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Reviews

Spooks: The Greater Good
(2015)

Typical TV movie
This film is basically the hunt that the MI-5 (British intelligence service specializing in internal security) promotes a fearsome terrorist who escapes them between the fingers. Suspicions that there is a traitor within MI-5 lead two operatives to act in default of the rules and orders to capture and save the service.

Of all, the MI-5 is a modest cousin of the British intelligence services, in that it is less well-known and mediatic than the neighbor MI-6. However, the film, which reminded me in some of a common movie 007 (for example, the insertion of credits and some action and fight scenes), is nice to see, although not very good. Only now, when documenting myself to make this criticism, did I realize that this film is the result of a British television series and that many of the characters we have seen here were born in it. However, when I saw the film, I realized clearly that it was a movie more thought for the TV than for the big screen.

The script is simplistic and direct, cinematography is vulgar, the soundtrack is uninteresting and there are many dead moments and a reasonable dose of predictability. I do not know any of the actors but I think they were up to the task, which is not surprising if they had done those characters before.

Not being close, brilliant, this movie is not that bad and entertains our time well. However, I did not feel like going to see the series that gave rise to it.

Medicine Man
(1992)

An almost bad movie, which Sean Connery saved.
This film is spent entirely in the Brazilian Amazon, in the middle of a tribe of Indians, where a bizarre medical researcher lives for some years, analyzing what surrounds him in search of the cure for cancer. In response to a request for equipment, he receives the support of a female doctor with whom he immediately begins to have conflicts.

Well, let's break it down. The script of this movie displeased me enough. It starts well and has good premises but is poorly developed. Try to make some light humor that is never funny, try to be serious but spoil everything while making humor. Some melodramatic and excessively sweet moments also proved expendable. The movie was supposed to be more serious than it is, I think the theme and the script bases were asking for it. And what about the end? At the very least, sudden and uninteresting.

As is often the case, Sean Connery has lived up to the challenge and character he has been given. He knows how to make his character unpleasant, misogynistic and annoying without him becoming worthy of our hatred and so that we can realize that the doctor is, in fact, a good person but very lonely, accustomed to solitude and full of psychological ghosts. Lorraine Bracco, on the other hand, is very bad. Maybe it's not her fault but the script and the casting. The actress was not able to grab her character and it sounds forced and artificial throughout the film. Maybe another actress would have been better here? The secondary cast, where the late Brazilian actor José Wilker stands out, does what he needs to do but fails by omission in most of the film, fruit of bad script options, leaving the main actors almost without support.

On a technical level, I would highlight only the good soundtrack, written by Jerry Goldsmith, and where we can listen to some sounds and musical instruments that immediately send us to the tropical and tribal environment where the story unfolds, as well as good cinematography , which wisely takes advantage of the beauty of the rainforest. There is also an ecologist message very present in the film, which sometimes sounds a little propaganda in this field, but I understand that and I believe that the message conveyed is relevant and pertinent to us today as on the day the film premiered in theaters.

In short, this eco-friendly film is not a total waste of time and film, but it avoided this sad fate by very, very little, and largely thanks to the talent and commitment of Sean Connery.

Fracture
(2007)

Good, but still could improve.
In this "court movie" we have the simple situation of a vain lawyer, accustomed to winning cases, who is faced with the difficult task of proving that a powerful businessman killed his wife. Cold and thoughtful, he manages to anticipate every step of the prosecution lawyer and is determined to seize every asset to confuse and shuffle him. To make matters even more complicated, the prosecution lawyer is in the process of being hired to work in a large and important business law firm, and hiring largely depends on his performance in this case.

I have little to say about the script ... the story seems to me well built and developed, and the twists that happen are, in fact, what keeps people stuck in the film. However, it is not very credible, it could be even better and there are some loose ends that can bother you. Plus, it's a bit predictable. Ryan Gosling is convincing in his character. Together with veteran Anthony Hopkins, who gave life to the villain, dominates the film, and how the two characters interact and provoke help greatly to maintain the interest of the public. We really want to know which of the two will come out on top. The remaining cast is limited to the space that the two protagonists leave free. I would particularly highlight the good contribution of Fiona Shaw. Rosamund Pike, meanwhile, despite being like a fish in the water on yet another ice cold character, seems to be left in the film. Technically, the film has quality as well. Good camera game, nice color and light, a regular soundtrack but it does what it needs to do.

Overall, this movie does what it claims to do, but it can not do enough to exceed what it is regular and become truly good.

