johntheholder

IMDb member since April 2006
    Lifetime Total
    25+
    IMDb Member
    13 years

Reviews

The Favourite
(2018)

Perverse , violent and vitriolicly hilarious Lanthimic brilliancy
Yes it is great. Yes the direction is exquisite , cinematography , atmosphere ,acting , story. In fact everything is great about it. Then again you are watching a film that is not quite like most other films but stands along those few weird ones on the corner ,reserved for the weirds. If you are the sort of person who wants a film like most others , then in the first place you shouldn't be watching a Lanthimos picture. On the other hand if you are the sort who can appreciate or even enjoy something that most people don't feel at ease with then I think you ll like this one a lot. I personally was in awe by almost every scene and kept saying secretly "bravo " to Lanthimos. The Favourite is my favorite of his films. The story as a story isn't even that weird it's pretty basic , just two women fighting against each other for power and statusbut what makes it weird is the little things the director chose to include ,chose to film for our pleasure. Some of you will like what he chose to film , most of you won't. It is made intentionally that way I guess. An artist can't compromise. It is what it is.

Roma
(2018)

Its a fairly complicated debate , why some will think this film is special and others will not.
In the world of ratings and marks I give this film a solid 7. Not more. Why?

Because it's not a film I want to see again. As simple as that.

To analyze a bit: The film does have great photography and as others have commented , it's in general great as far as technique. The strongest part of Roma is undoubtedly its -OCD level- of accuracy of 1970 Mexico city. There are little details that the director chose to include so as to pass as 1970 even for those sneaky observers who want to find a blunder, an error " hey he missed that , or that car model wasn't made then etc.." I don't think they'll find something not 1970 in it.

Also I haven't seen a better earthquake captured in film making. That felt as legit as it gets. The riots where amazingly realistic as well. And so on and so forth..

So yes I give this film 10/10 for its depiction of 1970 Mexico city and its level of reality. You are transported to 1970 Mexico city to put it simply. Which is an achievement. There were hard scenes to shoot. But a viewer doesn't care about such technicalities. A viewer wants a good film. Which is a subjective thing I know but still who'll say " The Terminator " or " The Fisher king" aren't great films? So there is a level of objectivity , things that should be there for us in a film to make it great.

I want warmth , or entertainment or some kind of magic thing that makes a film work for me and makes me want to watch it every year or so. This film isn't one of those.

After returning from the cinema I looked up the trivia and learned how Roma is a neighborhood in Mexico city ( I didn't even know that , I was asking myself why is it called Roma but who needs background info to enjoy a film?) and how it involves the memories of director Alfonso Cuaron from his childhood. This is very admirable and astonishing what he's done , it really is. But again , it doesn't mean I ll like the film because it's the director's childhood. A flawed film that comes to my mind is "Boyhood" , that does another thing altogether but I think that the reasons one person may like the one film are very similar to the reasons people liked Roma (Boyhood was shot in a span over the years as a kid really grew up , and Roma was shot of scenes really out of Cuaron's childhood being the loose comparison ) . I think that those who sincerely loved this film either hold on to the idea that its the director's childhood what they re seeing , so I guess it gets a plus because of it , or they are Mexicans who grew up in that era , or they are children of such people and know how real and true the scenes included are.

But for a viewer who goes to watch Roma , with no prior knowledge whatsoever , a viewer who doesn't know why it's called Roma , or even such basics as who the director is, then I think such a person may indeed appreciate its realistic tones , its great detail and meticulous inputs on every scene , and even the great craftsmanship of the director ( whoever he may be). But the film isn't a grabber. It's not one that the clueless viewer will say " wow this goes on my favorites films.

While watching the film- midway through or later- when I knew that it doesn't do it for me that it's ok , I can watch it , its good and all but it doesn't have the magic for me, I tried to think of black&white films that did do the magic for me. Films like "Paper Moon" , "Dolce Vita" , Demy's "Lola" , or the great "Rocco and his Brothers" or even the one that should come to mind first , Pasolini's "Mama Roma" , and if I have to be mean ( and fair ) , Cuaron's Roma is inferior to those films not technique-wise , but as a film as a whole. Not bad but not great for me.

A Cure for Wellness
(2016)

Supremely fake , typical example of star director making garbage just because he can.
A severely fake film. It's as if Verbinski is mocking us. He gets all the stylish colors and photography right , its Pirates of Caribbean photography and color job alright , it says OK " i come from the big guys. Nevertheless the feeling never leaves you that something or possibly everything, isn't right about this film. Its too staged , it copies other films , its Shutter island and the hypnotized patients are a bad copy from the very recent masterpiece "Get out". But due to the masters behind the picture , the photography , you leave the damn film on ,you continue watching it. And what a terrible mistake you are making. It is a complete waste of time and a waste of good actors. I am among those who look up to the main actor , but here he gets wasted. It's also a very distasteful film that has no reason to exist and nothing to serve except to produce laughter to the director for tricking us into watching this trash. 3/10 because 3 looks worse than zero. Consider your selves warned.

