Average User Score: 7.9Apr 13, 2014A film like Philomena comes along all too infrequently. That wonderful hybrid of quality drama, subtle, well-balanced acting and a sprinklingA film like Philomena comes along all too infrequently. That wonderful hybrid of quality drama, subtle, well-balanced acting and a sprinkling of welcome humor. Not to mention it all hung together around a meaningful and interesting subject matter.
Based on the true story of Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish woman who became pregnant as a teenager and had her child taken away from her by the Catholic Church and sold for adoption it truly is not just a fine piece of work from a idiosyncratic director but an example to all about how to make dramatic cinema. Its also a a high watermark in terms of its tear jerkiness. very seldom do you see a sentimental film full of appropriate humor and a lack of tacked on manipulated mawkishness. Take note War Horse, Les Mis, The Impossible and company.
I have never been a huge fan of Dench but here she gives the performance of a lifetime(wrinkles have never looked so engaging) backed up wonderfully by Coogan who is mildly eccentric and tempered but deeply moved all at the same time. My only concern would be the glaring convenience that pops up half way through but Frears keeps things so tightly wound that you feel completely tolerant of it straight away.
The movie has received some rare bashings by some critics who argue its intentions regarding its take on the Catholic religion. I say what goes around comes around and this deserves to be seen by everyone with a keen interest in, well, human interest stories.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.6Apr 13, 2014I know there are certain elements from other films in any particular one movie but Her is a bit of a smorgasbord of a film that borrowsI know there are certain elements from other films in any particular one movie but Her is a bit of a smorgasbord of a film that borrows heavily, in its themes at least, with the 2007 gem Lars and the Real Girl. Eccentric, aloof and at odds with the world personalities who build relationships up with the unorthodox and artificial only to be tested further in their introspective challenges throughout their lives until said conclusions. This (i'm pretty sure unintentional) cloning in its story telling is what slightly hampers what is a strikingly retro, endearing and prescient film that touches on some eerie questions evoking classic sci-fi.
Jonze's has never been the conventional guru as we've seen in his other intelligent enterprises "Being John Malkovich" and "Where the Wild Things Are." Jonze sets out to tell a narrative and deliver all the mysterious details for us to believe each character. His focus on Theodore, giving him a real sense of loneliness without falling into cliché character ticks and beats that we've seen countless times in other romantic films, Jonze constructs a real man living in a world where technology has taken harbinger over human connection.
Phoenix is suitably quirky and gives his character a dollop of everyday guy amongst all his geeky layerings (though perhaps a little bit too much like that dude from Big Bang Theory) he seems always vulnerable and with all the futuristic technological achievements going on around him the film is at once profound and whimsy and yet foreboding and intimidating. For me though, the performance of the film was not even visible, but only heard. Scarlett Johanssen gives us a unique performance as the thoroughly enthralling and sensual voice of Samantha. All those cute ways and infectious laughter carries Samantha to life. A film like this will only work if we believe that a man can actually fall in love with Samantha. The way Scarlett breathes vitality into Samantha, we do.
It becomes so introspective,delicate, dreamy and predictable that you almost get sucked into a kind of lull and Jonze has a habit of making his characters unsympathetic but there is no fighting with its essence of love and longing no matter how clever and beautiful it thinks it is. Now..I'm off to town to purchase one of these fancy new systems!… Expand
Average User Score: 6.8Apr 13, 2014Lars Von Trier! A name among the film world that is held in awe, in wonder and sometimes in pure outrage and disgust. I have not seen all hisLars Von Trier! A name among the film world that is held in awe, in wonder and sometimes in pure outrage and disgust. I have not seen all his back catalogue (fellow film fans frequently tell me i must watch Dancer in the Dark) but from what i have seen i can tell Von Trier is a very passionate, creative film-maker who i don't think cares what people think of him. His self righteous, controversial views have over flowed into his films before. The Idiots and Dogville being utterly devoid of any redeeming features and just beyond me in terms of structure and thesis. Melancholia had decent performances but did labor and I always found Antic-Christ highly intriguing and quite creepy in places but i think Nymphomaniac is his most assured work to date.