Los cronocrímenes
(2007)

Um filme que cumpre o que promete, mas não faz nada surpreendente.
Este filme espanhol aborda a temática dos paradoxos temporais. Não é algo novo no cinema, basta pensar no filme "Triângulo" para termos um bom ponto de comparação... mas é sem dúvida um tema bom para explorar e o cinema espanhol está, sem dúvida, num momento de excelente forma.

O enredo é simples: quando um homem comum é perseguido por um assassino mascarado, acaba refugiado numa estranha construção que é, na verdade, um laboratório moderno, onde existe uma máquina do tempo. Recuando algumas horas até ao passado, ele passa a ter de evitar cruzar-se consigo mesmo, a fim de evitar paradoxos e corrigir o passado sem alterar dramaticamente o futuro. Convenhamos... é um enredo previsível e que não surpreende, mas entretém o público e funciona bem.

Como sou português, não tive qualquer problema com a versão original do filme, falada em castelhano. O director fez um trabalho competente, mas não brilhante. Karra Elejalde é um ilustre desconhecido para mim, mas penso que fez um bom trabalho, em especial se considerarmos a necessidade de evolução e mutação da personagem dele: ele se desdobra, e fica cada vez mais tenso e mais duro com o desenrolar do filme. Nacho Vigalondo, que deu vida ao jovem cientista, é claramente um actor menor numa personagem secundária. Tecnicamente, o filme é regular. Como é um filme de baixo orçamento, não podemos estar à espera de milagres. A câmara fez um bom trabalho, o filme está bem filmado. Possui muito pouca banda sonora e os cenários cumprem bem o que se espera deles.

Marley & Me
(2008)

A family movie more somber and serious than most.
This family film is based on the way a dog affects, touches and becomes an indispensable presence in the life of a family. In fact, the film is very beautiful and contains an affectionate message about the importance of animals in our lives. That is enough to make the film attractive to lovers of the genre, but anyone who does not have a particular appetite for family movies will probably find it too sugary or at least boring.

Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are both competent in the two main human roles (the dog is the central character of the film, of course). I found the romantic chemistry of the two actors good and convincing, but the work developed by them seemed a little warm, good just for the kind of movie it is. Despite everything, and being a comedic film, it deals with very serious issues such as family relationships between parents, children and parents, postpartum depression, pain of loss and mourning. These themes not only make the film more serious than an ordinary family film as they have been reason enough for some parents not to show it to their children.

I personally enjoyed the movie, but it's far from my favorite with regard to family movies. In fact, it is darker than most, but this does not seem to me as an impediment for young people (not smaller children, but those who have some maturity to understand things as they are) to see and understand the messages that it passes.

Don Juan DeMarco
(1994)

A great Johnny Depp in a good romantic comedy.
This film is a romantic comedy based on the story of a young man who believes he is Don Juan, the famous and fictional Spanish lover who seduced more than a thousand young maidens, and the attempts of a psychiatrist on the verge of reform to cure him before losing his last patient. Although the story of the film has not turned out brilliant, the film is worth the poetic beauty of what happens on screen, as well as the grandiose interpretation of Johnny Depp in the lead role.

In fact, the script of the film is not particularly remarkable. It is what it is, no surprises. It has beauty, has poetry, the main character itself was idealized under poetic and very literary premises (it behaves as if it had come out of an adventure book), but nothing more. There is not even a concern to give credence to what is shown. The bet made lies in the poetic beauty of the plot, and in the beautiful and convincing performance of Depp, who metamorphoses when he puts on the seducer's mask. He has all the charisma, the presence, the strength necessary to give life to that character, associating them with a genial touch of madness and dissociation of reality (something very present in most of the characters the actor has done). Beside him, Marlon Brando, in one of his last works worthy of mention.

Moreover, I believe that there are two or three characteristics that deserve a positive reference: the first is careful flashbacks, with great attention to the costumes and scenarios chosen; the second is the dialogues, and particularly the Depp monologues, loaded with literary beauty; the third is the insertion, on the soundtrack, of a beautiful song by Brian Addams, "Have You Ever Really Loved a Women," a theme that fits like a glove in the film's tonic.

It's an interesting movie, full of positive features that will certainly appeal to Depp fans, but it may not have much more to offer those who do not like romantic comedies.

The Machinist
(2004)

A good movie, with a great interpretation of Christian Bale.
This movie was very enjoyable to watch. It's a thriller based on Trevor's paranoia, a factory worker who begins to believe that a newcomer to the service is trying to plot him. Of course, the fact that he has not slept for a year (a form of chronic insomnia that, for the simple fact that the character has not gone to the doctor, is hard to believe) probably has something to do with these obsessive thoughts. At her side, privileged spectator of her drama, the prostitute Stevie, who is at the same time friend, advisor, confidante and romantic interest of that machinist. He has no friends, has virtually no one, and will slip to the brink of madness, gradually.