Gimme Danger
(2016)

Pretty close to perfection.
Jarmush's passion to making films is insatiable and unmistakable. Gimme Danger opens with Iggy Pop sitting in a chair , interview style in a trailer home. Almost immediately you get sucked in the story , and you just watch what unfolds. Basically Iggy narrates the story , while various related archive footage is shown on screen. The greatness of this music documentary is that it isn't stiff. Jarmush is playful in his selection of footage, and many scenes are pure comedy. There's oldie movies from the 30's and 40's shown , there's hilarious animation , and of course archive footage from the Stooges and other musicians related to the story.

I found Gimme Danger very entertaining and a successful music documentary , since you do learn about the band through this , you get a sense of their style as individuals and how they worked. I have to mention that Iggy Pop's speaking is very down to earth, very humble and true and to be honest I didn't expect such an abusive person to still have his mind on his shoulders. I was wrong though and that was also a pleasant surprise.

It won't disappoint either fans or non fans who just feel like watching this.

Il sorpasso
(1962)

One of the most insidious Dramas I've seen. A bitter film.
Il Sorpasso's main theme is the notion of enjoying life moment by moment. Be adventurous , be alert , have the energy to do things and in general always be on the move. Don't wait for later , do it now. Don't sit in the corner , go in the center and mingle... It's a fairly respectable theme and its shown to us via the film's graceful slow pace. In essence its a disturbing film and all its characters are problematic and uneasy in a sense. A mid 40s man who roams around. His young daughter with a man who could be her grandpa. An ex-wife bizarrely neutral and passive. And the college student who's about to learn what the "good life" is all about.. or is he?

It's beyond me how they label this film as comedy.It's a Drama. It leaves you with a very sneaky and bitter aftertaste mainly because of its elegant pace that doesn't hit you straight up , instead you get a sense of the film after you invest time and see it all throughout. Its like a film that accesses your subconscious without you knowing about it until the end.

Toni Erdmann
(2016)

Toni Erdmann fails due to serious lack of character empathy , long duration and not much entertainment.
I love films , so I had to go watch one of the most talked about films of 2016 with all this fuss and awards going on about it.

As other IMDBers have already mentioned, the expectations were high enough , and I sort of demanded a good film. I cannot say I got that.

The story (which isn't really a story) roughly, is about a woman whose job is basically firing people off of other companies --- and her father who is bizarrely present and around her throughout most of the film , making awkward but somewhat distant jokes , supposedly to help her have a better life.

Toni Erdmann is a bizarre film for sure. Nothing wrong with that, just stating a fact. It's a film that shows us instead of telling us things. Which is respectful, elegant and admirable in a way and that's a plus for Maren Ade.

There are admirable things in Toni Erdmann , but for me there are also big flaws that reduced the overall viewing experience.

The fatal flaw to name, is the starkness and the extreme cold atmosphere of this film and all its characters. For me a film must offer entertainment , in the broad sense. Meaning that a film has to give us a variety of good things that'll "warm us". Good soundtrack , interesting and empathizing characters , a good atmosphere and locations , and of course a solid story that'll surround us and in the end win us with its charm so we'll want to re watch the film after it starts to rust in our memory.

I don't want to watch Toni Erdmann again. There was no charm that won me and so just one preview is enough. I didn't connect with the characters much , not that I don't have common things ,most of us get modern life's problems , and we have common issues with fiction characters who aren't too happy with their life. Its a safe bet. But this doesn't mean you connect with the characters as well.

Toni Erdmann felt very much like you are inside a fridge, sitting in there and viewing stuff in a cold environment. Too cold. Also it runs too long at 2 hours and 40 minutes for the particular story told. For the kind of praise it got , I expected better characters , better dialogues and in the whole a better picture.

The direction in its practical sense of camera placement and movement was mediocre and so was the photography which was pretty basic so don't expect "good pictures".

The admirable things about it, was the good acting, mostly by the father "Toni" but the daughter was modestly good as well in her role. The originality of the film's approach to the father-daughter relationship was another good thing. And lastly the film's themes and questions/problems addressed by the director/scriptwriter Maren Ade. The story had meaning behind it sure, but it was too elegant about those themes (the corporate world vs human values and what matters for modern man vs what should really matter.) These are honorable themes and Maren Ade seems like a decent person to explore and show us a few troubling things in the hope to awaken us, but as a film it was mediocre. Of course that's just my opinion, but I have to say there are some rules in Film making , and mrs Ade neglected a few of them.

6/10

Bacalaureat
(2016)

life in alternating steps between corruption and honesty
There is no doubt , Cristian Mungiu is a fine director. Ten minutes into the film you can see that clearly. He is not scared to diverge from the path , f.e , a tracking shot with a shaking camera. Yes this has been done in some other films such as the realistic cheap horror flicks "REC" or "blair witch project" but its hardly the same.

The protagonist (the father) carried the film with no problem. The other characters were okay as well.

The plot was interesting and refreshing , but it did repeat itself in the second half of the film somewhat. That was the only problem i had with it. Photography was great , even though it's just an ugly romanian little town with projects and not much architecture , yet the colors within that mundane environment were rich and fine.