Divided into two volumes of roughly two hours each, the tormentingly titled Nymphomaniac tells the story of the troubled, bruised and stricken Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) as she describes it to soft philosopher Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who rescued her after finding her blacked out in an alley. The first part indulges Joe's childhood and youthful erotic experiences with charming, witty verve, before descending into darker, more painful territory in the second part as Joe's desires come up against the overpowering pressures and constraining necessities of adult nature.
Listening to the stories throughout, and allowing occasional variations of his own, Seligman is the perfect confessor; a middle-aged virgin whose life has been lived through the words of others. Firstly, there are some incredibly controversial moments, but, coming after the relaxing of the way films are censored in the UK, are not as outrageous as one would imagine. Erections, genitalia close-ups and real sex have all lost their long held taboo milestone in the movies; although it is still only 'art house' films that tend to get away with them.The scene involving Uma Thurman as the aggrieved wife of one of Stacey Martin's character (the young Joe) lovers is probably where the film is at its weirdest but even this lends itself to the realities of a world far from Triers mind games. Stacey Martinis heavenly in her role and her learning curve is expertly handled and crafted.
Supported by other intense, in turns courageous and uproarious performances, as well as a soundtrack that includes diverse stuff from Rammstein to Beethoven, in keeping with the film's free, candid spirit, Nymphomaniac is a stimulating tour de force that takes in the whole of the singular human experience, including the body and the mind, sex and love, art and life, and all of the complicated and wonderful connections between them. Overwhelming, energising and exhilarating, Nymphomaniac is a brave film made by a man with a generous lust for life in all its cruelty, eccentricity and outrageousness.
The misogyny(that some people are suggesting) is misguided, i can show you many films more misogynistic than this. most 12a's these days have needless titillation in for a start. After all; this is seen though a woman's eyes and there is enough tenderness if you dig deep to counteract any feeling of hatred toward the films harsher moments.
So much to take in, it is not for mainstream audiences but it has meaning behind it and with Shia Labeouf's chagrin and silly accent, Slater's dirty posterior among other moments of zaniness, its also viewed as a dark comedy. As the Americans might put it, maybe even Von Trier might describe it..It isn't a film that you can jerk off to(not that i tried). Its not as transparent as the explicit flesh that is on show would have you believe!… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Apr 13, 2014After the lackluster and uninspired first Captain America adventure, not to mention my own mini-anxieties surrounding these comic-bookAfter the lackluster and uninspired first Captain America adventure, not to mention my own mini-anxieties surrounding these comic-book adaptations, I really was not expecting much from The Winter Soldier.(often the best way to head into a movie anyway)
How delighted then to come out of the cinema with more than a satisfied grin plastered on my face. Its a big call but this Captain America is most likely the best of the Marvel films yet.
This Steve Rogers(Cap) has a new world to experiment with and the film finds balance (not quite as superficially as you would think) between his struggle between doing the 'right' thing and his political beliefs and notions. It also might help him to listen to Nirvana and watch The Empire Strikes Back. Theres much research to be done, especially after the events after The Avengers, but again Cap is thrown into an unprecedented situation.
Action set pieces are tight and well choreographed with some innovative fights, not to mention one spectacularly intense scene involving Nick Fury(Sam Jackson) and his accessorized heavy vehicle.
This is bone on bone and you can hear every crushing detail, and despite a flurry of CGI towards the end, a lot of it is of the practical variety. As an action heavy thriller it really is cracking stuff and plays out like a hybrid of The Fugitive meets Mission Impossible 3.
I expect great things from the Russo brothers, the directors and they hopefully will helm more action films in the future.
Robert Redford is a nice touch and brings a shady, 1970's conspiracy vibe, Scarlett Johansson seems to deliver her lines wonderfully and kicks butt with the rest of them and Mackies The Falcon is given a decent back story where i couldn't help thinking it was his The Hurt Locker character somehow transcended into this film.
There is some cookie cutter stuff at times with the dialogue and a cliched reveal that smelt of the film makers wimping out for the sake of audiences rejoicing in such conspicuous fanfare but all in all this is a very surprising and engaging film that serves the cannon of Marvel very well indeed. Now, where to purchase one of those shields!… Expand
Average User Score: 4.6Feb 22, 2013I was at first angry and outraged and rightly so with the decision to hack the said material to shreds and produce a 12a certificate but evenI was at first angry and outraged and rightly so with the decision to hack the said material to shreds and produce a 12a certificate but even without comparison and heavy scrutiny, a good day to die hard just doesn't even work as a stand alone action film. These executive commercial decisions for financial gain are becoming all too frequent.