The script is both the strong point and the weak point of the film. In fact, the story itself is good, interesting and holds the public to the end ... but let's face it, it has little originality. He remembers a lot of other films, particularly "Memento" or "Fight Club" (two older films where Scott Kosar and Brad Anderson (the director) were probably to drink some inspiration. I remember a mixture of these two films that I mentioned, although this does not remove any merit or quality from him, of course. It's worth seeing this movie just to see how this actor indulges in his character.

From the technical point of view, I found it very interesting to use blotted colors, without heat, to pass through the film the coldness and absence of human warmth felt throughout history. The main character, a man uprooted and on the verge of madness, experiments and is the center of all this coldness. The plays of light and shadow, the soundtrack, all contribute to make the film dark and somber.

Stay
(2005)

Hard to understand.
I confess that I did not fully understand this movie. Henry Letham survived a car accident and is accompanied by a psychiatrist, Sam Foster. But when he threatens to commit suicide and Sam tries everything to stop him, the psychiatrist himself begins to doubt his sanity.

Ewan McGregor and Ryan Gosling do a satisfying job in the lead roles. The director, Marc Forster, does a very competent job, especially with regard to the more technical aspects of the film. In fact, the film focuses heavily on an intentional dreamlike surrealism, where cinematic technique is used to accentuate it: scenes that repeat and repeat over and over, unusual shooting angles, with the camera focusing reflexes, distortions and image rotations, a soundtrack slightly atonal, a confusing script ... Really the problem of this film is the script being so strange and difficult to digest. Either you follow the movie step by step and you understand each step, or you end up lost, without noticing the end.

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
(2014)

Much weaker than the first film.
This film is the sequel to another, which was a success and which, in turn, was the remake of a TV movie of the 80's. This time, the house of the swamp is occupied by a group of children from London , in the middle of World War II, in order to protect themselves from the German bombings. They are accompanied by a small group of adults where Eve fits, a young woman with a mysterious past who soon realizes the horror that inhabits that house. It is up to her to protect the children from the dark entity that wants them dead.

Personally, I find this film considerably weaker than the first. The script is very simple and underdeveloped. We never really feel the danger of war, and all the action separates from the context of the time, only managing to take advantage of the environment, the scenarios. The war was only a pretext to fill the haunted house of children, coming from nothing, easy prey of the murderous creature that lives there. The characters were also thought of in the worst way. Too cliché, we have an aviator traumatized and frustrated with himself, a loving young woman who is pursued by a complicated past and a skeptical elderly, who only believes in supernatural phenomena when they literally jump in front of her face. The scares are basic, the film fails to create a tense and disturbing environment.

Technically, the film clearly displays its low budget: all scenarios are basic, with the main house being emptied of all the decadent and exquisite scenery of the first film. Cinematography is overly dark and this makes the film very boring. There are some details of the film that, too, I misunderstood, such as the emptying of the neighboring village to the marsh house. Did they all die? Was it the creature that killed them? Are they gone? What happened?

This movie is bad and can not scare you. It's not a movie that I believe you can see more than once.

Scrooged
(1988)

A good black comedy ... that will displease a lot of people.
The problem with black humor is that it does not appeal to many people. Maybe that's why this movie is one of the least known of Bill Murray's extensive filmography. In this case, the film traces back and updates the story "A Christmas Carol," a timeless classic of every Christmas since Dickens wrote it.

This time the protagonist is a media tycoon who mistreats all the people around him and is deeply materialistic. However, the intervention of three humorous spirits will change the way they are, giving the film a very emotional ending and giving Murray a beautiful and profound monologue. The film has a joke, but being black humor will certainly displease many people. Murray made an excellent interpretation, I can hardly think of an actor more suitable for that character. The remaining cast is limited to give him the indispensable support, giving Murray all the space needed to shine.

The Score
(2001)

Regular in its kind, it counts on good actors who did not always shine.
In this film, a professional thief almost to retire decides to accept one last millionaire work: to rob a real sceptre that was smuggled and is hidden in the Customs of Montreal, Canada. The plan was the idea of a newbie, who infiltrated the place as a mentally handicapped employee, and who promises to make things easier. But things will sour as the rivalry between the two and the egos dispute threatens to undermine the plan.