Overall it is a thoughtful film that raises questions on the sacrifices that are needed in life , and also of various little tricks and gimmicks one should be aware and keep an eye on. In the end , honesty and corruption can often change hands , you just have to deal with the card you've been dealt. A serious good film , if you want a fine social drama.

Spotlight
(2015)

Spotlight gets the cheers because of the subject matter
If you set aside the fact that these things did happen , and the political side of the film which is indeed a pretty heroic attack on the Church , a real punch from the Film industry to the Batican --- as a film experience it is mediocre. It's "All the presidents Men" -- but for the church instead of Watergate. The structure of the film is standard , it is cliché... Reporters making phone calls , trying to contact victims and informants. Offices and dusty files library.

We have seen MANY films with the same exact pattern. The direction is typical , maybe the director thought the story is so damn big that he shouldn't emphasize on innovative direction and camera skills.

As a film , it lacks essential stuff which keeps it from being a good one. No love story , not that great characters in general , the movie is only about the church scandal and everything else is low profile.

I'm not putting down the actors who did a decent job ,and I like how Michael Keaton has gotten serious because I like to see this actor. I am a big Inarritu fan and enjoyed " Birdman " a lot.

The Batman ( 1989) is a damn fine film and in my eyes the best Batman. -- in "Spotlight" he played with confidence and great skill this reporter fella. But I don't know this reporter and I didn't get to care about him. This goes same for the rest of the team.

Liev Schreiber was a great casting choice. He fits right on the spot of the role he's playing.

The thing about this movie is the story , the script isn't really strong. It rests too much on the impact of the subject matter and it minimizes all other aspects.

Maybe if it was the first movie about investigative journalism and such ,then it would be OK. I doubt it though , and it is not the first film.

To name some ,"Mystic River" has the attributes of a fine film , dealing somewhat with child molestation and its outcomes. "Happiness" ( Solonz ) as well. " Seven " is a great film dealing with investigation , libraries , research and such --yes different genres -- but in the end they are good movies.

"Spotlight" is mediocre as an experience,for the average movie goer. The only people who may be tricked in calling this a " masterpiece" are the people directly involved with the historical happenings in it.

p.s- I'm not a catholic and I don't care one bit about the Church. I'm not putting the film down because it hurts the church. I'm putting it down because it isn't anything new or special , objectively as a film experience.

Victoria
(2015)

Very well done !
Great character development and direction makes the viewer involved and connected to the story and the characters of Victoria. Bravo to the Director Sebastian Schipper , but also to the actors , predominantly to the two leads.

Victoria evolves masterfully , giving us backstories and hints of the main characters which makes us be engaged to them. This essential part of storytelling is often neglected or not done properly and thoroughly in many other films or most likely in the majority of films.

Not in this one though. Schipper shows he knows how to make a film , he knows how to tell a story and how to shoot it. Yes we have seen other films shot in long shots ( Birdman ) and one-shot films (Russian Ark).

Victoria is a one shot film expertly made. It is a tremendously difficult thing to pull off , the one shot ... and Schipper has done it without really overshowing the technique and gimmicks performed technically.

In other words , the story remains the focus of the film ,and not the technical aspects of filming in one shot.

For me , what the continuous filming did was that I was VERY connected to the story and the characters , it felt very much live-action because it was live-action by definition of course. And that's basically why its a damn fine film to watch. A great experience.

p.s when you hear gunshots , you actually take cover because you think it is you being shot at as well. Enough said.

The Intern
(2015)

Boring and greatly indifferent film
Not much to say about this Nancy Meyers new film. Typical-boring HD photography and not much of a story going on.

Deniro plays a decent schmuck who got a job as a 70year old intern for a fashion company. There is no substance.

Anne Hathaway is supposed to be a very austere and multitasking Boss , yet a good and warm mother and person. OK , but in this film it isn't played out right, we don't care one bit.

Mainly its the script thats at fault.

It isn't a film that should have a spot on the map.

7.3 rating ? What?

Make that a 6.0 at best.

It's a film you look at while waiting at a dentist's office.

I am into comedies and dramedies a lot , just not into bad films.

Don't even watch this film , choose wiser.

The Lobster
(2015)

weird wave strikes again with the " Irish Dogtooth"
As a Greek myself , I'd like very much to have positive feedback for this film.

I had seen Dogtooth with great effort not to turn the thing off , only because I had a sense of respect for the Director and I felt obliged to at least finish the damn film.

However I did have a feeling that Lanthimos is an -above average- Director.

So I gave " the lobster " a fresh try. I hoped this " weird wave " thing would be gone , and perhaps we'll get a good dystopian sci-fi from a masterful Director.

Sadly, this wasn't the case. The "weird wave" continues adamantly.

There is no character development , there is no insight to the dystopian set up , there is no science fiction.

There is only the weird. The acting is buried and we are presented with the bizarre script ,the scenery and the baroque soundtrack to add some "quality spice".

There is no entertainment in this film , each minute passed very slowly , and frankly , I was embarrassed on behalf of Colin Farrell and those other fine actors /actresses playing these "roles".

Was there even a point? Does it raise Big questions on relationships and couples and society? Was it Political?

