao Okamoto) is breathtakingly beautiful in the film.
I like the fact that it is set in Japan which makes the look and the atmosphere of the film unique compared to most comic book flicks which usually take place in the U.S. (or Europe). Japan with its peculiar culture, traditions and architecture really feels like a whole different world, and the film conveys that very well.
The action sequences are nicely choreographed and shot, two of them (the amazing train fight scene and the funeral sequence) are especially entertaining. The characters are well fleshed out, the writing and the acting gives you the chance to care for them, and makes the emotional moments work. The Wolverine is really about the characters more than anything else.
It is true that the last act, with the two villains, almost feels like a different movie, the tone becomes inconsistent with the rest of the film. But the story, the characters and the action throughout most of the movie was so engaging and fun to watch that a weaker third act couldn't ruin the overall experience for me.
Disappointment of the year
The first Guardians was great. It was unexpected, fresh, funny, with exciting characters and a decent story. For the sequel they kept the characters, but the jokes were forced (I only had a few laughs), the characters, although they were the same, became much less likable, and there was hardly any story. It was boring, and after the first hour or so, I was eagerly waiting for the movie to end. While in the first film the old school music was a clever tool to create a unique atmosphere, in this one it quickly became tired, as the movie was too heavily relying on it. Also, they used waaaaay too much exposition. Almost everything you learn about the characters, their backstories and the plot itself, they tell you through dialogue. (That's poor writing.) One more thing that really bothered me (among many other things) was Sean Gunn. He is clearly not a good actor, but for some reason (probably because he's the director's brother) he got much more screen time than in the first film. And it didn't work. Just like most of the movie.
The Mummy (2017)
Enjoyable, but with many flaws
This movie was much-much better than what I expected after all the negative reviews, but I also understand the low ratings, because The Mummy has a lot of issues.
First the positives:
1. Tom Cruise. I think his acting and comic timing is what holds the movie together, primarily. His performance in this reminded me of the first Jack Reacher movie, which I liked a lot (not surprisingly Christopher McQuarrie, the director of Jack Reacher, was one of the writers for this one).
2. The humour. The tone of the movie, especially the first hour was very similar to the 1999 Mummy, and it worked for me for the most part. I especially liked Tom's chemistry with his sidekick (Jake Johnson), who strangely disappeared for the second act, and then reappeared for the last 30 minutes or so.
3. Sofia Boutella. She was amazing, absolutely menacing and scary as the mummy.
4. The action and the special effects were really good throughout the film. You can tell they put a lot of effort in it.
As far as the negatives go, by the second half of the movie it becomes very convoluted, hard to follow, as they tried to cram in way too many subplots (this being the first installment of the "Dark Universe" franchise), and the tone wasn't consistent either. The writing and the editing is flawed, especially in the first half an hour, and then in the last act as well. (UPDATE: Upon rewatch I gotta say the story makes sense, you just need to pay close attention to able to follow it.)
All in all, The Mummy is far from perfect, but still a pretty enjoyable movie that I recommend.
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Decent origin story with amazing visuals
I'm really sad about the negative reviews this movie gets.
Sure, Ghost in the Shell is not a masterpiece, the first two acts are pretty slow, and the movie uses way too much expositional dialogue to explain things to the viewer. But there is also a lot to appreciate about this film, and I would be disappointed, if they decided not to do a sequel.
First of all, this movie looks fantastic, the special effects are impressive, and through the film you really get a feel of the world they introduce. Also, the performances are all very solid, not only ScarJo, but the supporting cast as well. My favourite was the old Japanese man (if you saw the movie, you know who), who was a total badass. The action sequences were all very well shot and exciting. But the movie's biggest achievement is that by the third act I really cared for the characters, so during the final action sequence I was sitting on the edge of my seat, and rooted for the heroes to prevail.
If you like good sci-fi and action, I recommend it.
Still the best one of the MCU!