We've seen things like that before. There are plenty of movies about assaults and the world of professional crime. The film is regular and complies with what is required to operate under these premises. However, there are some minor flaws. For example, the sceptre issue. Royal sceptres are rare they generally belong to countries and their royalties. They are not easy objects to steal, and if this happens, it is a matter of much international investigation, besides being difficult objects to sell later. It would be easy for the customs officials to notice, through a phone call to the police, what they had in their hands, and the discovery of such a piece would soon be front page news. This makes it unlikely that the whole gang effort will focus on stealing such a piece. It is simply unbelievable.

This is Marlon Brando's latest film. But if you are not an absolute fan of the actor or know beforehand that he participates, you will not even think about it and the presence of this mythical actor will go completely unnoticed, as he makes a relatively minor character and does not perform a remarkable performance. The same could be said of Robert de Niro, who plays the main character but lacking brilliance or greater merit. Edward Norton is, in my opinion, the actor who knew the most. You can say it's politically incorrect, and I can even agree, but he was brilliant at the scenes where he pretended to suffer from cerebral palsy. He is a versatile actor, able to do very well a wide range of characters, and surprised a lot here.

World War Z
(2013)

Made to sell well and quickly, it does not have much quality from the point of view of the story that counts.
There's no denying it: zombies are fashionable, a lot because of some successful TV shows. And Hollywood did not escape the invasion. This movie is basically a war against the zombies, who come out of nowhere and infest the world.

The script is poor: coming from nowhere and without reason or explanation, the world is plagued by a zombie apocalypse. Gerry Lane is able to save his family at great cost, but ends up having to rely on United Nations support, which they use to recruit him, almost by force, for a mission in Korea, where the zombie infestation is presumed to have started. From there, we basically run the world, watching its destruction, in contrast to the desperate attempts to save it, on the part of the main character. There is no functional road map, and the story turns out to be a trip around the world in the midst of chaos.

The characters are poorly constructed. We know nothing, are mere figures for a story made to be swift and action-packed, like an ordinary blockbuster. So there is little material for the actors to shine, and neither does Brad Pitt escape a poor performance. The film is improved in the more technical aspects, where it is excellent. There is a lot of money involved in this very high budget movie, so we can see the best special effects and sound effects, great visual effects and high quality CGI, in addition to a careful characterization, especially the zombies. The costumes and sets were also very well thought out.

Thought to sell quickly, the film features Brad Pitt (he sells a film reasonably well), zombies (it's fashionable) and lots of action and some gore to make it to the box office. However poorly it may be from the point of view of art and history told, it is a film to sell quickly, to raise a good amount of money and, from that point of view, worked well for the industry.

Cube
(1997)

Boring, but well done.
I confess I expected more from this film. The script is very simple, typical in low-budget films: a group of people who do not know each other wake up, without noticing the reason, inside a windowless room in the shape of a cube. There are exit hatches in the center of each wall, as well as in the ceiling and floor. None of them know why they got there, where they are or what might happen ... but soon they realize that each room can hide deadly traps, and there is almost no way to find out which rooms are trapped, since they are virtually identical, although they are numbered.

The movie is an attempt to make soft terror effective with few features and a minimal budget. To a large extent, the film does what it promises and gives the public a pleasant tension and a few moments of carnage. Here, however, the greatest danger comes from the tense relationship between characters, as the film plunges into a kind of "cabin syndrome" and relations between all are degrading. In this context, the good construction of all these characters (with a very rich and profound psychology, in a healthy coexistence since none of them is given prominence) is something to highlight and praise in this film. The cast is fairly decent, considering that I did not know anyone involved and everyone seemed to comply with the minimum that was asked of them and not make gross mistakes.

The most unpleasant part of this film is precisely the fact that it is so simple: in fact, nothing happens here. Although the film flows reasonably, it is tasteless and has little to offer. There is no story, and that makes the movie boring.

Manolete
(2008)

Interesting, but could be better.
This film is an Anglo-Spanish co-production that brings to the cinema the biography of the famous Spanish bullfighter Manolete, whose brilliance and safety in the arena made him the greatest bullfighter of all time. The script, as is often the case in biographical films, creates some fiction around Manolete's historical figure, but he knows how to use his novel quite well with Lupe, a woman of ill-fame, to become lighter and more pleasing to the public. The relationship between the bullfighter and his mother is also dealt with in the film, which also includes the reasons why Manolete's collaborators saw his relationship with Lupe with a bad eye.

The cast is decent for a movie of this category. In the supporting cast stand out Santiago Segura, Ann Mitchell and Enrique Arce. The main roles, however, are assured by Adrien Brody and Penelope Cruz. This last actress seemed to me too much like herself, whereas Brody seems to be too erased and does not have the strength and the charisma that the personage asked him. Technically, the film has a nice cinematography and sound, the costumes are according to the environment and the season. The soundtrack is quite competent.