I failed to see any of these hints in the film. It was just weird and bad.

I must say that , again , I do see that Lanthimos -can be- a good director. But since a director is the supreme maestro of a film , the man most responsible for the outcome , after such a film I cannot say that he is a good director. Only that he can be , or he might be , perhaps if he abandons his " style ". So let's hope he doesn't remain faithful to it and his next film is free of the ugly weirdness and focuses more on character and fun.

1/10 (the film is borderline unwatchable)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
(2015)

Hipster Filth ( pretentious and weak)
Lets see...

A) Obscenely copying Wes Anderson. ( sets-photography - directorial style )

B) some hints of copying Inaritu's " Birdman" - (one shot sequences + the characteristic surreal vibes in those sequences)

C) A fault in our Stars ( the cancer-ridden cute female.)

" Is it such a supreme crime , to copy others?" , cries the director

whom i don't even care to know his name.

Well dear sir , there's copying and there is...copying. If you had some strong ideas and personality , your copying might have been not as eye-popping. If you knew what this film is supposed to be , perhaps it would not have been such a heinous crime, indeed.

After all it is true that Art progresses by originality + stepping on top of previous masters in many cases. You aren't requested to "invent the wheel" as the saying goes..

The crime is this:

This director and possibly the photographer and the script writers of this endeavor , didn't just use these techniques ,styles and themes to make something NEW. Something of theirs... Based on a certain unique idea of their own. No...

Had THAT been the case , then no objections would be made.

It's just that... this movie screams that the creators didn't know what they were doing. They were cheaply shrewd , thought of grabbing certain successful pieces of current HIT-films , (respectably Hit films OK) , and in the blind-- with no particular solid goal , they just put those pieces together , hoping the outcome would be something fresh and respectable and another great HIT , as those previous solid films.

It doesn't work this way gentlemen , and viewing this film , is the proof. It is self-evident. Five minutes in the film and you already know it... No need for expert eyes.

It's dull and weak. It is hipsterish cute , nice pictures , nice wannabe bizarre characters , but after 20 minutes in , you get consumed by its fakeness and you just wonder ... " has the film world nothing else substantial to offer? Are we to accept these thoughtless copies ? Where are the strong films. That impact.

You aren't going to find it in this film , surely. It is disrespectful to us , the viewers. That is all , I've written enough about this already. So long

It Follows
(2014)

It Follows doesn't disappoint.
Basically it's the camera work of this fine up and coming director David Robert Mitchell who handled this horror film with respect to the genre. Along with the great photography and ---- of course, the lead actress Maika Monroe who's a pleasure to watch. After having watched The Guest in which she also is cast , i went to see this film. There are certain comparisons in the two films - both horror films- the synth music , and maybe hints of the same kind of atmosphere - and that it emphasises on young people and not the parents or older ones.

I liked both of them , but i think " It Follows " heads higher. Because it also reminded me of " the shining" , basically the eerie shots the director filmed in various points , for instance , the ones that are full screen moving sceneries - no people or familiar objects in sight , just moving scenery. It added the haunting vibes , of which the film has plenty and thus , its a successful horror film.

The actors overall were solid in their roles. The music was perhaps exceptional. The director certainly paid homage to older horror films , he didn't copy techniques , but he used them to create something of his own , and that is admirable.

Because It Follows is original. You can compare it to films coming close to it , but in essence it stands alone.

Again , great photography , apparently of Detroit suburbia and solid filming.

The reason it got a 7 by me , and not more , is that it got tiresome at a point where you are too familiar with what's happening , you know the pattern. Still , due to the good filming and the cast's work it managed to stand , but there was a mild sense of --- "ok i get it now - lets move on". Maybe it was just me , but i got that thought at a point about two thirds into the film.

But this is me stating maybe the only " minus " of this otherwise great film. So don't be put off by this remark.

It will scare you , do watch it with friends , girlfriend/boyfriend or alone , just be warned , it does the job.

Well done to the director , a great second feature film to have made.

Looking forward to both the director's next work , and the actress's Maika Monroe's with whom i'm starting to have a moderate obsession.

Fifty Shades of Grey
(2015)

Not that bad
I haven't read the books and i don't think i am going to. Not one of the fans. That said , i just watched the film and it wasn't bad.

Its sort of a mix Pretty woman / American Psycho / 9 1/2 weeks into a modern type of film.

The lead actors weren't exactly extra-ordinary , but they were pretty good in their roles. They say there was no chemistry , well i detected some chemistry between them , there was a vibe accomplished. Maybe there was room for even more chemistry , better bond , better vibe , but i think it's biased and stubborn to say there was no chemistry.

The direction was decent. Nice aerial shots to set the mainstream mood , and relaxing for the eye.

The thing i liked most about the direction of the film , was that the sex scenes had a progressiveness , taking it step by step. So that in every scene , the audience is prepared for that level of progression. You get used to it , because it has been built up. It wasn't too sudden. Maybe this credit needs to be given to the screenwriter and not the director , maybe to both of them.

From what i had been hearing about this film , i was expecting way more intense extremities surrounding the sexual relationship of the two leads.