Just rewatched Winter Soldier for the fifth or sixth time, and I still can't think of any other one of the MCU movies that works so well (at least for me), not only as a superhero movie, but as a film in general. Apart from the amazing action and great fight scenes, there's a lot of emphasis on character, personal drama and it's got just enough humour. The villains (Robert Redford's character and the Winter Soldier) are also very well written and fleshed out, and the CGI is pretty good too. The stunt work is outstanding! This is a comic book movie that not only entertains you with its cool- looking characters and spectacular action scenes, but makes you feel for the heroes (Cap, Natasha, Fury, Falcon, etc.), and keeps you on the edge of your street with the tension and the twists and turns of the story.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
How a film from 2004 has become my all time favourite comic book movie in 2017
I might had seen Spider-Man 2 (or parts of it) many-many years ago, but I couldn't clearly remember, and since I heard so many people praise this movie recently, I finally decided to check it out. And I'm so happy I did, because this movie is great!
First of all, it's masterfully written and directed. The characters are well fleshed out, the story is engaging and emotional, the camera- work is fantastic, and there's a lot of humour in it.
The performances (Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina) are all solid, but if I had to pick my favourite character from the movie, it would be J. Jonah Jameson played by J.K. Simmons. He shines throughout the film, his lines and the way he delivers them are laugh-out-loud hilarious, and he looks as if he jumped right out of the comics. Which, by the way, can be said about the whole movie. Spider-Man 2 is unapologetic about being a comic book adaptation, it doesn't try to be overly realistic, you can tell, Sam Raimi had fun making it.
Spider-Man 2, for me, is a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre, because it puts the emphasis on the people, their relationships, their character development, and it's not just a fun comic book flick, but a great film with genuine humour, heartfelt drama and a couple of spectacular action sequences (watch out for the train scene!). There are several subplots (Peter's relationship with MJ, his friendship with Harry, his relationship with Aunt May, the story of Doctor Octopus), but the movie handles all of them in a way that it doesn't feel bloated, and by the end they're all resolved in a very satisfying way.
War Dogs (2016)
Pleasantly surprised, but not blown away
It's an enjoyable movie. After hearing some of the early reviews I expected something much worse. Jonah Hill's and Miles Teller's performances are the strongest part of War Dogs, and the story itself (especially knowing that it is based on actual events) is engaging enough that it kept me interested all the way through. At the same time there is nothing special or particularly original about this film. At times it reminded me of some of Scorsese's gangster films, like Goodfellas and Casino, and even The Wolf of Wall Street, but as far as directing or screenplay it is nowhere near those classics. I would definitely recommend it for a watch, but don't expect your world to be shaken.
Jack Reacher (2012)
Don't believe the haters, this is a lot of fun
I went in to this movie not expecting much. People didn't talk a lot about Jack Reacher, and the reviews were mostly mixed or negative. Boy, was I surprised!
Jack Reacher is the best action movie I've seen in a long time, but not only that - it's also super funny. I think many of the reviewers/critics didn't get what this movie was going for with its cheesy dialogue, larger than life characters and over the top action. They probably didn't get the joke, and what bothers me, is that two years after this, John Wick was using the same premise (former soldier/special agent with unique skills singlehandedly putting down a dangerous group of criminals), and was a much less entertaining film (at least in my opinion), still that became an instant cult classic, while Jack Reacher has been dismissed and forgotten - undeservedly so. I'm afraid it mostly has to do with Tom Cruise's private life and scientology background, which would be a shame.
Jack Reacher is entertaining, smart, suspenseful, the action is fantastic, the performances (all of them!) are excellent, especially Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike, but the supporting cast as well. I haven't enjoyed watching Robert Duvall on screen so much for a long time, but Richard Jenkins, Jai Courtney and David Oyelowo also deserve to be mentioned.