Manolete was undoubtedly a great bullfighter. Sober, austere, his spectacle was pure. He created some new grinder passes as well as a new style of bullfighting. His death, taken by a bull, led Spain to the commotion. This movie is a positive tribute, but you can stay away from what the fans would like to see.

The Sum of All Fears
(2002)

Entertainment with hints of criticism.
The film begins with the death of a moderate Russian president and his replacement by a radical named Nemerov. To know who they are dealing with, the American Government recruits an academic who has just written an article about it. However, there seems to be a drop in the loyalty of Russian officials and there are personnel willing to provoke a nuclear war between both countries.

The film is a regular thriller based on yet another imminent threat of war between the major world powers. The first part of the film prepares the events, while the rest is the unfolding and worsening of the military crisis, already in a climate of war. For me, the plot worked reasonably, taking some questions of logic and plausibility that seem to me very relevant (such as the fact that the military did not go in search of the nuclear bomb that the plane was carrying when it crashed, or the quiet walks that certain characters give the scenario where, hours before, a devastating nuclear bomb exploded).

The cast is satisfactory to the level of this film: Morgan Freeman is competent, to see Richard Marner again was a pleasant surprise and James Cromwell did his part well. Ben Affleck, in turn, sounds a lot to himself and to dozens of other characters. There are few differences between this character and the one he offered us in "Armageddon".

From the technical point of view, I emphasize the excellent cinematography and the good use of colors, but also the effects of contrast and dark light. There may have been, in part of the film, a change of lens for more diffused luminance when necessary. The special effects and sound effects are also very good, except for the scene where the bomb explodes, because it never seemed realistic enough to be believable.

Overall, it's a medium movie, which is not terribly good or truly inedible. Nice to see, it's not the kind of movie that makes us think.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man
(1992)

Lots of flaws, a poor script and weak characters, but still manages to entertain.
In this film, a businessman is accidentally caught in a strange accident inside a physics laboratory, becoming invisible and eventually having to flee from the CIA, which intends to study it and also use it as a spy and weapon military. This is an excellent premise for a suspense movie with some action but it is spoiled by everything else we see on screen.

Let's start with the script, which is extraordinarily weak. The whole first part of the movie is just a bunch of **** who intend to put that man inside that lab. The script does not care to be logical or present all the characters in a concrete way. The unfolding of the film does not improve things. The villain is good, we see that he is a person who is facing serious problems by arbitrary actions, but it does not convince us how he decides to act. John Carpenter is a good director, but the film does not accurately reflect anything of his personal nature. If his name did not appear in the credits, the movie could safely be assigned to another director. Some scenes from the film are quite comic, but they are not enough to improve the overall picture. There are many loose ends in the plot and little action for the movie that is.

Chevy Chase regularly performs what he needs to do in the role of Nick Halloway, but he has very little to do in the movie besides mourning and running. Daryl Hannah is a beautiful actress who makes the character's only love interest and provides the audience with a satisfying job. Sam Neill is a good actor, but should not have fond memories of this film, where he had very little to do and few opportunities to show talent.

Honestly, I did not find the special effects of this film very striking. The Invisible Man worked well, down to certain details where we actually observed flaws (like that run where the Invisible, chased Man begins to undress and CIA agents only pick up the pants, it was impossible to take off his pants and boots without slowing down the step, but the Invisible Man did it). The partially disappeared building was a good idea, but everything looks very artificial, like a paper model.

This movie is not good, it's just satisfactory. If we're not to think hard, the movie entertains quite well.

Outbreak
(1995)

Unrealistic, unreliable, but entertaining the audience.
Made in 1995, this movie still seems very current. The issue is the ever-present danger of a global pandemic. In this case, the script brings to the womb of rural America a new African disease, through a single infected monkey. Of course, the military is called and, as often happens in cinema (eg. "The Siege"), turn out to be the real villains, with more than half of the plot around the attempts to prevent the military from doing more harm than good.

I think I could rate this film in the field of so-called "disaster films", even though this disaster was partly caused by humans. The script is decent, even though it overdoes the events, paint the characters in "good" and "bad" in an absolutely artificial way and make the facts unbelievable and unplausible. Much of the outcome of the film is pure luck of the main character. He was so lucky that he would be able to find a tiny needle in a haystack the size of New York. For those who need some realism and credibility to like a movie, this can be a problem.