It isn't that much extreme. At least what it actually shows. The main flaw of this film for me , was that it didn't evolve a lot. Its more like a chart of a straight line with a few small bumps.

Its not a line that goes uphill and downhill with a lot of harsh , sudden bumps.

Meaning , nothing really intense happens throughout the whole film. Which is pretty bad, if its true , for any film.

And thats just what this film impressed on me. It didn't raise the stakes much. It gave us a taste , but it didn't go for it. We took a tour and it ends.

Still nice cinematography , and nice music ( but could be better). Its not a bad film to watch on a rainy night , when you're bored and can't think of any other film to watch.

Its watchable.

Whiplash
(2014)

choose skill and elitism over life - sincerely from Harvard
Damien Chazelle , the writer/director of Whiplash is a Harvard graduate.

If you keep in mind this trivia , while watching the movie , things can be explained better.

Representing his directorial debut , he chose to create a film where the notion that getting good at something , having a career , conquer the greatest skill , is what counts most in life. It counts more than human interactions and socializing , friends and family. More than life itself.

This is the message he felt like sharing with us in his first feature.

Such a wrong " life meaning" can only be shown via a questionable and improbable sequence of shots. In other words , what this movie basically is , all in all.

The movie fails strictly and only because of the story. I can overlook all other parts but not the ludicrous story chosen to be presented.

First of it is an ugly story .

I've never seen a film depicting rise to greatness in an uglier manner , unless some film about Hitler perhaps.

And even if i skip its ugliness , we don't really see that much stuff about anything.

The plot says its about the relationship between teacher/student ?

What relationship? There was no depth and progress , development of some kind at all human interactions shown in the film. Some started to build , but then they stopped.

I thought how Karate Kid ( the original ) showed in a beautiful way a relationship of teacher/student ,and boy-likes girl.

Expect no such development quality in Whiplash.

There is no depth in this film. Its all in your face. The same sentence over and over " i want greatness" .

As far as the music goes , don't expect learning much about music through this supposedly " film about a jazz drummer " .

I cant recall a single soundtrack , and no music information but for some quick words on Buddy Rich , one of the greatest jazz drummers.

We see no relationship of any kind. Family , girl , friends , and even the teacher , there are just a few scenes ... nothing that would remotely be adequate to show a nice progression , for us the viewers to get involved and feel for the characters.

The teacher character , as mentioned in other comments , suits more as an army general , but even then he'd be unrealistic and just wrong.

The guy is just mean , beyond reality.

It is mind-blowing that the people involved even allowed such a character in this kind of film.

The Miles Teller character is okay in many ways. But for the vital one , that he chooses the superficial greatness over life , which is throughout the movie , the only topic adequately shown .

At first i was waiting for the movie to get somewhere , it did start good , i wanted steady development , i wanted the character to learn , to share , to give to others his views , get better in life.

Some good moral , you know. Chazelle didn't feel for a good moral though.

He felt like introducing to us , meaningless , superficial characters that never learn. That would be okay if the ultimate film's point was that this is a wrong path , as any person with his head on his shoulders would think.

But no , instead we get a savage film of selfishness and sadism. And that this is the road to take. There is no turn , no twist in this part.

You can tell the direction comes from a guy who just started making films.

Too many steady shots.

The acting is alright. Nothing great , just fine though.

I do hope that the one guy who learns something about life is the Director/writer of this film. Not the viewers.

The Interview
(2014)

Thumbs up on " the interview" !!
I was prejudiced and almost certain that this would be a bad film. And that the high rating is only a result of the Americans pride over this scandal and nothing more.

Plus most new films get absurdly good ratings over here , whereas in reality the films are garbage or close to that. It might be that many "kids" have accounts on IMDb or that the average viewer lacks good taste.

But still , i had to satisfy my curiosity over this , and so i watched it last night.

They say that you can tell a good film just from the opening scene.

Well this film started so good i couldn't believe my eyes. I thought to myself , "wait they are going to mess it up. No way its that good."

So i continued watching , getting more amazed and still disbelieving my eyes. I was certain there would be a decline , no way it remains that good.

It took a while until i settled and said to myself " OK it really is that good. Its not going to screw it up , so just sit back , and enjoy" .

And thats what i did.

I knew that Seth Rogen had a good taste in modern comedy and has contributed in the genre despite the fact that because of his success , he has lately been into a few bad films indeed.

Any person who watches this , must already know that these type of comedies aren't the classical conservative ones like say Woody Allen's or Billy Wilder's.

To them , this might be total garbage.

You need to have a grasp on modern comedy and " what the world has come to".

I think that today via the internet we see all kinds of absurdities , and this is a vital reason that for a comedy to reach the absurd level in an original way , might have to go even more absurd , competition being already high.

So to an eye that doesn't really know what modern man sees on the internet... a pristine eye that reads books and listens to " good music"

and curses the modern world , i do sympathize with this person but he will not understand why they write films this way nowadays.

To their eyes , this will be garbage.

To everyone else , who's followed the "evolution" or decline on film and comedies , they will understand this film and in my opinion they will enjoy it.

It is very entertaining which is a universal tool for success in film.