The movie is not perfect. There was a 10 minute segment around halfway through the film when I felt like it was dragging a little bit, and there is a reveal that I thought was not handled very well. There's also some excessive violence and brutality in a couple of scenes, that rubbed me the wrong way, and didn't even fit the tone of the movie. Finally, towards the end there's a scene when Reacher kills a bad guy, but the scene is pretty badly edited, so it's hard to understand how Reacher could get to the guy the way he did (those who saw the movie probably know what I'm talking about).
Anyway, it's a severely underrated movie. Definitely check it out if you haven't so far!
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Far from perfect, but still a very enjoyable movie
This film has its problems, for example: The tone is a bit all over the place. There are scenes when it almost feels like it's a full-on spoof comedy (Bradley Cooper meeting his psychologist at the football game, or the whole scene with De Niro, JLaw and Randy arguing about parlay betting on the Eagles vs Cowboys game and the dancing contest), even though that's not what the rest of the movie is like. Also, Chris Tucker, although he was really-really funny, felt very much like he was shoehorned in the film for comic relief (meaning a different kind of comedy than what the movie naturally was without him). Besides there were some scenes when I felt like David O'Russel just lived out his JLaw fetish; e.g. when her and Bradley Cooper first meet, the close- ups of her cleavage, her hand and her face didn't feel natural, it was kind of awkward.
BUT: it's still a really good movie, I liked it a lot! The performances are fantastic. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jacki Weaver, John Ortiz (OMG he was so funny in this film) are all great, but I have to say, Robert De Niro stole the show. I haven't seen him giving such an excellent performance for a long time! The movie made me care for the characters, it made me laugh, it made me tear up, and also it's beautifully photographed.
I'm normally not into romantic drama/comedies, but this one, even with its flaws, is a well done piece of cinema. I give it a 7.5.
Superman Returns (2006)
I have no idea why Superman Returns has such a bad reputation. This is actually really-really good!
I was totally surprised and blown away by this movie! First of all, Superman Returns takes you back to the original cinematic universe of Superman 1 and 2. When the movie started and I realized that, I was pretty skeptic, I didn't believe that it could work 26 years after Superman 2 (actually it was 36 years, when I was watching it). Then when Clark Kent returned to the Daily Planet, and I saw that the actor (Brandon Routh) is actually doing Christopher Reeve's Clark Kent, I was like "Oh no, this will be bad!". The same thing with the young photographer, Jimmy Olsen - the actor was playing the exact same character. I didn't like the concept. But then I said to myself, okay, I'm gonna go with it, so I kept watching the movie, and very shortly I had to realize that it actually works! It was funny, it was exciting, it was emotional - it was everything that a classical Superman movie needs to be! Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane was amazing! She was actually not trying to copy Margot Kidder, she was doing her own thing, but still remained Lois Lane. I would say, as far as acting goes, Kate Bosworth was the best thing in this movie.
A couple of things I didn't like:
1. In the first half of the movie there were some pretty bad CGI moments. There were some scenes where Superman almost looked cartoonish. Thankfully it was only 2 or 3 scenes, the rest of the visuals and CG were pretty good - especially considering that the movie was made in 2006.
2. Kevin Spacey was not a good Lex Luthor. He probably was told to do Gene Hackman's Lex and it just didn't work. At least in the first half of the movie. In the last hour or so, it seemed like he started to adjust the character to himself a little bit, and that did make him more believable as Luthor.
In the last half an hour the movie was flying! There was action, there was suspense, drama and a lot of emotion - but not too much! It was just perfect. I was actually in tears, which doesn't happen to me very often.
By the way, I did like Man Of Steel too, I didn't mind that DC eventually took the franchise in that direction. But I have to say, I did like Superman Returns even more. This one I loved! This is not the kind of superhero movie that fans expect from DC and/or Marvel in 2016. This rather takes you back 20-30 years in time and helps you feel what it was like when as a kid you were cheering for Superman.
Thank you, Bryan Singer and whoever else was involved in it!