Dustin Hoffman is a good actor, but I think he allowed that his character was emptied of all the personality that he could have had. He is a paper, artificial and cliché hero. And that could be said of all the characters in the cast. The poverty of the script, poorly thought out and built too imaginatively, is clearly reflected in the poor construction of the characters, something that even the best and most talented actor could not remedy. Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Donald Sutherland (in yet another military villain character)... good actors with little or no material to work with.

Basically, this movie is a disastrous disaster film. It could be much better with a more judicious and more realistic script, with well thought out characters, with higher doses of reality. This did not happen, but it does not, however, prevent this film from being interesting, especially from the point of view of pure entertainment. It's a movie that entertains if you do not think too much and simply get carried away.

25th Hour
(2002)

A dense film, made for thinking.
Monty Brogan's life seemed perfect: a lot of easy money, a beautiful girlfriend, everything perfect ... until the day a complaint hands him over to the authorities for drug trafficking and he is sentenced to seven years in prison. Now you have a few hours to say goodbye to the one you love, and to find out who gave it to you.

I confess I had other expectations about this film, but I found it very interesting how the film addresses the subject of repentance, as the main character, very well interpreted by Edward Norton, reviews his acts and perceives everything that goes lose. There is a lot of revolt in this film, where some nuances and hints related to politics, morals and society are perceived. From this point of view, it is a film that surpasses the entertainment, that can make think. Perhaps the degree of complexity is too high for a movie that tries to be commercial, and there are parts and subplots of the film that I would honestly have eliminated to make the film less dense and lighter for the public less understood.

In addition to Norton, the film features a good cast of actors, all at their best. There's no doubt Spike Lee knows how to direct a heavy cast. Barry Pepper was very good, Rosario Dawson is attractive and elegant without seeming vulgar, Anna Paquin is very young but already reveals some experience and commitment. Even veteran Philip Seymour Hoffman, who seemed far from what he could have done if he was at his best, knew how to give us a satisfactory performance.

Agatha Christie's Marple
(2004)

An impeccable series, that only loses by the little strength and charisma of the main character.
This British television series adapted all the tales and novels where Agatha Christie included, as the main character, Miss Marple, an elderly lady, who never married, and who lives alone in a village house. She's particularly gifted as the subject is to solve complicated puzzles, which allows her to almost always solve crimes and find murderers when the police don't know what to do. I didn't do an exhaustive research to know, but I think there may be a connection between this series and "Agatha Christie's Poirot", which did the same work with novels of the same writer, but with another main character. It would not be something extraordinary.

In fact, it's very difficult not to compare both series. Marple is played by two notable actresses. During most of the series, the character was incarnated by Geraldine McEwan, replaced at the time of her death by Julia McKenzie, for the last two seasons. I confess that I liked much more the performance of the first actress, very elegant in what would become one of her last works. However, Marple is a character who lacks Poirot's charm and charisma. Poirot has much more impact, strength and presence than this little lady, who is of such quality and intelligence as he is, but never delights us or give us the humorous touch present in the manias of the Belgian detective. This kills the series at birth, partially.

The performance of the cast is reasonably good. I would not say that it's extraordinary, but it complies with what it should and doesn't disappoint the public. Unsurprisingly, the costumes, scenery and film locations aren't to be missed either. Technically flawless, the series only loses by comparison with Poirot, and by the lack of charisma and strength of the main character.

K-19: The Widowmaker
(2002)

An invented story that obscures the real facts, in a film that, nevertheless, knows how to entertain the audience.
This film is very slightly based on a real fact, which was the fateful maiden voyage of the nuclear submarine K19, one of the first nuclear ballistic submarines of the Soviet Union. Built in haste, he had several accidents and deaths before he was thrown into the sea. On the maiden voyage, the ship suffers a loss of coolant that controlled the temperature of the nuclear reactor, which forced the crew to risk their lives for emergency repairs on the high sea, preventing the reactor from collapsing. Most of the crew died of the effects of radiation in the following years. The survivors, however, still preserve their memory today.

The film was an insult to the memory of the K19 sailors, a fact emphasized by the surviving sailors, in a unanimous protest. Eager to make the film more appealing, and always under "creative freedom" arguments, the director Kathryn Bigelow allowed the whole story to be rewritten and told in a completely different way from the real facts. So it's a work of fiction, cloaked under the "true facts" that the film never really take advantage of. After all, the movie is very good from the entertainment point of view. It's not a movie that we get tired of seeing and reviewing, once in a while. This, coupled with a good commercial performance, has opened the doors of television, where it's still a regular, both in general channels and in channels specifically dedicated to the exhibition of films.