Despite one or two in-jokes, Bruce Willis's everyman tough guy may aswell have been called John Major or any other name, such has the iconic role of John MClane and what he stands for has seemingly slipped away. What remains is a questionably stylish old man with a gun and a few half-hearted one liners.
So why two and a half stars you may ask?(the chase sequence gets a star all on its own). In the confines of an action movie there has and will be worse. You just have to look at the bargain bins in your local supermarkets to see all the Seagal and Lundgren films to know that. The action, though sillier and less plausible as it goes on, is well handled and a 15 minute vehicular car chase is brilliantly spectacular and a raid by the woeful bad guys on a safehouse provides an injection of tension and jeapordy but is extremely shortlived. It is what surrounds these brief moments of entertainment that lacks engagement with the audience. The father son bonding is crass, predictable and cringe-worthy and the main bad dude makes Die Hard 4's cyber terrorist look like Hitler. Despite the ood moment of fun this just lacks the principles that made the others, especially the first three, more than just action movies. Better than being caught with your pants down right?...no, not really!… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Jan 24, 2013Whatever jeer or derogatory comment you want to throw Tarantino's way theres something you can never say about him..and thats that he is notWhatever jeer or derogatory comment you want to throw Tarantino's way theres something you can never say about him..and thats that he is not very creative. The guy oozes film from his pores and always tries to break the mould when revising his chosen genre. With Django Unchained he deconstructs the Western and produces some of hi best work yet - just a shame about the not so bright running time.
concerns a former slave named Django (Jamie Foxx). He is freed by bounty hunter Dr. King Shultz (Christoph Waltz) in order to help him with a bounty. Quite quickly, Shultz takes Django under his wing and trains him as his partner. But he made him a promise: that he would rescue his wife from a plantation owned by the ruthless Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). And rescuing her is not going to be all that easy.
Jamie Foxx lends a tortured badassery to the title role, while everyone from the supporting cast to Don Johnson is noteworthy. DiCaprio gives a deliciously dissected performance (it's worth seeing, believe me). And Samuel L. Jackson plays a character of such despicability that it's nothing less than shocking. But it's Christoph Waltz who makes this movie, for me. The guy is exceptional. His wonderfully dark humor and playful delivery just made him a sheer pleasure to watch.
So Django is a brilliant, eclectic, satirical distorted western but there is one major flaw. That flaw being the final half hour, it does not know when to end and this has a very narcissistic vibe to it saved only by the story elements piecing together. It thankfully doesn't quite ransack what is Quentins deliriously best work since Kill Bill part 1.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.8Jan 24, 2013Has Katherine Bigelow gone one political misstep too far? This film is informative in a breathless journalistic way and intermittentlyHas Katherine Bigelow gone one political misstep too far? This film is informative in a breathless journalistic way and intermittently intriguing but its really just a contrived, arrogant, over-stuffed mish mash of left and right wing view points that ultimately is hugely dull.
The Hurt Locker, Bigelow's 2009 movie, came out during the Bush administration and probably began production around 2005. But it is a thrilling but personal antiwar movie. Recall the plot? The hero cannot bear to remain at "home," the place he is protecting. There was a narrative and soul at the core of this film. you were able to invest your time to it. Zero Dark Thirty, as a piece of cinema, just totally misses the mark and leaves the viewer to decide its questions posed.
It seems to navigate deviously too. the torture scenes, though harsh are by no means controversial to the story, but they are shoved aside to then tell a tale of moral ambiguity and gung-ho American hero worship. The fact remains that the general public, no matter how clear they think they are with their opinion, will never know the truth. Yes there are misguided, fanatical jihads out there but there is too much corruption, greed and inconsistencies to label America the true heroes.
Oh, and back to the film..Its boring! And Jessica Chastain has to be the least convincing CIA agent ever. Not subscribing to this film's accolades at all.… Expand