Terminator Salvation (2009)
It does not deserve the hate
It's 2016, and I just saw Terminator Salvation for the first time. I had heard so many negative comments and reviews about this movie, so I was ready for the disappointment. But I did not get what I expected after all that. It's actually a really good movie! And not only that, but it's a good Terminator movie, I would probably rank it after T2, maybe even before T1.
Here are the things I liked:
1. Christian Bale and Sam Worthington both did a really good job in their roles.
2. I liked the dark and intense tone of the movie.
3. I liked the action and most of the CG.
4. I liked how it was connected to the original movies (T1 and T2) in various ways.
5. They showed us how John Connor and Kyle Reese met; I thought that was a pretty cathartic moment in the movie.
6. They finally showed us how John Connor got the scar on his face.
7. I liked how they included "You Could Be Mine" in the movie. That was a funny moment, almost like a comic relief
One thing that comes to my mind that I thought was silly was CG Arnie. That was an unnecessary addition, the movie was good enough without that.
All in all, I was entertained by it. Don't expect an epic, lifechanging Terminator movie, but it's still a solid action/sci-fi film that is worthy of the franchise, definitely more than T3.
The most satisfying movie I've seen in a long time
I probably saw the first film of the franchise back in the day, but then I never paid attention to what came afterwards. Until a couple weeks ago when I watched Ghost Protocol (which was really great!), and just recently I got to see Rogue Nation. My God, it's even better than the previous one! It is a well directed, suspenseful, great looking, action-packed, exciting action movie. I honestly didn't think that big studios are still able to produce such awesomeness, but thank God I was wrong. I know these words might sound over the top, but I am genuinely enthusiastic about this film, because it was so much fun to watch, and I haven't had an experience like it for a long time! Tom Cruise is amazing, just like the rest of the cast. The plot is okay, there are some good twists, there's good humour and really- really good action sequences. It is not a perfect movie (for example, there's a pretty bad cgi car flip, and when I saw that I was like: I hope the rest of the film will not be like that; and thankfully it wasn't), it will not transform your world (at the end of the day it's an action movie), but it was exactly what you want to see when you sit down for a blockbuster action flick: pure excitement and fun!
The Revenant (2015)
Good but not great
The opening scene - with all the action and the amazing camera work - is really strong, as well as Leo's scene with the bear, which looks frighteningly realistic. But as the story unfolds, and Leo's character finds himself alone in the wilderness, the movie becomes very slow paced, even boring at times. Not much happens from that point on, and what does happen you can pretty much see coming. Also, to be honest, DiCaprio is not doing a lot in this movie, other than moaning, crawling, running, swimming and shouting. Sure, he does a fine job with the material he got, but there's nothing extraordinary about his performance. Furthermore, there are some great scenes involving animal corpses, but all in all it's an average adventure/drama that's biggest strength is that it was very well shot.
The Revenant might deserve an Oscar for best cinematography. Make-up and visual effects are also outstanding. But apart from that it really doesn't live up to the hype.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
"QT is not interested in entertaining even his own fans anymore"
QT is one of my favourite directors. Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs and even Death Proof are amongst my favourite movies. And I can't comprehend how the maker of these films could produce The Hateful Eight. I mean I do see his trademarks: the dialogues, the violence - things he used to be able to use as tools to make an entertaining movie. But it seems like QT is not interested in entertaining even his own fans anymore. What used to be just tools, have become the goal itself by now. He just wanted to make a Tarantino-movie simply for the sake of doing it, and to show the world that he can do whatever he wants. The end result is a long, boring, often disturbing film with hardly any redeeming qualities. After the first hour and a half I started wondering what the actors (Russel, Jackson, Tim Roth) might have had in their mind during the shooting. Whether they already felt that this is not gonna work. My guess is they did feel it, and at times you can even realize it on their faces, especially Kurt Russel's. To say the least, the rating (8,1) is inexplicable and utterly misleading.