Its Rogen's best film along with Knocked up , Zack and Miri make a porno and Superbad.

I won't exaggerate and put it on top of those. But it is as good as those films.

You should know that its only a film and i personally don't really know what scheme lies behind this and the reasons and mechanics for the mass media scandalous demonstrations and "terrorist" hoaxes and all that.

Erase all that , say to yourself " i am just watching a film" and enjoy.

As far as the movie goes :

James Franco plays the role really good , Rogen's role is good too and in general the acting is fine.

Direction is fine , photography is great , music score is just great for this type of movie.

It is true that script-wise there is somewhat strong politician background and theme and certainly this is why a scandal has risen.

It was revolutionary to spread this sort of ideas , despite many of us know about those things and the plots that do happen even in reality.

The script is bold in this way , offering scenes that truly live up to modern man's expectations of absurdity ( and reality) .

It criticizes both the American side of attending other countries matters and Capitalism , and also the oppressive Stalinist type of communism.

I like politics and so i liked that they were honest about it , and just recorded such scenes on camera.

Because the world is really as bold and absurd as that , and in this way it shows the hypocrisy of governments not really telling us all the business they are doing.

To end this ,

go see this IF! you are into this kind of comedies. Then you'll certainly like this one.

Thumbs up again!

Klopka
(2007)

a low budget "John q "
I am into indie films as mainstream ones.Don't get me too wrong.

That said , Klopka surely is in indie low budget picture. Mind the " picture " though ...

And here lies a question ? Does the quality of the practical , literal picture , frame by frame / photography matter? Does it affect the overall impression and judgement of whether a film is good or bad?

For example if one takes a certain story , a particular script , will the film be better if you put in a good cinematography , and worse if you put in a -not so good- cinematography.

In my humble opinion , it certainly does. After all , lets all say it once more .. IT IS A VISUAL EXPERIENCE.

And so goes down the drain Klopka... Each scene is filmed with a camera. I can say that much. About lighting , scene decoration , vibrant , intense colors and such , there are none.

They did shoot the film , you can watch it. Its just that throughout the whole thing , you are thinking its your buddy filming with his home-camera.

And it doesn't add the realistic vibe. Its just bad lights , bad photography , nothing to do with realism.

So thats one.

Two , even if this film had great mainstream photography like a Nolan's film or an Alfonso Cuaron's one , the story isn't good itself.

Like i mentioned , its Denzel Washington's "John Q" (2002) that is 5 years earlier ... its the same story , just with a worse photography , and switch the famous actors for unknown Serbian ones.

It doesn't offer new insight in the topic. Desperate father has a sick son with a defective heart - goes bad to get the money for the operation.

It has some weak improbable points too.

This section contains SPOILERS! ----------------------------------------------------

For example after confessing the murder to the police , they let him go , showing that the mafia guy has the police boss on his side. Well combining this fact, and then having the mafia guy being broke and owing money with his house almost in ruins ... i wonder , how the hell does he still have the police on his side? -----------------------------------------------------

End of SPOILERS!

I read good comments over here , and someone did a comparison of this film to the German " The lives of others" . So me , having firm respect for the lives of others , was convinced to see this with an open mind but slightly high expectations , because believe it or not , i am into foreign gems , Korean cinema , french , Italian , Belgian whatever...

Well i saw this thing and this is the review. Nothing special , i give it a 5/10 because of the bad photography and strongly because its a story that was made better in a film five years earlier.

To be fair , the actors were alright. Nothing great , but nothing bad. It was decent acting.

Calvary
(2014)

A contemporary philosophical piece of filmmaking
I guess beyond the "comedy/drama" characterization of this film which is a bit unfair to the viewer , because it is basically a drama , to get to a more basic perspective , it should be said that it is a contemporary philosophical piece. Story-wise..

It captures a wide range of hypocrisies and obscenities that modern man is about.

The vehicle of the story , the person who serves us the "dishes" is certainly and only! , the priest Brendan Gleeson.

Effortlessly , this spectacular actor portraying a most decent human , introduces us to the lowest of the low of Today.

Through pleasant-for-the-eye photography , we get the Irish beautiful nature , contrasted , sometimes even literally with the dark themes being explored and presented.

Overall i must say , it was an original movie. In the end , it gave me the feeling , i just watched something new , yet quite relative with Present life.

That alone , is praiseworthy.

Now , like i said , this is mostly a drama , but a good one. Yet , it is the kind of drama that doesn't go over the limits , being sadder than we can cope. Despite the topics are harsh, the director has managed to make it entertaining , for in the end thats what its about anyway. And thats why i liked it. This director knows how to make a film, and amuse the viewer in his dark way.

You will be entertained , viewing this fine film , not because it will make you laugh , but because it will present you its scenes and dialogs cleverly. That along with the great photography , and direction.

Last thing , this is a film that merely managed to have a plot. It doesn't have a story though. There is no story. The plot conveniently introduces a variety of characters , for the director to state his point. And thats a reason for it being so original. So i am not posing a drawback , i am just stating a fact.

So go see this movie because its one of them good ones. Just be ready for a solid drama , and erase the comedy expectations (that way maybe you will manage to notice the jokes in this one).

