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Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Don't listen to the naysayers
I haven't been prompted to write a review for a movie for a long time, however, some reviews I have come across on this site have frankly appalled me. To give this movie only one or two stars is not realistic. This is a carefully crafted, fast-paced movie with some truly beautiful moments. It is fun. You will not look at your watch once(except, perhaps, in hope that there's still some minutes of the movie left). It is not perfect, of course, but there was not one moment which was cringe worthy.

Editing, costumes, sets and acting are all top-notch. This is perhaps J.J. Abrams' most carefully crafted movie,far better than his Star Treks. Adam Driver was great as Kylo Ren and easily takes the title of the most intriguing performance. We have in him a villain who is not a generic Darth Vader clone, but an insecure young man who is also a power-house, in other words, an awesome villain in the making. Many have taken against this movie its lack of originality, but I thought that even this had a point – the movie implies that history both does and does not repeat itself. There is nostalgia here, but it was not over the top. It was more like a pleasant ride through the familiar and very much loved places of the Star Wars universe, a homage, but also a step from it towards a new story that is actually quite unfamiliar.

Especially well made was the scene between Han and Kylo Ren, which was beautifully executed, both in regards to acting and photography. Even though the scene is a reenactment of the scene between Obi-wan and Darth Vader in episode IV, somehow they still managed to make it suspenseful.

What I didn't like was Supreme Leader Snoke's CGI look, as I expected a more mysterious Emperor-like presence, but this is a minor criticism. In truth, this movie does not deserve a perfect 10, it is more a 8 and a half or nine,however, I feel I need to compensate some reviewers' lack of better judgment. Remember, this is not the second coming, just an excellent movie. If you keep that in mind, you will exit the cinema smiling.

The Dark Knight Rises

The god-awful third part of a good trilogy.
After seeing and liking the first and the second part of this trilogy, the third came off as a disappointment. There are only a few things that actually work in this movie - Hathaway an Levitt gave very nice performances, and were convincing despite of the ludicrously cliché lines they were given. Before seeing the movie, I presumed that (based on the reviews I had read) they had only minor roles, but the two of them guide the plot. Also some action sequences were well executed. But only a minority of them. The majority was illogical and confusing. In comparison with the second movie which I found to be, in its core ( even with the occasional shabby lines), an intelligent and elegant movie, this one lacks action. Of course that a movie shouldn't be judged by the amount of action, but in lack of it there must be a good storyline. This movie has none. Its plot is full of gaps, frustratingly illogical. One of the things that induced from me a great snore was the jail and childwhoescaped subplot. The idea of the jail is absurd. Whose prison is it, why are there no guards? Oh, I know it's inescapable... but please. Its location is outside of some ancient city walls, but very near it, and a modern complex is build only yards away (you can see it on the edge of the screen when Bruce escapes – but I will get to that). Bane (the Big Bad of the movie) escorted Bruce to the Asian jail himself, made all that way just to tell Bruce that he will torture his soul, and went back to Gotham, in the US, in the matter of hours. Why making that journey? It's impractical as hell. Furthermore, the man in prison, who are paid by Bane to keep Bruce alive (the man actually uttered the line – I'm paid more to keep you alive, when Bruce asked for death), are helping him fix his dislocated spine (no, it's not broken) and escape. Why? After a few tries, Bruce manages to climb the well and emerges on the surface. He throws some big, fat rope back in the pit. Where did that rope come from? Was it left outside just in case someone climbed to freedom so he can free all the other prisoners? Bruce himself had no rope – that was the whole point. Is the prisoners safety rope actually tied at the surface? If so, why no one climbed the rope itself? Hell, my brother with whom I watched the movie actually thought that he threw down the safety rope to make sure nobody else would escape. Then Bruce, with no money, no passport and no knowledge of the native language returns in the terrorist occupied and military guarded Gotham. He also, at the time, has no Batmobile, Batcopter or any other Bat-based vehicle. How did he get into the city? Fortunately, once in the city, he found his Bat-copter lying on the roof of a middle-height building, a huge thing covered only with a nett, and visible from air. With all the riots in the city, is it possible that nobody had stumbled upon it? Also, once in the Bat-copter, he encourages the not-long-ago buried police forces (who all have clean clothes and are clean-shaved after being underground for months) to attack the terrorists, but instead of helping them by shooting the enemy from air superiority, he lands the Bat-copter and seeks Bane for a fistfight. Is this not idiotic? The only action scene that was good was the one after the stock-market attack when Batman made a dashing escape. But, not even this scene can be compared with the ones from the second movie which were thrilling, masterfully directed and longer. They were also simpler, there was no atom bomb, there were just guns and explosives, but it worked better, it was more realistic, and darker. Unfortunately, what replaced action is load of parapsychology, the endlessly recycled story of the orphan Bruce, with many annoying flashbacks from previous films. You know the movie is not doing well when there are flashbacks involved. What got on my nerves a lot was also that all lectured Bruce, the man who sacrificed everything to help Gotham and do good. Alfred was particularly pathetic. Bane is truly a poorly done movie villain. The comic book character is said to have some intelligence. This was not present here. The opening scene, the delivery of the plan of doctor Pavel's abduction: Bane has executed a pointlessly expensive and complicated operation where he sacrificed unnecessarily three of his man, chopped up a plane and then used the already seen skyhook (The Dark Knight), when he easily could have attacked the plane on land. The romance between him and Coltirald's character is also redundant. His and Cotillard's background story could have been left unexplained. Even with it, both of them lack motivation. The rest of the movie Bane makes impressive entries. Actually a lot of the movie is about walking on the street, walking through the sewage, etc. And entering rooms. The romance between Bruce and Cotillard character was redundant and not probable (I accept this only if Bruce wanted a quick shag after a long time of drought). The explosion, beside the unnerving need of certain directors to explain in word what we understood in picture (someone actually had said Explosion! after we've have already seen the mushroom), was not realistic (no waves). But, as a whole, the movie is sufferable, just don't expect anything great. The thing I hated the most is that Batman is missing from this film. Bruce was more out of the suit, than in it. Seems to me that Nolan became a little bit too cocky with all the praise for the two previous movies. It's a shame because the movie could have been a lot better if he hadn't.

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