The film can be divided into two parts. The first one tries to be an introduction to the film, presenting the characters, the environment, the submarine, the life on board and the mission that they must accomplish. The second part is the realization of the accident and the unwinding of attempts to repair the submarine, with increasing tension around the subject. The biggest problem I've felt is the exaggerated prolongation of the first half of the movie. It was not really necessary to attend so many exercises. The whole sub-plot involving the insubordination of the sailors assigned to the First Officer, who was the previous commander of that crew, is also expendable.

Harrison Ford is an excellent actor and makes, in this film, one of his most interesting works, for me. The actor did an excellent job, giving life and psychological depth to a deep and complex character. At his side we see Liam Neeson, also one of the best-executed works of his career. The way the two perform together is excellent, and some of the film's best dialogues run between them. The remaining cast complies with their work, but does not deserve attention.

Technically, the film does not make big mistakes. The submarine's interior looks genuine enough, the cinematography, light and sound do their job discreetly, the soundtrack does not deserve great remarks.

It's an interesting and entertaining film, but tells a new story, invented over a real one, that remains to be told. The uneven pace does not help either, but if you really like submarine movies, you will not even feel the time go by.

Exam
(2009)

It entertains very well, but has no logic at all.
I found this movie very good when I saw it, and still think it's interesting and has a lot of quality. For a low-budget film, with all the action restricted to an enclosed space and a limited number of actors, the film worked reasonably and has the ability to engage and entertain.

The script is simple: a gray and impersonal room will be used by a large corporation to do the tests leading to the hiring of top personnel, and eight candidates will be subject to their last exam, under the watchful eyes of an invigilator and a armed guard. But the start of the exam reveals a surprise: the forms are blank, allowing the candidates to use all available means, without breaking the rules of the exam itself, to find out the question and give the corresponding answer.

One of the best things about this film is that the whole plot is based on an effort of cooperation between individuals who are competing with each other. The idea is interesting, although not something new in the movies. There is a lot of psychological in this movie, where each character will reveal the best and the worst of themselves. The small cast did its work well, although without surprises or extraordinary merits. Personally, I enjoyed the performance of Adar Beck, Chukwudi Iwuji and Luke Mably, the latter having given life to the most unpleasant character in the film, very close to a conventional villain.

The worst part of this film was the development of some script options, with improbable details and unreasonable situations. For example, the mystery around the company to which everyone seemed eager to work. That would never happen in real life. I would not send a curriculum to a company without, rather, knowing it in the slightest, however appealing the conditions might seem to me. Another rather irrational situation happens when everyone breaks the lights of a room without windows. Unless they knew there were more lamps somewhere, this is something that should only be done if the desire is to be totally in the dark. Oh, and we still have that moment when, almost completely forgetting that one of the rules of the exam was not to destroy the form, which is made of paper, everyone decides to soak the room by firing the water sprinklers from the ceiling, hoping it would not be water the liquid that would come out ... The end of the film, after all this, is not even a surprise.

La princesse de Montpensier
(2010)

Very interesting and positive
This period film needs some contextualization to be perceived by the public. Set at the end of the 16th century, the film portrays a romantic drama and a love triangle amidst the religious wars that opposed Catholics and Protestants, tearing France in half. To understand the film is, therefore, to know a little of this historical period. The film portrays quite well the internal struggles that the country experienced, the division of political power into religiously militant factions, the efforts of the regent queen Maria de Medici to try to save the Valois dynasty and the notorious Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre.

The main character is Marie De Mezières, very well played by the beautiful Mélanie Thierry, a capable actress, who did a very competent job here. Her character falls in love with her own cousin, the powerful Henri de Guise, who is played by Gaspard Ulliel, but ends up being forced to marry Prince Philippe De Montpensier, a military man who is played by Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, and leaves his wife in the care of the Count of Chabannes, (played by Lambert Wilson), an experienced nobleman who will act as a guardian and confidant, as he secretly falls in love with the young Marie. The four actors were able to do a great job, which made the film very enjoyable and appealing, allowing you to stay interesting until the end. This, in turn, may disappoint those who simply seek only a happy ending. The moral of all history, in fact, is the destructive character of passions and not just a "happy forever", pink and pleasant.

Technically, the film does not commit great sins. Cinematography did her role very well, the sets and costumes are excellent and automatically transported to the time and the post-production and editing work seems to have been done with competence. The soundtrack also fulfils, without deserving attention.

Jacquou le croquant
(2007)

It coud be much better.
I'm not a connoisseur of French cinema, so this movie was an incursion into little-known land for me. It was based on a book that I never found in a book-store, so I do not know how to judge the quality of the adaptation. About the film, specifically, I can say that I did not think it was totally bad, but it could be downright better. The film entertains, but it is too melodramatic, is loaded with exaggerated appeals to the sentimentality and, at times, sounds absurd.