A very firm 8/10

Dom Hemingway
(2013)

Come on now ... lets lift this film on its proper rating !!
Its really a blended film , dense with meanings and mainly mockeries of the bizarre world we live in. And thats where the comedy lies. Don't try to find " funny scenes" or lines. This is a complex film , that works out great as a whole. Richard Shepard basically mocks contemporary life with his irony , something familiar with his line of work in general as a writer/director. And i personally enjoy it , when its witty and not banal, not too obvious. And it certainly isn't that obvious here , which justifies why so many people misjudged it in a ridiculous 6.5 rating.

Jude Law's performance is spectacular. I mean ... what was that ??? Immense nerve ,great adjustment into the psychology of the unlucky dramatic criminal whose daughter hates him.

I guess you can claim it is a character driven film , but do consider its not just that.

And i guess thats what a contemporary film really is. It is complex and intricate , because there are so many predecessors , and life today is so weird in complex ways , you need to portray some of it , if you want to produce current auras.

Thats what its all about. And it succeeds it with great, real dialog , great acting , good plot development and solid direction and photography.

I feel sorry for people who saw this and said " shallow story " or

that it copies Guy Richie or a 2008 film Bronson.

Stop taking things for granted , erase your prejudice , be aware that there certainly is obscene language and scenes , although not way far out , unless you're a nun or an ultra conservative in which case avoid this film.

Otherwise , go watch it and judge for yourself. - 8/10

Out of the Furnace
(2013)

A harsh subject in a solid film
This is one of those films that takes the hard path. The Director gambles his way , takes the risk and embarks on this respectful attempt.

It is about fate , and how we people no matter what we do , despite our character's virtues and flaws , there are certain things in store for us by Fate. And this is what the film examines.

In these regards , i would say that this film resembles very much " No country for old men " much more than " Deer Hunter " which is a very obvious comparison because there is some literal deer hunting in both films and there are wars involved in both along with men working hard menial jobs in factories. Other than that they go their own ways since Deer Hunter is much about the handicaps of War on man's psyche , whereas " Out of furnace " like i said , is about " the fate factor and surprises it stores for us , no matter our qualities and flaws.

I don't see why so many bad reviews , and i totally disagree that this film has two halves , the first being good , then the second half is weak due to bad script. This isn't the case here. This movie moves along its story in a justified way , each scene that follows is there for good reason. At least in my eyes.

The cast did a fine job , Bale as always delivers ... Casey Affleck's best performance in my opinion , whom i don't view a great deal of an actor , but in this movie i have to give him recognition.

The Photography perhaps could be better , its too normal , too banal in a way. Nothing special there.

Direction serves the story , no boasting shots to show off which i respect.

So there you go , go watch it and decide for yourselves.

La vie d'Adèle
(2013)

Indeed a good film
This was a great movie , a proud gem of 2013.

Its so real , you feel like you're there , hidden and silent , observing what unfolds.

Both actresses did a great job , this was very demanding acting from the director , that the actresses delivered.

The more the movie went on , the more sexy i thought of Adele.

Someone said this movie is about desires , and i find that quite true.

There are plenty of scenes of rawness of wanting and getting.

We see them eating , especially Adele , munching with an open mouth spaghetti with salsa. At first it got on my nerves that the surrounding area of their mouths got that dirty from the food , and i said to myself " this is forced , in reality we don't get that dirty when we eat pasta " . But then i reconsidered , or maybe i give in , the second or third time i saw the munching and the dirtiness. Despite all this , the movie did get me hungry , for food and for sex.

The direction is pretty seamless , to my ignorant eyes at least ,i see no fault in the pictures viewed.

The thing is though , that i find myself clapping for the director's skill , not because of his good pictures , camera angles and such , but much more because of what he must have told to the actresses , the communication between them , and in general the cast , i think he managed in astonishing ways , to stretch the actor's abilities to their limits. Not that we see the actors struggling to reach that level , in contrast , the acting seems effortless , but you also realize that what you see is very hard , who are we kidding , there is explicit scenes of 7 minutes or 10 minutes , i was watching this movie by myself and got "embarassed " at times , imagine what the actors must have felt. I cant picture that , its insane.

Plotwise , basically we see the 2 young women in their gay surroundings in a nice northern little French town.

While the movie went on , i realized i was viewing something intense , something original , despite being good or bad , i think very objectively all people can give it the originality . But i found it also to be a good film. It sure is though a very specific kind of film , but any good film is like that . Ir lures you in its little world , there are no money issues in this film , no politics and no great social awareness messages in it. So it strikes me odd that it got no Oscar nominations considering this.

12 Years a Slave
(2013)

2 hours that will pass by with no great meaning or originality.
This film is nominated for 9 Oscars.

The acting and in particular the dialog , many times throughout the film is like taken from a theatric play. The actors want to look like they care about what they are saying , but it doesn't quite work in the end , mainly because of the dialog itself , but it might also give the impression that the actors aren't doing a good job.

Apart from this dialog handicap , the acting from the protagonists is decent , but nothing exceptional and worthy of noticing.