Let's start with the positive aspects ... among the actors, the young Leo Legrand stands out in a sentimental and emotional interpretation, Marie-Josée Croze in a brave character and Jocelyn Quivrin, who managed to turn the villain into a truly despicable figure. Gaspard Ulliel, Albert Dupontel and Olivier Gourmet, despite the prominence of their characters, did only what they had to do. The dialogues and interpretations did not prevail for the dedication, but fulfilled with the minimum required. The scenarios, the construction of the period environments and the costumes are very good, emphasizing the historical rigour. The soundtrack sounded just as good.

The plot starts from a very interesting idea, which is a story of revenge and struggle against injustice in the midst of post-Napoleonic France ... a time when royal power wanted to reverse the most radical ideas of the revolutionary period and come back to the old order. After an injustice that cost the life of his father, Jacquou will devote his life to fighting the man behind his misfortune. The problem starts with the amount of clichés that are appearing, and that get worse as the film moves towards the end. The siege of the castle is truly unbelievable, just like the scenes in the underground or love triangle in the movie. The action scenes are awful, some of them totally absurd and unrealistic.

This movie is not a total waste of time, but it is very close to it and saved only by the details.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
(2015)

The weakest of all.
Perhaps countering the majority of the audience, I had very low expectations regarding this movie. I liked the two previous trilogies, but I was afraid that a re-launch would have as its main objective to raise a few million dollars from the studios. I did not feel cheated, the movie is good and worth it, but I must admit that anything is lacking to match the older ones.

The film basically resumes the story decades after the events of "The Return of the Jedi". There are many new characters (inevitable), and some of the old ones are back, with the focus on Han Solo, a secondary character in the films of the original trilogy. I confess that it was very enjoyable to see the veteran Harrison Ford, back to a character who greatly helped to consecrate his career, and it was good to see Chewbacca and Carrie Fisher again. I think the new actors like John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver did their best, but I do not know if the material they received allowed them to create characters as striking as the older ones.

Technically, the film is flawless. The CGI, which has always been one of the strongest points of the franchise, has been pushed to the limit of what can be done today. Great and realistic, it makes the experience of seeing the film a visual spectacle. The sets and environments of the several planets were carefully thought out and executed. Costumes, cinematography, editing, sound effects and soundtrack etc... all thought out with caution, seeking to please new audiences without disappointing unconditional fans. It's all right.

But the truth is that the film has serious problems. Let's start with the script, which practically copies and tries to update the story told in the opening film, "A New Hope". Kylo Ren, the newest villain in the franchise, is no more than a second-rate Darth Vader on a new costume. Indeed, despite the commitment of the actors, which I do not want to question, the new characters lack charisma and the ability to delight. I also felt that action is lacking, compared to the previous movies, and the attempts to make humor sounded as funny as the "grandfather jokes" that Roger Moore used whenever he played James Bond. The end also seemed a bit anti-climatic too.

Anyway ... all these problems make the film, fatally, the weakest of all in the franchise to date. I didn't feel cheated because I expected little of it, but I believe that many fans (at least, those who have not been blinded by their passion) were dissatisfied.

Poseidon
(2006)

A visual show, but it could be even better.
This movie is a remake of another, older film about a luxury ship that turns on the high seas, because of a giant wave. Of course, it is a killing that tries to escape a small group where the heroes are, in what appears to be the most risky of plans: to go out into the open air by the bottom of the ship.

Technically, the film is much more evolved than its predecessor. Times are different, the ways to achieve visual and special effects have evolved. It's normal. The film raises a question of CGI and effects, visual and sound, as it happens with the majority of the films of catastrophes. The cinematography is careful and the scenery of the ship, with all its beauty and grandeur (even when destroyed), is impressive and the whole film is a race against sea water, which is always on the trail of the characters ... but basically That's it!

The oldest film, a 1972 classic, can still be better. It does not have the grandeur of digital effects but it makes up for everything else. To make matters worse, the new movie can not bring anything new, completely copy the previous story. As for the cast, it plays a satisfying role, but it does not shine. The characters do not have as much depth as in the first film, but the constant sense of danger allows the audience to sympathize with all of them. Josh Lucas is pretty good, but his character, initially unpleasant and somewhat arrogant, may prevent some audiences from building empathy. Kurt Russell is exactly the opposite, and we sympathize with him soon, but he is not at his best here because of the lack of material that the actor can work on. Richard Dreyfuss did well on a nice but minor character and Emmy Rossum tried to be more than just a damsel in distress.

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