Maybe Michael Fassbender has the best performance here in my opinion.

The story moves too quickly , that it also seems forced. We move rapidly from the point of our hero's normal living , to his capture and slavery , and in the end his freedom. All is quick.

Also there aren't any originalities here. Brad Pitt comes out of nowhere , leaves out of nowhere. In a way , all the characters , the plot , and finally the whole movie , just passes by without great notice. So i guess it is a weak movie.

" Blue is the warmest color " doesn't even get one Oscar nomination , and this gets 9 nominations.

I give it a 7 , maybe because i've been brainwashed and even so far as that , i feel like i am going against the current , breaking the rules or something. Maybe it should get a 5 or a 6. I don't know

Short Term 12
(2013)

Way over-rated !!
This film offers no innovation. No theme depicted in it , is something we haven't already seen. And even if you skip this, it still is prone to criticism negatively.

The direction , meaning the camera angles and motions is fine ( i guess).

Cinematography is Documentary -style , not very pleasant and entertaining.

The script or plot or story , is indifferent, amateur , hipsterish , and weak. The lead actors aren't right for this kind of film , maybe cause they're too young. But the whole plot is just bad. A group home with a couple of troubled teenagers and a couple adults running the show. So what?

The way the film develops , no development happens in a way to make you care for whatever you're watching. I didn't care about these people , and the things that happened to them. Instead of caring , i got bored and wanted this film to end.

And i wouldn't be that harsh a critic if this movie had a lower rating. Maybe a 6.5 rating , which makes it decent and indifferent which is exactly what it is ( not that there aren't movies i find great with a 6.5 rating , just speaking of average)

But lately the newer movies , get high ratings easily.

Over 8 , means the movie is pretty much a masterpiece. This one is far from that.

Assume you've been warned people. Cheers !

Disconnect
(2012)

Solid gripping drama with great performances , not too dramatic for the viewer.
A solid movie worth watching. A " Requiem for a Dream " using the Internet instead of heroin to destroy its characters.

Also it has a realistic "effect" , and i am saying "effect" because this is an exaggerated story and to call exaggeration , Realistic is contradictory.

As a whole story it isn't realistic , and thats because in real life people don't get shaken that hard nor that quickly from the particular activities shown in here. I am not too naive and i know the Internet can be dangerous but the scenarios people get in here are somewhat improbable. And thats why I gave it 8/10 removing two points for its improbability.

But I did like it a lot , and got passed its overstatement.

It does have the realistic vibes and effects , due to its quite masterful direction and photography.

Plus this is a film , isn't a biography nor a historic film that should be accurate. It's fiction with splashes of reality or vice versa. Nobody can tell a director " hey your film isn't good , it exaggerates". So what? It isn't real life.

It is a "Requiem for a dream" film that instead of heroine , uses Internet as a means of human destruction.

And it works out well.

Because besides the masterful Direction and Photography , this film also has :

A great cast and acting.

These actors performed well. Period.

If i had to choose my favorite performance , it would be Max Thieriot's as the troubled-naive youngster.

But also Jason Bateman , an actor that a few years back i thought he's just another American mediocre actor who knows the right people and goes up the ladder of fame. But not quite the case with this guy , right ?

And at last , i'd like to comment the script.

The script was really great and at the same time , like i mentioned above, exaggerated. Like others have commented , the writer doesn't give an easy way out for the characters , and a Hollywood ending isn't quite what he rewards us with.

And this harshness of it , gave it an extra boost and thrill for our viewing pleasure. So I am glad for it.

As the story unfolds , you sense that you're watching a film that hands out no gifts to its characters , it shows actions and their consequences.

It has layers of emotions that strike deep , we can relate to the characters and their hardships. It has some very accurate depictions in here , and the way the director chose to put on screen the chatting scenes , and in general , the scenes where you see a person using a computer , aren't really flattering , and its a hard job for a director , but this one did it great.

In other words , I liked it , and i think most people will too.

Seven Psychopaths
(2012)

IMDb rating way overrated in this case
Having seen the director's first film "In Bruges" I was kind of prejudiced that this would be an even better on the same climate ( dark humor basically) movie. Even better because this is the second film of a promicing and witty-like filmmaker who is on the push , since his first film was a success at least based on critics , and public opinion , but has yet to prove himself to settle in for the BIG RIDE of success. So i thought , OK he has a good taste , and its going to be an original and funny "little" gem.

Unfortunately i was wrong. It simply doesn't have "it" , the pulse , the magnet to grab its audience , it doesn't have it... You just watch it and its a mediocre experience , no comments to make , no interest to show in its characters or anything. To tell you the truth i have kind of an obsession and before watching a film i have to check its IMDb rating , and thats precisely what i did with this movie. I saw 8/10 , and i thought OK , a good director , a perfect cast and a good IMDb rating!! no lose case. But no it was less than what i expected . Not a good film , not a bad , and not a good cinema choice . In other words you better not pay a cinema ticket to go watch it. Wait for a DVD , and maybe watch it on a day you don't have anything better in mind. I hope the next film will actually be interesting and good. I still believe in the director.. and his interest in Collin Farrel.

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